President John Pombe Magufuli appoints new Board of Directors

UONGOZI Institute is pleased to welcome new members of the Institute’s Board of Directors as appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E John Pombe Magufuli effective from 31st May, 2017.


Kari Alanko



1. Ambassador Kari Alanko

Embassy of Finland,

South Africa






2. Prof. Idris Kikula        

Vice-Chancellor, University of Dodoma (UDOM),





3. Dr. Laurean J. Ndumbaro

Permanent Secretary, President’s Office,

Ministry of Public Service Management and Good Governance,





4.   Dr. Stergomena Tax                             

Executive Secretary,  Southern African Development Community (SADC),






5. Prof. Penina Mlama

Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM),






6. Dr. Cristina Duarte

Former Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration,

Cape Verde


Iina Soiri



7. Ms. Iina Soiri

Director of the Nordic Africa Institute,


David Walker


8. Mr. David Walker      

Former Director of the European School of Administration,

United Kingdom



The appointment of Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Directors will be announced on a later date.




“Patriotism required for negotiation of better trade deals” – TZ Deputy Attorney General Gerson Mdemu

Mdemu 1
Deputy Attorney General Mr. Gerson Mdemu delivers his remarks during the launch of the regional negotiations skills training on ‘International Trade Agreements’ in Dar es Salaam. Seated from left to right is: Facilitator and Lawyer of Global Law Firm – DLA Piper Prof. Jay Gary Finkelstein, Director of Multilateral Cooperation at the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Celestine Mushi, UONGOZI Institute’s Capacity Development Specialist Mr. Kadari Singo and facilitator from the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) Ms. Katerina Drisi.

The Deputy Attorney General of Tanzania, Mr. Gerson Mdemu, has called upon senior government officials in Africa to be patriotic when negotiating contracts on behalf of their countries – in order to come up with the best of win-win trade deals that can benefit and boost the economies of their respective nations.

Mr. Mdemu made these remarks on behalf of the Attorney General of Tanzania Hon. George Masaju during the official opening of a regional negotiation skills training programme on ‘International Trade Agreements’ in Dar es Salaam organized by UONGOZI Institute in collaboration with the the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI) of Columbia University in New York, and the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP).

“Before we engage to negotiate, interests of our Countries must not only be known but also protected patriotically,” said Mr. Mdemu.

“The question that remains a challenge is how do we best protect interests of our Countries as we deal with international and multinationals agreements? Certainly negotiations skills are highly called for. This two weeks training officially launched today will in a way, provide some answer to this basic challenge,” he said.

Deputy Attorney General Mr. Gerson Mdemu (seated middle) in a group photo with participants of the regional negotiation skills training on ‘International Trade Agreements’. Seated from left to right is: Facilitator and Lawyer of Global Law Firm – DLA Piper Prof. Jay Gary Finkelstein, Director of Multilateral Cooperation at the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Celestine Mushi, UONGOZI Institute’s Capacity Development Specialist Mr. Kadari Singo, and representative of the Electricity, Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) Eng. Thobias Rwelamila

On his part, the Capacity Building Specialist of UONGOZI Institute, Mr. Kadari Singo, said that the ongoing training which started on Monday, 19th June 2017 will last for two weeks, and consists of 31 senior government officials from 9 African countries including; Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, and the hosts -Tanzania.

The programme aims to strengthen negotiation capacities and competencies of senior officials that are involved in negotiating trade agreements, hence impart to such participants sufficient practical skills with a direct focus on International Trade Agreements by using a variety of real case studies mostly from the countries present here or any other that is relevant.

By the end of the training, participants are expected to be able to:

Lawyer of Global Law Firm – DLA Piper Prof. Jay Gary Finkelstein facilitates a session.

1. Equip with requisite negotiation skills and techniques in order to define and achieve strategic national and sustainable objectives during complex negotiations.

