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TA ISSUE 135
Find the latest issue (May 2023) on the Britain Tanzanian Society website https://www.britaintanzaniasociety.co.uk/member-zone/ (membership required).
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TA ISSUE 134
Progress towards Reconciliation
Hydropower & Energy
Fatal air crash raises tough questions
Serengeti Girls success
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
PROGRESS TOWARDS RECONCILIATION
by Ben Taylor
Significant progress has been made in recent months towards political reconciliation and the reestablishment of democratic freedoms in Tanzania. In addition to a renewed national conversation around Constitutional reform (see separate article in this edition), a number of meetings have been held between leaders of both the ruling party, CCM, and various opposition parties, and the President has taken steps to reverse a six-year ban on opposition parties holding public rallies. She described this as being part of her strategy of Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding the nation, dubbed 4Rs.
The ban on political party rallies was imposed by the late President John Magufuli in 2015 in his first address to Parliament in Dodoma, saying the country should instead focus on national development efforts. Under the policy, elected politicians were allowed to conduct rallies in their constituencies, but other political rallies or demonstrations were banned. It led to frequent confrontations between opposition leaders and the police and repeated arrests of opposition politicians.
On January 3, 2023, during a meeting with leaders from 19 registered political parties, President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced her decision that the ban should no longer apply. “Permission for political meetings will be granted. Our duty as the government is to protect them. Hold your meetings safely, but you have to adhere to the rules and regulations because it is your responsibility too,” she said.
The President recognised that such rallies were legal and acknowledged that political parties have the right to conduct them. She said that the responsibility now remained with the political parties to provide information to the police and other agencies as required by the laws and regulations governing such gatherings.
Opposition party leaders welcomed the announcement a little warily. Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe said that they had received the Pres ident’s decision with “great caution” because the right to hold political rallies was guaranteed by the Constitution, and its restoration had been delayed unnecessarily.
“We want to see the implementation of this from the ward to the national level. Democracy should be afforded to the people at all levels. This matter involves many people, including the police,” he said.
ACT-Wazalendo leader, Zitto Kabwe, said President Hassan’s decision would open a new page for democracy, and commended her for “a decision which was not easy to make”. He described 2023 as “the year of political reform, the year of democracy.”
Following the lifting of the ban, opposition parties moved quickly to announce plans for nationwide rallies. The CUF national chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, held a rally on January 7, 2023 and Chadema is set for their first rally on January 21, 2023.
Police Force spokesperson David Misime said the law enforcers are ready and well organised to manage gatherings that would be held by all political parties in the country. He explained their involvement in the provision of security will largely depend on prior information to hold a meeting as directed by the laws of the country.
“As the Police has promised major operational and disciplinary changes under the leadership of Inspector General of Police (IGP), Camillus Wambura, citizens should expect to see wisdom and prudence exercised in carrying out our duties without affecting the law, peace, stability and unity of our country,” he said.
A senior lecturer at the University of Iringa, Dr Cornelius Simba, commended President Hassan’s decision to lift the ban saying it was exactly what people wanted. He also expects politicians both from the opposition and those of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to behave sensibly and to be constructive in their criticisms. “When you disagree on a certain issue, then come with an alternative solution,” he recommended.
Prof Martha Qorro, a communication specialist from the University of Dar es Salaam, advised that politicians should consider their words carefully before speaking, as reckless language could be disastrous.
“We are building one society, one nation. Let our politics be decent. Let’s stand together on issues of national interest. I view political parties as institutions that build the country for its development, so no reason to quarrel,” she said.
Further, Constitutional and Legal Affairs Minister, Damas Ndumbaro, said the President had directed that various laws related to political issues be amended. “Fortunately, we have the Law Reforms Commission,” he said, “and I will meet with them on this. All the relevant laws will be worked upon. We have already started with the Political Parties Act,” he said.
Tundu Lissu to return
In a clear sign that opposition leaders have established some trust with the government of President Hassan, the exiled former presidential candidate, Tundu Lissu, has announced plans to return to Tanzania. Lissu, who was shot 16 times in an assassination attempt in 2017 in Dodoma, has spent most of the years since in Belgium.
Mr Lissu used his New Year greetings to inform Tanzanians that he would step on the soil of his country once again on January 25, 2023.
“This has been a long and very difficult period in my personal life and in our life as a party and as a nation,” he said.
The former Singida North MP, Tundu Lissu was evacuated to Kenya, after an assassination attempt in Dodoma in September 2017, and later taken from the Nairobi Hospital to Belgium for further treatment. He had been shot multiple times at his house as he was arriving from a parliamentary session. His assailants have never been apprehended.
In his speech, Mr Lissu noted that whatever happens, this year will be a very important year in the history of Tanzania. “It is a year in which, if we decide with the sincerity of our hearts, we will get a new and democratic constitution, with an independent election system, which cares and protects the rights of the people and which lays a solid foundation for the accountability of our leaders to the people and their representatives,” he said.
