President Magufuli stresses on “African solutions to African problems”

The sixth African Leadership Forum (ALF) took place in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, on 29th and 30th August, 2019, under the theme “Promoting Good Natural Resource Management for Socio-economic Transformation in Africa”.

The objective of the Forum was to reflect on the potential for land, wildlife, fishery and forestry in fostering socio-economic transformation in Africa and address the noted widespread unsustainable use of natural resources across the continent as well as the anticipated socio-economic, environmental and climate change consequences.

The keynote address, expanding on the theme, was delivered by H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Patron of the Forum. The organisation was managed by UONGOZI Institute.

Similar to previous events, ALF 2019 was organised over a day and a half period with an open plenary and closed sessions under the same theme. The closed sessions were held under Chatham House Rules to encourage frank, open and in-depth discussion.

The plenary session of the Forum was graced by the attendance of H.E. Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who later on delivered an address. H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, Vice President of The United Republic of Tanzania; H.E Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa; H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania; H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former President of the Federal Republic of Somalia; and H.E. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, former President of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar; were in attendance. Also in attendance were diplomats, heads of international organisations and regional communities, and leaders from the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society from across Africa.

Under the overarching theme, the Forum considered three sub-themes, namely Basic Principles for Managing Renewable Resources, Illicit Practices of Renewable Resources in Africa, and Africa’s Perspective on Climate Change and its Impact on Natural Resources.

In his address, former President Mkapa underscored the significance of the Forum’s theme.

He said, “This year’s African Leadership Forum touches the growth prospects of many African countries, if not all of them, and the lives of all their citizens.”

He further explained the rationale behind the three sub-themes, namely Conservation, Land Management, and Climate Change.

“This is no accident, because the three interface and impact one another,” said H.E. Mkapa.

Former President Mkapa stressed that absence of a conservation policy and accompanying programmes can have a disastrous impact on the nation’s ecosystems and weather prospects. He said both can accrue from the nation’s land use policy, thus affect the sustainability of its land management system. According to him, to achieve vibrant economic growth, it is necessary to have sustainable land management in place.

“Sustainable land management involves a holistic approach to achieving productive and healthy ecosystems by integrating social, economic, physical and biological needs and values contributing to sustainable and rural development,” he elucidated.

Touching on environmental conservation, H.E. Mkapa said that the destruction and diminution of the ecological and social environment can be attributed to two causes: human activities and the interface of nature.

“The population of Sub-Sahara Africa is set to cross the 1 billion mark this year. I dare to suggest that much of the present and planned growth is not taking enough consideration of the region’s human and natural resources base,” he stated.

Former President Mkapa further underscored the increasing demands placed on land and other natural resources that affect nature and wildlife reserves. He argued that in this way, “Development is made to put people and nature/wildlife reserves in competition.”

On climate change, H.E. Mkapa said, “Climate change manifests itself and is felt in different ways. It is occasioned by global warming and excessive depletion of renewable natural resources – land fertility, deforestation, inland waters recession.”

He provided an example of Tanzania, whose 70% of the population, peasant farmers and livestock keepers, relies on climate change and global warming. He said as the economy and population grow, renewable natural resources are declining, about 8,770 square kilometres of forest disappear every year. He cautioned that if the trend will continue, by 2075 there will be no forests in Tanzania.

Former President Mkapa went on to state, “Reforestation is possible.” He gave an example of Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement in Kenya, which planted over 50 million trees around Nairobi in about 10 years. Also, Ethiopia, which since May, has planted 2.6 billion trees as part of a campaign to fight desertification.

To promote good natural resource management, H.E. Mkapa emphasised on “communication”, “education” and “land use policy”. He said that governments and communities must always collaborate in development and implementation of programmes for sustainable management of natural resources. Communities must be sensitised and empowered to protect their natural resources. Furthermore, African countries should put in place, by policy and practice, land use policies. These should spell out with a minimum of equivocation rights of occupancy and an adjudication system of resolution of land disputes.

Addressing the meeting, H.E. Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli stressed on “African solutions to African problems”.

He said, “African challenges can only be solved by Africans as we understand our challenges better than anyone else.”

President Magufuli considered that the foundation of any nation’s development lies in its resources and people. He however noted that even though the continent is endowed with resources such as minerals, gas, fertile lands, sustainable management of these resources remains a challenge.

He further mentioned six factors that prevent Africa to realise the benefits of its resources, namely colonial mindset, failure to manage resources, lack of innovation and industrial backwardness, conflicts, unconscionable contracts, and environmental pollution.

How then does Africa reach a turning point? Responding to this question, President Magufuli said that Africans must focus on what is available in the local and immediate context, and transform it into money.

He further stated that money comes at the end, and is not the foundation of development. He quoted Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Tanzania’s founding father, “Even Mwalimu Nyerere said in order for us to develop, we need people, land, clean politics and good leadership. He did not say anything about money… he knew that would follow.”