2. Build on the learning gained and apply the negotiation skills in a specific context that is trade negotiations; and

3. Build in general negotiation skills, to master negotiation processes and techniques, apply different negotiation styles and skills, and lead in negotiations to achieve the desired outcome.

Meet Liz Guantai, UONGOZI Institute’s 2016 Leadership Essay Competition Winner!

UONGOZI Institute’s 2017 Leadership Essay Competition is ongoing and the contest has been getting really heated day by day, most especially with the deadline approaching on the 14th July. A lot of hopeful contenders wanted to hear about the experience of previous winners and how they managed to get there.

UONGOZI Institute therefore caught up with Liz Guantai, the 2016 Leadership Essay Competition Winner from Kenya, to share with the rest of young people across Africa about her experience on the competition. Here’s the conversation between us.

Liz Guantai
Ms. Liz Guantai receives the UONGOZI Institute 2016 Leadership Essay Award as the overall winner from former President of South Africa H.E Thabo Mbeki during the African Leadership Forum Gala Dinner in July 2016.

1. UONGOZI Institute: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Liz: My name is Liz Guantai, a 25 year old Kenyan residing in Nairobi, Kenya. I graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Nairobi in December 2015. Thereafter I joined the Kenya School of Law from January to December 2016, in order to be admitted as an Advocate of the High Court at the Kenya bar. I have also pursued the required professional courses in practicing Accounting and Company Secretarial practice in my country.

As a Law student, I was involved in several programs in the line of protection of human rights, social justice and community empowerment, which I am very passionate about. In 2015 I was selected as one of UN Women’s 72 global champions for women economic empowerment, a program I still participate to date.

Currently, I am an employee of Deloitte & Touche Kenya, since January 2017. I am an Associate in the Financial Advisory department, particularly provision of Company Secretarial Services.

I hope to continue using my skills, knowledge and experience to make an impact in my community and beyond. I love writing and I shall continue using it as an empowerment tool.

2. UONGOZI Institute: What inspired you to participate in the Leadership Essay Competition?

Liz: One evening in May 2016, I was going through the recent updates of a popular website for African opportunities, searching for a scholarship grant that could facilitate me to pursue a Masters degree in a reputable university abroad. That is when I came across the UONGOZI Leadership Essay Competitition.

As soon as I read that the Essay finalists would get a free ticket to the Prestigious African Leadership Forum, I was immediately interested.  I could already picture myself engaging in brilliant dialogues with renowned African leaders and top business delegates. And of course I was very enthusiastic on seeing the prize money of 2000 USD. Lets be real, we would all cross a crocodile filled river to collect some cool dollars on the other side!

The topic was intriguing, what to do as a leader to improve African Businesses. As a young person, this was a subject that crossed my mind often. Business and Leadership. The connection, the disconnection, the lacunars and the solutions. The issue was real and required an answer providing a sustainable long-term solution. Being the African optimist that I am, I had very many ideas to contribute to this topic. I was glad that Uongozi Institute, through this Essay, was finally giving me a platform to express and suggest my unwritten thoughts and offer solutions to such an important issue. I decided I would bring the topic closer home, focus on my personal observations of the business industry and the strategies I would adopt to improve it as a leader.

3. UONGOZI Institute: How was your experience in Dar es Salaam at the African Leadership Forum? What interested you the most? Any thoughts on the Youth Dialogue?

Liz: Everything about it was superb. UONGOZI Institute staff received us well and gave us the best hospitality that one can ever get in a foreign country. Five star hotel. The Beach. Great food. Name it.

The issues discussed by the Panelists were real and in dire need of resolutions. They included business inclusivity, eradication of poverty and sustainability of the African economy among others. I recall H.E Mkapa’s emphasis on Africanising the SDG’s and Mr Nkosi’s views on using African businesses not just to generate income but to transform lives, as well as other sentiments put forward by all the great speakers. Throughout the day I learnt so much from the discussions, as well as the contributions from participants.