He said that President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her party (CCM) plus her government have already publicly promised that they are ready to start the long and difficult journey (to finding a new constitution).
“We are responsible for responding to the President by showing, and demonstrating in action, that we too are ready and prepared for that journey. I personally and our party are ready and prepared for that trip. So I am returning home for the trip,” he explained.
He emphasized that he is coming back for the great work that lies ahead, the work of the new constitution and a new beginning for the nation. “I am returning home to participate in writing the first new page of the ‘365-page book’ for this year 2023.”
“I believe that, with our unity and our love for our country, we will write a good book!”
TANZANIAN DIES IN UKRAINE
by Ben Taylor
Tanzanian citizen dies fighting in Ukraine
Nenes Tarimo, a Tanzanian citizen fighting for Russia in the Donbas region of Ukraine, has died at the age of 33. His family received official notification in December from the Tanzanian Embassy in Moscow.
According to family members, Tarimo had been serving a prison term for a drug related case. In return for a promise of his release from prison after six months of fighting in the battlefield, he was given the opportunity to join the Wagner Group, variously described as a paramilitary organisation, private military contractors and Vladimir Putin’s de facto private army.
“He informed us that he was joining the war against Ukraine. We begged him not to join but he said you never know if I will get my freedom so he joined, and the last time we contacted him was October 17 and he was no longer reachable,” a relative told The Citizen newspaper.
They say that Tarimo had originally travelled to Russia for postgraduate studies at the Russian Academy of Technology, MIREA.
RISHI SUNAK’S CONNECTION
by Ben Taylor
Rishi Sunak’s Tanzanian connections
The United Kingdom’s latest Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has roots in Tanzania. His maternal grandparents lived in Tanzania before moving to Britain in the 1960s, reportedly in response to post-independence rules that required non-citizens to either take citizenship or leave the country.
In his book, Going For Broke: The Rise of Rishi Sunak, published in 2020, Lord Michael Ashcroft described Sunak’s maternal grandmother, Sraksha, as someone with extraordinary courage and vision: “a remarkable woman who grew up in rural Africa and gambled everything she held dear to give her children a better life”.
Sraksha was born to Hindu Punjabi parents in Tanzania. She learned Swahili as a child and considered Africa her home, although her family retained close ties with India. At the age of 16, she entered an arranged marriage with Rishi’s grandfather, Raghubir Berry, a railway engineer from Punjab then working in Tanzania, according to the biography.
She persuaded her new husband to build a new life in Africa, and Raghubir found a job as a tax official in Tanzania, where they raised three children: Rishi’s mother, Usha, and her two younger brothers.
In 1966, Rishi’s grandmother sold all of her wedding jewellery and bought a one-way ticket to the UK, leaving her husband and three children behind in Tanzania in the hope that they would one day be able to join her. There were no family or friends to greet her, but Sraksha made her way to Leicester and rented a room as a paying guest of a distant acquaintance.
She found a job as a bookkeeper with an estate agent, where she started saving every penny, and a year later was finally able to pay for her husband and children, including Usha, then 15, to join her.
Usha went on to study pharmacology at Aston University, where she was introduced by mutual friends to Yashvir Sunak. Sunak was a medical student who had recently graduated from Liverpool University and whose upper-middle-class Punjabi family had moved to Britain from Nairobi during his young adulthood.
When Sunak became Prime Minister, some citizens in Kenya and Tanzania, especially those of Indian descent were proud to see a man whose parents were born and raised in their territory take up the UK’s top political office. “It’s another Obama moment for us,” said one resident of Kisumu, Kenya.
Patel Suri, a Tanzanian investor of Indian descent based in Dar es Salaam told Quartz online magazine, “Indians are smart people. You will find them playing the role of CEO in many big tech companies across the world. Rishi Sunak is no different. He is intelligent and the right choice for prime minister at this point of the country’s political and economic challenges.”
ENERGY & MINERALS
by Ben Taylor
Progress in LNG plant negotiations
Negotiations between Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Equinor and two multinational oil companies – Shell and Equinor – on the proposed liquid natural gas (LNG) processing plant in Lindi region are said to have made good progress. However, the target date set by President Samia Suluhu Hassan for conclusion of the negotiations – December 2022 – was missed. The Minister for Energy, January Makamba, explained that the delay in concluding talks was solely due to the Christmas holidays.
Talks between the government’s negotiation team and Shell and Equinor and their partners were revived in 2021 after having been stalled for some time. The two sides are said to have agreed on key issues, and have signed an initial Host Government Agreement (HGA).
In June 2022, President Hassan witnessed the signing of the initial HGA, and directed the team to complete discussions on the remaining areas before the end of December. “We would have finished drafting the agreement,” said Mr Makamba, “but our partners are now taking leave during Christmas.” He added that the drafting will resume in the new year. Mr Makamba said the negotiations have been complex and have taken considerable time. “I was in Arusha for four days, and we were meeting from 7:00 in the morning to close to midnight,” he explained.