In closing, President Magufuli mentioned measures that the Government of Tanzania has been implementing to ensure good management of natural resources for socio-economic transformation. These included enacting a law for the protection of permanent sovereignty over natural wealth and resources, reviewing mineral contracts, incorporating technology in the industrialisation agenda, implementing various hydropower projects to reduce and prevent deforestation, expanding nature reserves, and combating and preventing corruption in the public sector and beyond.

“Build bridges not walls,” former President Mkapa

From L-R: Hon. Dr. Simba Makoni, former Executive Secretary of SADC; Mr. Gilead Teri, Program Lead for Tanzania Investment Climate, World Bank Group in Tanzania; H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania; and Prof. Anthoni van Nieuwkerk, Security Studies Coordinator at the Wits School of Governance in South Africa.

Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa has called upon members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other African states to resist the temptation to build walls and not bridges, in the continents quest to unite, speed up integration and the attainment of economic liberation.

The former President made these remarks during a keynote address at the Public Lecture on ‘Deepening Integration in SADC:Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities’ held on 15thAugust, 2019 at the Library Auditorium of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Lecture, jointly organised by SADC,Tanzania’sMinistry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation,UONGOZI Institute and University of Dar es Salaam, was one of the pre-events leading to the 39thSADC Summit hosted in Dar es Salaam.Leaders from the SADC, government, political parties, diplomatic missions, business, civil society and academia were in attendance.

Referencing theadage that “good fences make good neighbors”, former President Mkapa said that it is antithetical to the common destiny and common route we have chosen for ourselves.

“Unfortunately, over the recent years the reemergence of nationalism seems to be a global force we have to contend with. In spite of shared dynamics and integration furnished by globalisation, the throes of protectionism, isolationism and xenophobia are still with us, sadly even within the region”, he said.

Former President Mkapa went on to state that the region should not resign to such regressive forces as they are counterproductive to the vision and mission driving SADC.

He cautioned that nationalism does not emerge by itself but has to be promoted.

“It has its drivers, disparities and lack of opportunities,” he said and added, “To thrive it requires media, political, social, economic and cultural advocacy. These same actors can make a difference to censor and suppress it.”

According to former President Mkapa it is only by turning around and improving the social economic fortunes of the people that we can make a real difference.

“The lesson for our countries and SADC is that our diversities and fragilities will only be exacerbated by the small size and weaknesses of our markets. What we need is to tear down our walls. Our strength lies in our unity, and the choice is ours to make,” he emphasised.

One the distinguished panelists at the Lecture, Hon. Dr. Simba Makoni, former Executive Secretary of SADC, echoed former President Mkapa’s sentiments by stressing on self-reliance and the proper use of the region’s resources.

“The goal of SADC has always been economic liberation and a common future. However, SADC cannot be built on the resources of five people. It is not a matter of how much we have, as whatever little we have can be applied to our most important purposes,” he said.

Hon. Makoni stressed that “Self-reliance is key”. He expressed that self-reliance is pivotal not only for the governments and government institutions but also for the people.

“We need to ensure that our people participate in the journey towards a common future… we also need a continued engagement in SADC in order for the community to reach its full potential,” he stated.

Another panelist, Prof. Anthoni van Nieuwkerk, Security Studies Coordinator at the Wits School of Governance in South Africa, emphasised on the importance of peace and security towards a more prosperous integration.

“Indeed, the African Union and SADC have developed sophisticated policy frameworks and strategies to deal with democracy promotion and threats to security, such as African Peace Security Architecture (APSA), the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO),” noted Prof. Nieuwkerk.

He highlighted the relative peace that SADC enjoys in comparison with the rest of the continent, but cautioned that peace must be more than the absence of war. In his words, “Positive peace must include justice for all”.

Furthermore, the fourth panelist, Mr. Gilead Teri, Program Lead for Tanzania Investment Climate, World Bank Group in Tanzania, said that in order to enable the private sector to fulfil its integration role, four key aspects need to be addressed: Infrastructure, Skills/Quality of Employment, Finance, and Fairness.

“There is an infrastructure gap between $450 and $500 billion, our quality of labour in the region is also significantly low at three to five percent, and there is also not enough domestic revenues to finance our development projects. Competitively in terms of commerce, there is no fairness between partners within the region,” he highlighted.

Mr. Teri counseled that in order for the region to fund its development projects and provide credit and soft loans for businesses, it must move away from relying heavily on Foreign Direct Investment, improve domestic saving mechanisms as well as the quality of labour to match the demand of the private sector.

Also present, Hon. Netumo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia, said in polite yet firm tone that the time has come for us to tell one another the reality if we are to address the problems our people are facing in the SADC region.

“We must be realistic to what we have done and not yet done, because if we do not accept where we are weak, we will not be able to address our problems,”said Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah, who was once stationed in Dar es Salaam for six years during Namibia’s independence struggle in the 1980’s.

Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah concurred with former President Mkapa’s sentiments on reemergence of nationalism and integration. She therefore encouraged the reevaluation of the value chain in the SADC region in order to have balanced development for fairness and betterment of all members.

Sharing his contribution from the floor, Hon. Dr. Augustine Mahiga, Tanzanian Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said that it is important to synchronise the various regional organisations in Africa (such as SADC, East African Community, Economic Community of West African StatesandCommon Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) so as to bring out the best of collective efforts put into integration.

Hon. Mahiga also gave emphasis on consistent political will, a people’s-based integration, and a need of a political body such as parliament, where people can participate, challenge and hold leaders accountable as means towards achieving the objectives of SADC.

Meanwhile, H.E. Dr. Stergomena Tax, Executive Secretary for SADC, called upon all regional stakeholders to rededicate their efforts to SADC and to the ideals of its founding fathers.

“Together we can facilitate SADC integration, unity and shared values for the prosperity and lasting peace for the region,” she concluded.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan calls for immediate measures to curb deforestation and depletion of water resources

The Vice President made these remarks during the Green Growth Platform (GGP) that took place from 31st of July to 01st of August in Dodoma, Tanzania. The event, which was organised as UONGOZI Institute’s sixth GGP, deliberated under the theme “Promoting Forest Management for Sustainable Water Resource in Tanzania”.

“Tanzania has a total of 48 million hectares of forest, being administered under various programmes. However, statistics show that deforestation is taking place drastically and without immediate measures we may be left without any forests,” insisted H.E. Suluhu Hassan.

The Vice-President further noted, “The pace of deforestation and depletion of natural vegetation is said to be very high. Statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism show that Tanzania loses 372,816 hectares of forests every year. This is mainly due to the influx of human activities around forests that are not managed under any legal framework.”

Also, “According to report published by the Sokoine University of Agriculture in 2017 the rate of deforestation has reached 469,420 hectares annually. This is an increase of almost 100,000 hectares in two years… Forestry and water resources can therefore deplete or disappear at a faster rate if we do not protect and use them efficiently,” H.E. Suluhu cautioned.

According to H.E. Suluhu a situation like this is not conducive for the actualisation of sustainable water and forestry resources. Moreover, she noted that the depletion of forests can also cause huge losses to our economy.

“Official figures show that the contribution of these resources to the national economy is between 4 and 5 per cent annually. This figure is still relatively low and does not show the realistic contribution of these resources to the development and lives of Tanzanians,” she said.

On the other hand, the Vice President also noted that water resources are also depleting very quickly in comparison to our uses.

“Unsustainable agriculture, unplanned constructions, burning of charcoal, chopping of wood, illegal extraction of logs, and uncontrolled livestock movements have been causing great effects to the existence of these resources,” stressed H.E. Suluhu.

However, the Vice President did commend the platform as a tool that will assist the Government in building a sustainable economy for the goal of improving the lives of its people by utilising the available resources.

“I believe that the platform will propel sustainable and inclusive development which will include environmental protection and better use of our natural resources for the betterment of the current and future generations,” she said.

“The platform is an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and experience about the best uses of our natural resources. It is also an ideal platform for stakeholders to analyse the relationship between the respective sectors of forestry and water, and to get innovative and the best ways to improve the protection and management of these sectors for the sustainable development of our nation,” H.E. Suluhu highlighted.

Also present, Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Environment and Union Affairs), Hon. George Boniface Simbachawene (MP), said that environmental destruction and poverty reinforce each other. Therefore, it is every citizen’s responsibility to press for environmental protection and good management of water and forestry resources for current and future development.

“The nation’s Environmental Policy that we are all responsible in implementing, has outlined the challenges in environmental protection and conservation. These are land degradation, deforestation, extinction of plant and animal species, lack of clean water in urban and rural areas, decrease in quality of water systems and increase of environmental pollution in urban and rural areas,” said Minister Simbachawene.

He elucidated that these challenges hinder the Government’s efforts towards poverty reduction and eventually, affect the wellbeing of the people.

Forests and water are among the key sectors that have a significant contribution to the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These two sectors also have a direct linkage with other sectors such as energy, livestock, fisheries, agriculture and industries.

On his part, the C.E.O. of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja, said that the GGP was established in 2012 with the objective of gathering leaders and different stakeholders to promote sustainable development and inclusive development that consider environmental protection and efficient use of resources for current and future generations.

According to Prof. Semboja, the Platforms is segmented into two parts. The first part is the forum, which brings together different stakeholders to discuss various issues related to environmental protection and sustainable development of our nation. The second part is the field visits, where participants of the forum get to explore nature reserves and water sources, to see and to learn first-hand: what the reality is, what is being done, what the results are, the challenges and how they are solved.

“This approach allows participants to receive and internalise the success and challenges which they have discussed during the forum and witnessed during the excursion. Our expectation is that after this, participants transform to become believers and effective promoters of our environment and resources,” said Prof. Semboja.