My highlight of the day was meeting so many inspiring people at the ALF. I talked to a lot of participants, most of whom are established leaders and business owners who were very generous to share their knowledge and experience with aspiring leaders like myself.  I loved meeting and sharing with the Essay finalists, as well as other young energetic and dynamic young people equally passionate about improving the welfare of our continent. An example of an Inspiring youth I met is Ms Chidimna Akaniro, an essay finalist from Nigeria who runs a successful Youth Organization and fashion business. As young people, we were able to brainstorm on many topical issues and even formed a social media platform to continue the discussions in our countries.

The youth Dialogue was one of a kind. Real business stories by young people told to young people. I loved the honesty in the entrepreneurs’ start up stories, as they explained how they overcame challenges and setbacks to make their business ventures a success. I had many lessons to take home for myself. I was especially inspired by Ms Susan Mashibe, the first African female Pilot/Engineer and her quest to a successful Aviation business created out of an idea. She was a big inspiration to women and the youth.

4. UONGOZI Institute: What tips can you share with young people who would like to participate this year? How can they improve on their writing?

“Dear Youth of Africa,

You should give this competition an attempt. The award is motivation enough. 2000 Dollars can change your life in one night. The ALF is an event you should not miss out on. The experience is unmatched and exceptional.  Most importantly, do not write just because there is an award, but because Africa needs our voices as young people to improve the Continent. We as the youth are the upcoming generation of leaders. We are the generation to foster the SDGs. Your ideas as a young person are vital in determining the state of Africa. Do not keep your thoughts to yourself. They could be the solution to our challenges. Speak out. Suggest. Propose. Write.  It is your right.

Here are a few tips:

Write in your own voice

This essay is not an examination that requires hours of preparation in the school library. It is basically a problem statement seeking for a solution. You have that solution. Write it. You need not be an expert in Peace and Security studies to contribute your thoughts on the topic. It is an issue that is with us, affecting us everyday in our countries, cities and community set ups. Think about the issues you face as a person, as a community and as a country and beyond, and the proposals you would personally recommend to improve the situation. Note that what UONGOZI Institute requires is your original personal recommendations, not the AU, UN or any other body’s. Be candid with your ideas and express them as genuinely as possible.

Practicable ideas

As you write, ensure that your ideas are reasonable and realistic. This is not a writing competition based on works of fiction, but a quest for sustainable, implementable solutions. Use practical examples that everyone can relate to, remembering that your ideas should have an impact on Africa as a whole and not a section or class of it.


Do not forget the general rules of writing; and be as accurate as possible. State your opinion yes, but base it on facts. Reference, quote or hyperlink any statement that is not yours. Plagiarism is a grave intellectual crime. Avoid it. Write a draft and do a self-review before you submit it to ensure that it looks as good as an essay that will impress a panel of judges.

All the best!


Are you interested in participating in the 2017 Leadership Essay Competition? Click on the following link to apply

Why Nations Fail – A book review

WhynationsfailBy Melisande Denis

Why are some countries rich, and why are others poor? What can account for economic disparities across the world? Analyzing three millennia of world history and focusing on case studies from extremely diverse countries, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson address these questions in their book Why Nations Fail, The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty. They argue that the wealth of a nation is dependent on its economic and political institutions: the more inclusive they are, the more prosperous the country will be. In other words, the key to sustained economic growth lies in open institutions that foster the participation of all the citizens.