The investing companies are optimistic about the project’s execution after the discussions conclude. “From Equinor’s side, we are encouraged by the progress we have seen in the talks between the LNG investors and the government. While we are still working on finalising the agreement to progress our LNG project in Tanzania, we have now agreed on the key items and have entered the drafting stage,” reads a statement.
To date, the government in partnership with oil and gas companies have discovered a total of 57.54 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas in various blocks. This includes 10.41 TCF from onshore wells and 47.13 TCF discovered offshore. Natural gas is currently used mainly for electricity generation, industrial and domestic activities as well as powering vehicles. Around 60% of the electricity consumed in Tanzania is generated using natural gas, with the rest coming from other sources such as hydropower plants, oil, solar and biomass.
The planned LNG plant in Lindi will facilitate the export of the natural gas to the world market. The agreements to be signed after the current negotiations include the final Host Government Agreement, which spells out terms of the project, the project law and the benefit-sharing agreement. A final investment decision could be reached in 2025, potentially allowing exports to start before 2030.
Earlier, a new report by Stanbic Bank Tanzania has suggested that the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project can potentially raise Tanzania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by over USD $7bn (TSh 16 trillion) per annum and earn the government $2bn in revenue. “It is believed that, upon completion, Tanzania LNG will be the largest energy project in Africa’s history in terms of capital investment. It would increase Tanzania’s GDP by $7 billion per annum,” Stanbic Bank Tanzania said in a statement yesterday. Tanzania’s GDP in 2020 was estimated at USD $62 billion, according to the World Bank.
The magnitude of the economic impact is correlated with the expected future price of LNG. The Bank accounted for this by modelling different future price scenarios, ranging from $5.50 MMBTU to $12.00 MMBTU. “It represents a transformational economic impact; between 270,000 and 600,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities during the lifespan of the project; between $2 billion to $6 billion in fiscal contributions to the government of Tanzania per year; and between $3 billion to $8 billion per annum in balance of payments contributions,” the statement reads.
In his remarks at the report launch, Mr Makamba said the report insights were critical in providing an overall understanding of the macroeconomic impact of the project. He also affirmed the government’s commitment to finalizing the project and tapping into the wider opportunities provided by alternative energy sources. “We will be unapologetic in the extraction and consumption of gas energy that exists in our country,” said Mr Makamba. “In Africa, if we are to extract all gas resources, we will contribute just 3 to 3.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Tanzania is building a robust gas economy, and not just limited to liquefied.”
The Minister said the envisaged LNG project with its huge financial and economic impact to the nation would bring about changes on the way public and private institutions would operate. “It can’t be business as usual. It is huge investment, something never done before. Public and private institutions will be required to be able to execute their jobs on top global levels,” he said. (The Citizen, Daily News)
Gold miners launch legal action against Barrick Gold
A group of Tanzanian villagers is suing Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold over alleged police killings, torture and other abuses at North Mara gold mine in Tanzania. Further, the families of two miners allegedly killed at the mine in 2019 have launched a legal claim against the London Bullion Market Authority (LBMA) for certifying its gold as free from major human rights abuses.
The first claim, filed in the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, Canada, accuses mining of being complicit in extrajudicial killings by police guarding its North Mara facility.
The miner has faced similar charges various times in recent years. In 2013, twelve villagers living in the neighbourhood of North Mara sued the company, then known as African Barrick Gold (ABG), in a UK court for the death of their six relatives, whom they said were shot by police in 2011. In 2015, the company agreed to an out of court settlement to compensate the villagers for undisclosed amounts of money.
This time, the plaintiffs include relatives of five men killed by police assigned to the mine, according to the filing. Nine of the plaintiffs say they were themselves beaten or shot by the police. The claim states that residents routinely enter “waste rock areas” at North Mara to retrieve rocks with trace amounts of gold, which they process and sell.
It also claims that Barrick “has had effective and practical control” over police stationed at the mine and that the company’s security agreements with the police effectively make them the mine’s “private and heavily armed security force.”
In the second case, the law firm Leigh Day has filed a legal claim at the High Court in London alleging that the LBMA has been wrongly certifying that gold originating from North Mara gold mine was free from major human rights abuses. According to a statement, the two men died while working at the mine. “The claimants assert that despite a publicly recognised pattern of systemic human rights abuses associated with the mine over many years, the LBMA has continued to certify gold from the mine under its LBMA Responsible Gold Standard,” the law firm claimed.
According to Leigh Day, the first miner died in July, 2019 after being shot by security staff at the facility while the second miner died in December of the same year after being shot by Tanzanian police. The claim, filed in the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, Canada on Wednesday, accuses the world’s second-biggest gold miner of being complicit in extrajudicial killings by police guarding its North Mara facility, located about 30km (18 miles) from the border with Kenya.
Barrick Gold Corporation has refuted the allegations, saying Barrick had frequently made it clear that North Mara’s security personnel are unarmed and that the mine does not supervise, direct, control or instruct any mission, assignment or function of the Tanzanian police force, which is a state institution.
Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said the group was proud of its human rights record around the world and of North Mara’s strong working relationship with the communities around the mine. He said many of the mine’s employees have been drawn from the surrounding villages and in line with Barrick’s other operations, North Mara prioritises local employment and procurement.
“While the vast majority of local residents are law-abiding, there are rogue bands, armed and well-organised, who from time to time invade North Mara to steal gold-bearing rock, presenting a serious risk to the safety of mine personnel and community members in the process,” said Mr Bristow.
“As recently as last month, North Mara was attacked by an armed force of almost 100 men. Despite the police’s attempts to repel them, 71 managed to scale the site’s nine-metre-high perimeter wall and engaged with the mine’s unarmed security personnel. The policemen eventually removed them, but one of the intruders died as a result of his injuries. “Two of the policemen were also injured. Barrick made a public announcement about the incident at the time. This was far from being a one-off occurrence and North Mara lives with the constant threat of such invasions.”
A spokesperson for the company also told Reuters news agency that the Canadian legal action “is riddled with inaccuracies,” and that it “attempts to advance claims against Barrick Gold Corporation in Ontario based on alleged actions of the Tanzanian police, even though Barrick exercises no control or direction of any nature over the Tanzanian police.” “We intend to vigorously defend against these allegations in the appropriate forum,” she said.
Tanzania’s deputy minister of Minerals, Dr Stephen Kiruswa, said the accusations were stirred up by “groups which want to get money from global NGOs,” playing down the seriousness of the legal action. “We have met residents near the mine and they are happy with the support of the miner to community life,” he said, adding that there were no any human rights abuses. (The Citizen, Al Jazeera, Reuters)
Tanzania, Uganda hit back at EU on oil pipeline plan
The governments of Tanzania and Uganda have responded in robust terms to criticism of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project from the European Union Parliament.
In September, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution raising concerns of human rights violations, major environmental and climate risks posed by the execution of the EACOP project. According to the resolution, more than 100,000 persons are being forcibly evicted to make space for the pipeline, and they are being deprived of the use of their land and thus also their livelihood before receiving compensation.
The resolution calls “for the EU and the international community to exert maximum pressure on Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities, as well as the project promoters and stakeholders, to protect the environment and to put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems.” It further calls for efforts to use “the best available means to preserve the culture, health, and future of the communities affected and to explore alternatives in line with international climate and biodiversity commitments.”
Responding to the resolution, January Makamba, Tanzania’s Energy Minister said that the overall pipeline route has been designed to minimise environmental and social impacts. “Some physical displacement (loss of shelter) and economic impact (full or partial loss of farmland) is unavoidable,” he admitted, but added that “land acquisition is compliant with both the Laws of Tanzania and the Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation (World Bank).” “We offer a choice between replacement housing (generally of higher standard than the existing dwelling) and cash compensation. Around 85% of the affected people have elected for replacement housing, and construction of these replacement houses is ongoing.”
Mr Makamba insisted that “no land will be accessed by the project until compensation has been paid and notice to vacate has been given. In fact, those affected will also be entitled to transitional food support and have access to livelihood restoration programmes. The land acquisition process is expected to be completed in mid-2023.”
Finally, he noted that “the pipeline will be monitored by a state of the art fibre-optic cable to detect both temperature changes and vibrations and it will be executed in an exemplary manner in terms of transparency, shared prosperity and sustainable development including the environment and respect for human rights.”
Responses in Uganda were less diplomatically expressed. The Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, described the resolutions as “deliberate misinformation.” “These are projects which were approved by the Parliament of a sovereign country,” he said, “and anything to do with challenging their approval is an affront to the independence of this House and we cannot take it lightly.”
“The EU bile against the project”, he went on, “betrays neo-colonial attitudes and imperialism of the EU Parliament”.
He further derided the EU Parliament for closing an eye to the EU’s own emissions. According to Mr Tayebwa, EACOP will only represent 0.5%, yet the EU with just 10% of the world population is responsible for 20% of emissions, and member countries are exploring plans to deepen fossil-fuel extraction.
HYDROPOWER & ENERGY
by Dr Hildebrand Shayo
JNHPP Hydropower moves forward but major challenges for Tanzania’s energy sector remain
Large-scale hydropower development in Tanzania has, until recently, largely been government led. The Electricity Act of 2008 and the subsequent feed-in tariff policy has since endorsed stimulated private sector investment in electricity generation in the country.
The Act provides rules for power generation, storage, and distribution of electricity in Tanzania. A section devoted to rural electrification assigns duties to the Minister responsible for electricity matters and the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA).
To enhance efficiency, Tanzania has been endeavouring to reform the electricity sector. This process began during the third phase of government under President Benjamin Mkapa. Nevertheless, the overall restructuring of the sector into three largely separate sub-sectors – a power generation, transmission and distribution – has not yet been achieved. This is largely due to the slow pace of reforms and the myriad forms of resistance faced. For one, energy is also a national security matter.
