Lake Victoria: A threatened giant?

By Melisande Denis

lake-victoria-africaWith a surface area of over 68,600 km², Lake Victoria is the widest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world: as such, it provides crucial environmental services to its riparian communities. Its basin, shared between each member states of the East African Community with the exception of South Sudan (Tanzania accounts for 49% of its surface water, Uganda for 45% and Kenya for 6%, while its catchment area extends over Rwanda and Burundi through the Kagera River), is home to 40 million people, almost one third of the total population of the EAC. Its importance for the region can thus not be overstated; but ever since the middle of the twentieth century, a growing number of interrelated challenges have altered the traditional balance of the basin, threatening both the livelihoods of surrounding populations and the giant lake’s ecosystem.

In fact, the introduction of the Nile Perch in the lake in the 1950s and its surge in the 1970s have opened up the region to a lucrative international market, which has attracted huge numbers of new fishermen along the shores: from 50,000 individuals in the 1970s, there are now 200,000 workers competing over Lake Victoria’s fishes. This population boom has had worrisome consequences in terms of human development: rapid and unplanned urbanization has put untenable pressure on the water sanitation facilities and on the waste disposal infrastructures of the region. Water-related diseases such as cholera, typhoid, or bilharzia, have therefore been prevalent among the local populations, with higher rates than national averages. Municipal services have not been able to perform efficiently, and the living standards of the area have raised serious concerns over the last forty years: the Lake Victoria Basin is not only one of the most densely populated areas in the world, it is also one of the poorest.

Besides these alarming social issues, and mainly as a result of human activities, environmental challenges have also been piling up. Intensive fishing, species introduction, poor waste management, hazardous agricultural procedures, deforestation or the use of outdated industrial infrastructures have resulted in the rapid eutrophication of the lake and a shift in its traditional ecosystem. One of the most spectacular manifestations of these changes might have been the huge outbreaks of water hyacinth, an invasive alga, over the waters of Lake Victoria in the late 1990s and again in the mid-2000s: some areas became so clogged that navigation was made impossible for weeks.

With higher nutrient loads flowing into the lake, its traditional water composition has indeed been altered, fostering the proliferation of algae. In turn, this evolution has been responsible for increased fish mortality rates, which have directly affected the revenues of local inhabitants, with the lower catch per unit effort leading to unsustainable fishing practices. Social and environmental challenges thus appear to be interconnected and indivisible. In this perspective, the current state of the Lake Victoria Basin is a cause for serious concern: not only are the living conditions in the region worsening, but the very sustainability of the lake might also be called into question.

However, this rapid overview should not be overly pessimistic: if the challenges facing Lake Victoria are clearly colossal, the economic and environmental potential of the basin also deserves to be mentioned. Indeed, the opportunities surrounding the lake could hardly be exaggerated: with its gigantic water stocks, its numerous species of fish, its diversified wildlife and its stunning landscapes, the lake holds promise in terms of hydropower, industrialization, irrigation for agriculture, fishing, local and regional transport, and tourism. That is not to say that these great resources will provide a magical solution to the difficulties surrounding the Lake Victoria Basin; but merely that if substantial investments and sustainable methods are put in place, current challenges could potentially be mitigated, if not overcome. As a matter of fact, the EAC, which has identified the basin as a key area for the development of partner states, i.e. “a regional economic growth zone”, has established two regional institutions specifically designed to monitor the management of Lake Victoria (the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization in 1994, and the Lake Victoria Basin Commission in 2003). If it could be argued that their efficiency is yet to be proven (considering the lake’s present condition), it could also be reckoned that the shared recognition of the need for regional management is a promising step. Given the breadth of the challenges lying ahead, effective cooperation between the riparian states will indeed be mandatory to harness the basin’s potential. If undeniably threatened, Lake Victoria is not doomed yet: significant efforts, fostering the engagement of all the stakeholders and taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the lake, should encourage the sustainable management of its basin.

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.

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 Centre.

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.

Regional Negotiation Skills training on Oil and Gas kicks off

Mr. Marc Hammerson, international lawyer in energy from Akin Gump, United Kingdom facilitates one of the sessions during the Regional Negotiation Skills training on Oil and Gas which took place in Bagamoyo, Coastal region recently.

15th May 2017, Bagamoyo – The Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development (UONGOZI Institute) has launched a regional negotiation skills training programme on oil and gas targeting senior officials from Africa ­­– with the aim of equipping them with the necessary skills and techniques to bargain and secure lucrative deals that will benefit their respective countries.

