11 June 2019

Tanzania: TZ-India Airtel Deal a Good Partnership Case

THE march towards converting Tanzania into an industrial economy status nation is one of the ambitions on which the country is focusing.

This is it should be, an aspect on which we need to pose for a while and recall how our country started off, way back in the early 60s, after the then Tanganyika was a young nation, which subsequently merged with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

It was by and a large an agriculture-based economy, and what was more, the population consisted mainly of poverty-stricken people.

The pioneer nationalists who strived for liberating the country from the deeply psychologically disturbing phenomenon of colonialism were all too aware that, on its own, political, independence wouldn't be a solution for our problems.

The problems lay, largely in what may be characterised as the sickening alliance of poverty, ignorance and disease.

For the nationalists who sought to change the situation for the better, led by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who subsequently became pioneer President and was revered as the Father of the Nation, an earnest war had to be waged against that alliance.

Along the way, the government controlled the commanding heights of the economy, and then, as concepts like globalisation crept in, Tanzania, as a member of what is styled as the global village, had to blend in.

This is manifested by the public and private sector co-existing, but for the best results, the arrangement has to be mutually beneficial. Here-in partly lies the public-private partnership concept or close friendship.

Earnest commitment to that end is thus fundamental. This explains why the current government under the stewardship of President John Magufuli is keen on ensuring that it gains from, and is NOT shortchanged by the partnership.

To that end, the revised partnership in Airtel Tanzania, in which India's Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal has a stake, is good news. The government's shares in the company have increased from 40 to 49 per cent.

At a function held at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday, President Magufuli received from the company, 3.0bn/- as part of the agreement, and 2.27bn/- as a gesture of appreciation of the government's development efforts.

This is what a win-win situation is all about, and why the government is ever ready to associate with firms of Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal's kind.

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