The study of the city of Nogales, which is divided between the United States and Mexico, is the starting point of their argumentation: what can explain that, north of the border, American citizens enjoy much better standards of living (in terms of health, education, income or security), than Mexican inhabitants living in the southern part of the town? How can one border justify such a gap? D. Acemoglu and J. Robinson reckon that the major difference between the two countries is that American institutions have created a more conducive environment for economic growth than those of Mexico. Indeed, in the US, property rights are enforced, a level playing field is established, and investment in new technologies and skills is strongly encouraged: anyone willing to start a business in the US can do so without fearing arbitrary expropriation or unfair competition. State governments and the federal administration, which are democratically elected, are responsible for ensuring that equal chances are given to everyone; and, if they feel that they are being unfairly treated, citizens can rely on other institutions to defend their rights. Political institutions are centralized, designed to fight corruption, and enforce law and order across the country, hence fostering economic success. On the contrary, in Mexico, democracy is no second nature, and political institutions are more extractive: corruption is endemic and property rights are fragile. Creating a company in Mexico is a highly risky business, as monopolies and strong relations between politicians and large firms threaten smaller entrepreneurs’ interests. Institutions are partly designed to extract resources from the many by the few, and thus fail to provide incentives for economic activities. In short, inhabitants of the southern part of Nogales are poorer than those in the north because their institutions are not inclusive: the less people are encouraged to take part in business activities, the slower their economy will grow.

This is not to say that extractive institutions are inconsistent with economic growth: in order to have more to extract, political elites would, in theory, favor prosperity. But, as they extend their argumentation to different situations across time and space – ranging from the Soviet Union to the Kuba Kingdom in the actual DRC, through the recent rise of China – D. Acemoglu and J. Robinson argue that growth under this kind of institutions cannot be sustainable. Indeed, innovation is necessary for economic development, but with innovation comes creative destruction (meaning that older techniques and skills are replaced by new ones) which tends to destabilize established power relations. Elites thus fear innovation and tend to prevent it, and by doing so, hinder economic success. More than that, the fact that they benefit greatly at the expense of the rest of society means that power is highly coveted: political instability is often the rule in extractive environments, which prevents businesses from developing.

Economic disparities across the world depend thus on political institutions: the less inclusive they are, the more those in power are tempted to seek their own interests, and the more detrimental it is to their national economy. On the contrary, political institutions which distribute power in a pluralistic manner guarantee that various interests can compete, and that their economy will thrive. But why have some nations developed inclusive institutions, while others have not? As they review ruptures such as the Glorious Revolution in England, the signature of the American Constitution, or the Meiji Restoration in Japan, the authors reckon that these evolutions are mostly a matter of small differences. In fact, little divergences – such as the existence of broad coalitions that have a relative hold on power or the presence of some degree of centralization – have proven extremely meaningful during critical junctures. In the UK for instance, the fact that the Parliament had some influence over the monarchy in the fifteenth century (due to various historical circumstances) meant that the opening of the transatlantic trade could benefit a larger segment of the population, instead of only the Crown. And, as their economic power increased, they were gradually able to effect political change towards more inclusive institutions. Contingency and small differences are thus key elements of the book’s theory: had parliament not held this kind of power at this particular time, the Glorious Revolution might not have occurred this early.

This perspective necessarily constrains the predictive power of the authors’ approach, but D. Acemoglu and J. Robinson acknowledge and embrace the limit of their work, as they claim that it discredits any theory based on historical determinism. Prosperity and poverty are not given, but depend on the institutional drift of nations, which can hardly be anticipated. The major strength of their study is thus that it offers an innovative approach to the questions of economic development, which challenges formerly established theories. Indeed, the example of Nogales, one single city with very different levels of development, helps dismiss the geographical and cultural approaches (the former using climatic and territorial disparities to explain differences in development; the latter focusing on cultural factors, and claiming that some civilizations are ill-adapted to engineer economic growth). In the same way, the elites’ tendency to resist creative destruction challenges the ignorance theory, which considers that leaders do not foster development because they simply do not know how to do so: quite often, those in power are aware that their decisions are impairing national growth, but they decide to favor their own interests nonetheless. Why Nations Fail thus presents a creative theory to explain the origins of prosperity and poverty; and the variety of cases presented, which are highly readable and well-documented, makes the authors’ arguments all the more compelling.

Why Nations Fail, The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson is available in UONGOZI Institute’s Resource Center.

Melisande Denis, currently interning at UONGOZI Institute, is pursuing a Master’s degree in European and International Studies at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle in France.