The regional training which was launched in Bagamoyo last week consisted of a team of 30 participants from 8 different potential and producing oil and gas nations from Sub-Saharan Africa, namely; Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Namibia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. Participants came from different backgrounds including Economists, Geologists, Lawyers, Environmentalists; Land, Water and Trade experts.

“The objective of this programme is to strengthen the participants’ negotiation capacities and competencies in oil and natural gas commercial contracts and investments deals,” said Prof. Joseph Semboja, Chief Executive Officer of UONGOZI Institute.

He added, “Our ultimate goal is to prepare each official of the negotiation team for actual negotiations, focusing on strategy and skills required for successful negotiations with international oil companies.”

This training programme will also equip the participants with requisite negotiation skills and techniques to enable them to define and achieve strategic national objectives during complex negotiations for sustainable development.

According to the Head of Capacity Building at UONGOZI Institute, Mr. Singo Kadari, the course is being delivered in collaboration with international experts from Columbia University, Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI) in New York, and the International Senior Lawyers’ Project (ISLP). The delivery of the programme will employ a blended approach involving lectures, presentations, discussion, sharing of practical experiences, role play simulations and case studies.

The programme will have two sessions; negotiation skills for natural resources with focus to oil and natural gas sectors’ commercial contracts which took place from 8th to 12th May, 2017, and a second session to take place from the 19th to 21st June 2017.

Mr. Ali Bakar, the Deputy Managing Director of the Zanzibar Petroleum Regulatory Authority (ZPRA) makes a contribution during the regional training.

Commenting on the training programme, one of the participants, Mr. Ali Bakar, who is the Deputy Managing Director of the Zanzibar Petroleum Regulatory Authority (ZPRA) said, “This is very critical for we are in the early stages of exploring oil and gas. We have just started to hold talks with International Oil Companies..and therefore need this kind of expertise to make sure that we negotiate appropriately and seal contracts that are profitable for the people and government of Zanzibar.”

Another participant, Ms. Maggy Shino, Petroleum Commissioner from Ministry of Energy and Mines in Namibia said that the training programme created an excellent platform for participants from Namibia to engage with fellow oil and gas experts from different countries in Africa which have already started producing and have gained more experience in the field already.

Ms. Maggy Shino, Petroleum Commissioner from the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy stresses a point during the regional training.

“The training enabled us to learn first-hand from our colleagues, to learn what they have done so far, to study their pitfalls and what they hope to achieve,” said Ms. Shino, adding, “I really liked the delivery of the training, it was well tailored and structured, thought provoking and realistic to the current industry trend.”

Courses include Fundamentals of Oil and Gas, Legal framework for Oil and Gas, Fiscal Framework, Primary Methods for Granting the Right to Develop Oil and Gas, Planning and Revenue Management, Local Content and Economic Diversification, and Key issues arising from an analysis of African Production Sharing Agreement.

Why a comprehensive approach is needed in the management of the oil and gas economy

By Mr. Dennis Rweyemamu


Tanzania’s natural wealth has increased with the discovery of large deposits of deep-water off-shore natural gas. The Government is determined that these resources should generate the best possible returns for the country and build the foundation for sustainable socio-economic transformation, as well as broad-based growth and development. However, the transformation of resource wealth into prosperity could easily fail because of a weak underlying system of coordination and decision making. Some of the strategic  issues being addressed transcend agency boundaries, and therefore effective management will require Government to take a comprehensive approach that covers the full range of issues involved in transforming resources under the ground into improved development outcomes above the ground. This should involve linking upstream, midstream and downstream industry decisions, taking on board environmental and community issues, management of revenues, and wider economic concerns. The approach should also consider long-term implications, recognizing the fact that the transformation from wealth in the ground to wider societal benefits can take many years, and present many challenges and surprises along the way.

Ministries and agencies have the essential expertise in their own domains to develop appropriate policies for their respective sectors. However, many issues addressed in policies cut-across the domains of more than one ministry. Also, some general technical expertise may not exist sufficiently in any one ministry. So, while policies are developed in ministries, they should be well coordinated in order to ensure that the system creates policies that are in line with broader government priorities and are consistent with one another.

What parts of government should be setting policy and making key decisions on harnessing gas for sustained transformational development? Currently, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) is the lead policy and administrative institution and plays a coordinating role with other institutions in the sector, many of which are its affiliates. Working alongside MEM, the nationally owned petroleum company TPDC is the national partner in all petroleum ventures. While a new independent regulatory body, the Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority (PURA) is tasked with upstream regulation, the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) role is confined to midstream and downstream regulation.