Let us ask what the main challenges are for Tanzania’s energy sector that each policymaker needs to be grappling with, even as the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant (JNHPP) is near completion [previously known as Stiegler’s Gorge – see https://www.tzaffairs.org/?s=stiegler&submit=Search]. In the context of how this sector is important to the growth of the economy, only a few will be highlighted here to help draw attention to where perhaps should focus when it is about the energy sector to make decisions better for the development of the nation.
Energy use in cooking and transport is the number one challenge in my view. If no action is taken, this can have a wide bearing on the environment and climate-related effects. Biomass fuels in the form of firewood and charcoal and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) are the main cooking fuels in urban Tanzania, with LPG slowly replacing biomass in rural and suburban areas.
It is regrettable most Tanzanians don’t appreciate that importing LPG for cooking and petroleum products for transport is precipitously draining Tanzania’s foreign currency reserves. Thus, moving to clean energy sources, especially electricity, for cooking and transporting clean cooking energy should be an important policy goal of the Government of Tanzania. To reduce the use of charcoal, which has contributed hugely to deforestation would be a big benefit to the country.
According to the latest Tanzania power system master plan, Tanzania’s electricity demand will expand at an annual rate of 13.8% during 2022–2030, rising from 10,176 GWh in 2022 to 28,664 GWh in 2030. This growth indicates that hydropower will continue to play a dominant role in Tanzania’s electricity system.
As President Samia Suluhu Hassan graced JNHPP water filling for the generation of 2,115MW of electricity upon completion on 22nd December 2022, Tanzania’s total power installed capacity by 2021 was 1,606MW. Tanzania’s electricity generation, according to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, currently comes mostly from natural gas (48%), trailed by hydropower (31%), petrol (18%), solar (1%), and biofuels (1%) supplemented by power imports power from Uganda (10 MW), Zambia (5 MW), and Kenya (1 MW).
Ministry of Energy and Minerals data reveals that the average electricity consumption per capita in Tanzania is 108kWh per year, compared to Sub-Saharan Africa’s average consumption of 550kWh per year, and 2,500kWh average world consumption per year. Provided the demand for electricity in Tanzania is projected to be growing at 10-15% per year, with currently only 24% of the total population having access to electricity, urgent action needs to be taken that include Government plans to increase Tanzania’s generation capacity to 10,000 MW by 2025. To achieve this goal, the Government of Tanzania has embarked on reforming the electricity supply industry mainly by attracting private capital to the industry to invest in other energy sources.
Whilst the initiative to attract private capital is gaining momentum, the hydropower sector needs to be equipped for the technical, financial, social and environmental challenges that lie ahead.
For instance, there is currently excess electricity during the rainy season and insufficient electricity generation during the dry season. In the past this has resulted in significant electricity power rationing. Smoothing Tanzanian’s electricity generation curve by consuming or selling surplus electricity during the rainy season and increasing generation during the dry season, in order to reduce fuel imports for generators and meet Tanzania’s rising electricity demand is a major policy challenge facing hydropower development especially as the nation aligns itself for industrialisation.
This implies that to meet Tanzania’s mounting electricity demand, as calls to industrialise and increase value addition processing mount, accelerated development of its hydropower and power mix sources from potential unexplored sources is fundamental. From an investment and business point of view, it is generally acknowledged that there has been underinvestment not only in a generation but maintenance of infrastructure that occasionally when executed triggers among other things power rationing due to major maintenance.
In addition, another challenge is on what can be viewed as administrative and bureaucratic vested interests and inadequacies. Less-than-attractive (to power generators) electricity prices that are not deemed to be adequate to support system cost and capital expansion are a major cause of underinvestment. Insufficient investment in transmission lines is a critical obstacle for hydropower development; thus a further policy goal for Tanzania should be to attract investment by initiating efficiency and economic principles into the sector while trying to avoid politicisation of the energy sector.
Worldwide in recent years, there has been an increase in extremely unstable weather patterns and events, like flooding. Further, high sediment load caused by farming along water sources, landslide-induced destruction of water sources through animal husbandry and farming through unplanned irrigation schemes etc. This has the potential to severely reduce the base flow available to hydropower projects in the long run. The effect in addition to inadequate maintenance will thus be to increase both capital and operational costs, and loss of revenue from plant stoppages. Hence, increasing the resilience of hydropower plants is another policy goal for Tanzania to achieve its full potential in the energy sector’s goal.
Further, Tanzania’s electricity sector in my opinion experiences some governance problems. Tanesco, the national electricity utility and the sole buyer of electricity, can be frequently a victim of political interference. Electricity prices and power purchase agreements can often be driven by factors other than scientific or business economic principles.
Tanzania has much to benefit if it can export surplus electricity to other SADC region members. This can only happen if there are robust long-term plans to develop all potential energy sources. If achieved, Tanzania could increase its gross domestic product immensely and relieve itself from depending on donor handouts and going for development loans that sometimes can have unfavourable terms.
by Ben Taylor
President Hassan gives her backing to calls for a new national Constitution
The government’s task force on political reform, formed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to address concerns that the country’s democratic process had eroded in recent years, has rejected the idea of drafting a new constitution before the next election in 2025.
The taskforce did, however, accept some opposition demands, including to establish the electoral commission as a more independent body and lifting the ban on political rallies.
In its final report delivered to President Samia Suluhu Hassan in October, the taskforce also suggested that the entire constitutional overhaul that has also been a key opposition agenda might still take longer to be sorted out.
Prof Rwekaza Mukandala, the taskforce’s chairman, said the six-month process they had been through of collecting public views had revealed “deep divisions” among Tanzanians over whether to adopt a new constitution or simply amend the current one dating back to 1977. “A good number of interviewees highlighted the costs involved in preparing a fresh Katiba Mpya (new constitution), and others said previous drafts could be used as a starting point even though the last one is already eight years old and was prepared two elections ago,” he said.
The task force proposed a further process of national dialogue to agree on key issues in the current constitution that need to be reviewed or changed, citing the Union structure between Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar as a significant example. The President should then appoint a new panel to use the recommendations from the dialogue to draft another constitution, whether new or based on previous drafts, which will eventually be presented to parliament for endorsement. Prof Mukandala did not give any timelines for this potentially lengthy process to be completed.
Speaking after the task force’s presentation, President Suluhu avoided mentioning the constitution issue directly but noted that the recommendations included such a large number of law changes and new task forces that it could take the government some time to get everything organised. She also said the task force’s proposals, while useful as a whole, should not be construed as “directives to the government”.
Prof Mukandala said the National Electoral Commission should not be answerable to any government agency. Instead, he concluded, an “independent” committee led by the Chief Justice should be formed to vet applications for selection of NEC commissioners. All citizens should be eligible to apply but the committee’s recommendations should still be submitted to the president who will have the final say on the NEC’s actual composition, Prof Mukandala’s team proposed.
The taskforce further proposed that all future NEC decisions, including presidential election results, be allowed to be challenged in court. This would mark a significant change, as currently Tanzania’s presidential election results are legally not challengeable in court once the electoral commission declares them.
On political rallies, it said parties across the spectrum should be allowed to resume both public and internal meetings without hassle, and recommended that the laws governing political party activities and police operations should be amended accordingly.
President Hassan gave her backing to this proposal. “As things stand,” she said, “the current laws give the police leeway to intervene as they see fit. But these are laws that can be fixed quickly. Even we in government will receive credit if political rallies are allowed again,” she said.
Nevertheless, in the event the President acted even without amending the law. In early January 2023 she announced at a meeting with political party leaders from across the political spectrum that “permission for political meetings will be granted; our duty as the government is to protect them. Hold your meetings safely, but you have to adhere to the rules and regulations,” she said.
Speaking at the same event about a possible new constitution, the President said she will soon revive the process that had been stalled for eight years in order to write a constitution that will be in line with the current needs of the nation’s development. “Soon we will form a committee that will include all groups in the community,” she said. “The committee will advise us on what to do and how to get a new constitution for the people.”
At the time of writing, the way forward remains unclear. There is clearly more openness to the idea of a new constitution among the current government than was the case under President Magufuli, but the process has thus far only been discussed in unspecific terms, and it will likely face the same challenges that undermined the previous attempt.
Finding acceptable members to form whatever team or committee or taskforce will be one such challenge. Will it be dominated by politicians, already committed to particular ideas and showing little inclination to compromise? Further, picking any of the previous draft versions of the constitution will be interpreted as a victory for one or other group. It will be very challenging to prevent the battle lines that were previously drawn from quickly being re-established. For a process that is intended to produce a document that unites the country, keeping everyone on board with both the process and the outcome will not be easy.
BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY
by Ben Taylor
Pro-business moves by President Hassan
President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s business-friendly outlook is sending positive signals across the globe, with Moody’s Investors Service changing Tanzania’s outlook from stable to positive.
“The outlook change to positive reflects Moody’s view that political risks have lessened under the government’s new approach to promoting economic development and engagement with the international community,” Moody’s says in its latest change on Tanzania’s rating which was published in October.
Ratings such as those for Moody’s are used by investors globally in deciding on where and why they should invest their money in any particular economy.
President Hassan took over at a time when relations between the government and some investors were somewhat uneasy. The sentiment then was that the country was excessively regulating foreign investors, and that Tanzania’s business climate had abruptly become unpredictable.
As a result, despite promoting industrialisation, a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found that inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) decreased by 24% between 2015 and 2017.
Later, relations between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) soured when the latter criticised the former for its unpredictable economic policies and unreliable statistics. An IMF report in 2019 warned Tanzania of unpredictable and interventionist policies that worsen the investment climate and could lead to meagre [or even negative] growth, was blocked from being published in the country.
But almost 18 months since the change of guard at State House, Moody’s said the government’s efforts to improve the business and investment climate and attract FDI, most notably in the mining and hydrocarbon industries, offers the prospect for higher potential growth and improving international competitiveness. “Tanzania’s re-engagement with the IMF also has the potential to support higher government revenue generation capacity and unlock greater concessional financing from development partners, supporting debt affordability and increased social spending,” Moody’s said. “Initial steps to improve the business and investment climate include relaxing regulations for foreign work permits, streamlining VAT refunds, and tabling legislation that supports local businesses,” Moody’s noted.
Government officials and some analysts say the government has indeed managed to effectively tell the world that Tanzania was open for investments and that its policies were predictable. “This change is a clear indication that the government’s efforts to create an enabling business environment were being noticed….This will instil confidence to investors that their money will be safe when they invest in Tanzania,” said the Deputy Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Mr Exaud Kigahe.
He said the government will keep on creating a friendly-business and investment climate to convince investors that investing in Tanzania could make them be sure of their tomorrow.
Dr Daud Ndaki, an economist from Mzumbe University, echoed this view, noting that the sixth phase government has achieved a remarkable milestone in building investors’ confidence. “This is a positive development. With this positive outlook, we are likely to attract more investors,” he said.
Separately, World Bank Vice-President Victoria Kwakwa praised President Hassan’s “economic miracle,” where key macro indicators showed a strong post Covid-19 position compared to many countries.
Indeed, growth data showed a healthy 5.4% annualised growth rate early in 2022, ahead of earlier projections. The Bank of Tanzania said money supply and private sector credit growth continued to rise swiftly, with the trend being attributed to monetary and fiscal policy accommodation, an improved business environment and recovery of private sector activities from the effects of Covid-19.
Private sector credit growth improved significantly in July and August, reaching around 20%, compared with the projection of 10.7% for 2022/23.
Further, Tanzania appears to have dodged the worst inflationary impacts of the war in Ukraine. Official estimates saw inflation reach 4.6% in August 2022, well below the double-digit figures seen in many countries, and below Tanzania’s own upper-range ceiling of 5%.
Economist and business analyst, Dr Donath Olomi, said there is positive change in perception towards investment and the business environment in Tanzania, which has been influenced by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government. “The economic potential has yet to be fulfilled, but we have come far, and there is this confidence as far as doing business in Tanzania is concerned. Trust has recovered, and the trajectory is good,” he said.
Census data published
November 2022 saw the publication of the first findings from the 2022 national Population and Housing Census. The main headlines were drawn by the overall total population figure of 61.7 million, up by more than a third from 44.9 million in 2012, representing an annual growth rate of 3.2% since the previous census.
The population of Dar es Salaam has risen a little more slowly over the same period, from 4.4 million in 2012 to 5.4 million in 2022, an annual growth rate of 2.1%. Mwanza meanwhile has grown from 2.8 million to 3.7 million, an annual growth rate of 2.9%.
The overall population figure for 2022 is a little lower than the United Nations Population Division had projected (63.6 million at the end of 2021). Nevertheless, the annual growth rate over the past ten years is considerably higher than had been the case in the previous decade (3.2%, up from 2.7%).
In launching the initial report, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said it was estimated that by 2025 Tanzania will be home to 68 million people and that by 2050 there will be 151 million in the country.
Commenting on the figures, some economists said that rapid population growth makes it more difficult for low-income and lower-middleincome countries like Tanzania to afford the increase in public expenditures on a per capita basis. This, they say, makes it increasingly difficult to eradicate poverty, end hunger and malnutrition, and ensure universal access to health care, education, water and other essential services.
Dr Wilhelm Ngasamiaku, an economist from the University of Dar es Salaam, said it will be important for the economic strategies of the country to take into account the age structure of the population. “In previous census for example, we have seen that people below 18 years account for the majority of the population. This means as a country, you must invest more on social services as demand for health and education will increase,” he said. “But if the majority is in the working age group, 15-59 years, it means we are going to need to re-strategise economically to make sure we create more decent job opportunities,” added Dr Ngasamiaku.
Others say a large population translates into more workers and more consumers who make a good market for locally-produced products for the general good of the economy.
Dr Lutengano Mwinuka, an agricultural trade economist from the University of Dodoma (UDOM), said the population growth provides an opportunity by providing a bigger pool of human capital. “For instance, in agriculture we have a lot of unutilised land across the country. From the census data we can identify the size of the working age group and skills composition and thus we can appropriately develop economic development strategies,” he said.
The initial census data released in November does not include the age profile of the population. This data is expected to be released in 2023.
TOURISM & ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
by James L.Laizer
Carbon credits – an emerging hope for conservation in Tanzania
Tanzanian communities have started to earn income from carbon credits based on conservation projects they implement. Most recently, eight village communities – Lugonesi, Mwese, Lwega, Bujombe, Kapanga, Katuma, Mpembe and Kagunga – in Katavi Region, Tanganyika District, were reported to have received TSh 4.2 billion in carbon credit sales in December 2022 on top of TSh 2.3 billion received in the last eight months, taking their total income from carbon credits in 2022 to TSh 6.5 billion. The payments were received after carbon credits accumulated from forestry protection were sold to the voluntary carbon market. Carbon credits were made possible through technical support of an investor, Carbon-Tanzania, that entered a contract with village governments in 2017 to protect the Village Land Forest Reserve, thus generating certified carbon credits. The contract required the eight village communities to engage with Carbon-Tanzania in protecting their forests using the Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) system under the Ntakata Mountain Project.
These payments indicate the broader potential of rural villages to earn carbon credit funds through the effective implementation of conservations projects in Village Land Forest Reserves. By scaling-up similar projects in Tanzania, rural villages will not just enhance conservation and contribute to the global fight against climate change but will also ensure income generation and associated benefits to forest-owning communities across the country.
The main factor contributing to deforestation in Tanzania is unstainable agricultural practices that involve forest clearance due to shifting cultivation. Deforestation causes carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. Prevention measures thus result in emissions reduction which gain value as carbon credits.
Carbon-Tanzania is a leading investor amongst others with knowledge of carbon credit systems in Tanzania. They are focused on supporting and advising communities to enter into selling of credits on the voluntary carbon market, therefore providing communities with access to the global financial system. In 2021, communities earned over $1.5
million in carbon credit revenues which is equivalent to over TSh 3.4 billion. In December 2022, the Prime Minister of Tanzania Hon. Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa handed over a ‘dummy cheque’ to the beneficiaries’ villages and commended them for ensuring sustainable management of resources. Additionally, the prime minister advised the beneficiaries’ villages to make good use of the funds by investing in development projects that will benefit the communities longer term, especially in provision of health services. The PM specifically suggested the use of carbon funds for the construction of the Kagunga Dispensary, estimated to cost about TSh 180 million.
Thus far, the funds generated from carbon credit sales are said to have been used mainly for social service provision in the areas of education, markets, local government office support and health. According to the Tanganyika District Executive Director, Mr. Shaban Juma, Tsh 1.85 billion of carbon revenues were spent on community social service provision projects in 2021. However, he also mentioned key challenges facing carbon credit projects in the District of Tanganyika, including low understanding among citizens and related incidents such as wildfires, trees felling, livestock grazing and crop farming in the village land forest reserves.
According to Carbon-Tanzania’s CEO Mr. Mark Baker, the Ntakata Mountains Project covers 217,000 hectares of Miombo woodland in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem in western Tanzania, engaging over 38,000 people from the eight villages. The project also supports the protection of key habitats for endangered wildlife species including the eastern chimpanzees, wild dogs, Egyptian and lappet-faced vultures and vulnerable species such as elephants, ground hornbills, martial eagles, giraffes, pangolins, leopards and lions. The project also created important connectivity between the Greater Mahale ecosystem and Katavi National Park and allows a free movement of elephant and other wildlife within the ecosystem.
More effort required to lift tourist numbers to the peak in Tanzania
In October 2022, the Tanzania Vice President Hon. Phillip Mpango challenged public and private players to come up with promotion strategies that would attract more tourists. He expressed dissatisfaction with the contribution of the tourism sector to the national economy, calling for increased efforts to capitalise on the country’s natural resources. The target is to achieve USD $6bn in tourism earnings by 2025, requiring an increase in tourists to five million. He encouraged promotion of domestic tourism to attract recommendations to help address factors hampering tourism in the country.
The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) chairperson, Angelina Ngalula, notes that policies to ensure business continuity should be revisited to foster sustainable private sector development and build an enabling environment for entrepreneurship. Other areas that require government intervention and facilitation include the transition from the informal to the formal economy that are key to a human-centred, inclusive, shift to eco-tourism which is a fast-growing industry focused on conservation and job creation to locals as well as sustainable and resilient recovery of the tourism sector.
A call to protect wildlife
In December, environmental charity WWF launched the “Living Planet Report 2022,” in Dar es Salaam. This called for action to protect wildlife whose population globally has dropped at an alarming rate of 69% over the last 50 years. This assessment highlights “devastating” losses to nature due to human activity. During the launch, Marco Lambertini, outgoing Director General of WWF International, said WWF was extremely concerned by the new data that shows a great fall in wildlife populations, in particular in tropical regions like Tanzania that are home to some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world.
Tanzania is estimated to have been losing 469,000 hectares of vegetation cover per year. WWF Country Director Amani Ngusaru said Tanzania should protect the environment by adopting sustainable practices in agriculture, forestry, fishing, energy, mining and construction to control climate change. According to Dr. Ngusaru, Tanzania experiences climate change impacts in form of drought, floods, and loss of land. The report clearly indicates early warning and immediate action for conservation and restoration in Tanzania and other tropical countries is necessary.