Looking towards taxation and revenue collection, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is the lead policy institution, but MEM and TPDC also play an important role in setting royalty and profit sharing terms on the project level. The Attorney General is also involved in negotiation and devising contracts. In terms of revenue collection, several institutions have roles to play over different components. Among the institutions involved, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) collects income taxes from gas companies, while MEM collects the large share of non-tax revenues from petroleum activities via TPDC  including royalties, licence fees, application fees and annual rent, and profits from oil and gas. The MOF collects revenues from equity holdings, and local authorities collect a local service levy from extractive companies. These institutions play similar roles in relation to all other economic agents in the economy.

Coordination on environmental and community issues is also complex. The Vice President’s Office (VPO) is the lead policy institution in this domain, and has to coordinate with MEM, and the national agencies on policy issues. Compliance and enforcement of law is implemented by the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), in coordination with local authorities. Meanwhile the Ministry of Labour and Employment, lead on formulation of labour, social security, and employment policies, while the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development has to approve land allocations for extractives use.

Coordination becomes even more complex when one considers the relationship between oil and gas and wider economic issues. The key institutions in this realm include the Planning Commission, the body which develops Tanzania’s national planning framework centred on the Five-year Development Plan (FYDP), and MOF which manages the national budget, and the financing framework for the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Two key challenges pervade when it comes to coordination and decision making on the full range of issues required to harness natural gas for development. First, the fact that many of these institutions lack the authority to convene high-level decision makers from partner institutions on a regular basis means that they tend to operate in an environment of inadequate information. Second, without high-level oversight to direct activities, there has been no one to oversee organizational roles and responsibilities, opening possibilities of ‘mission creep’ where institutions work beyond their mandate, sometimes leading to potential conflicts of interest, while lack of engagement or inaction has meant that other institutions are not doing the work that they should be doing.

Strengthening coordination accross  a range of different Government institutions is critical. However, with coordination, the practice has often been agencies talk to each other and at most share information; knowledge; and expertise, which is not enough when it comes to making decisions on strategic issues with broader implications. This brings about the concept of the “authorising environment” for policy and decision making. It is important to go beyond mere coordination and create an authorising environment with legitimate power for making key decisions. It should be about joint decision-making with regard to strategic matters relating to the oil and gas economy. That is the authorising environment, and that cannot be in one Ministry, it has to be in the relevant group of Ministries. In effect, the cluster of economic Ministries must all be involved in the governance and management of hydrocarbon resources in Tanzania.

This article was written as a part of the work that is being undertaken under UONGOZI Institute’s Natural Resource Management Programme. More information on the Programme is available on UONGOZI Institute’s website

Mr. Dennis Rweyemamu is the Head of Research & Policy at UONGOZI Institute.




New programme to promote and enhance sustainable development in Africa

world in my hands

On July 1st, 2017 UONGOZI Institute formally began its new five-year strategy (2016/17 – 2020/2021). One of the new features of the strategy is the implementation of a new Sustainable Development Programme (SDP) that has been in preparation since March, 2016. The Programme is geared towards addressing the implementation challenges of sustainable development in Africa, with particular attention paid to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs). The Programme builds on the Institute’s previous efforts such as the Natural Resources Management Programme (NRM), the In Focus TV interview series, and the Green Growth Platform.

The overall aim and purpose of the SDP is a multi-year programme to develop leadership in Tanzania (and Africa more broadly) to appreciate and implement sustainable development and to support implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Programme also aims to strengthen the Institute as a national, regional, and international hub providing a multi-stakeholder forum for dialogue on sustainable development issues facing both the continent, and the world more generally. The SDP will be anchored by the African Sustainable Development Forum, of which H.E. Dr. Jakaya M. Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania serves as Chair and Patron.

At the end of the strategic plan period, the Institute envisions leaders who understand and appreciate sustainable development in both conceptual and practical terms; who are able to translate this understanding into tangible benefits to Africa’s citizenry by addressing policy gaps to enable sustainable development; and most importantly for them to understand their role in and duty to advance and deliver sustainable solutions to African citizens. The programme will include the following components:

  • Providing a platform for dialogue, bringing together different agents involved in the implementation of the SDGs so as to build the necessary social capital to enable implementation;
  • Undertaking research on Sustainable Development related and NRM themes and issues;
  • Ensuring that SD-related and NRM-related information is available, accessible, and reliable to African citizens as well as policy-makers and decision-makers;
  • Facilitating capacity building on sustainable development to senior leaders in Government as well as to emerging leaders;
  • Continuously monitoring progress towards the SDG targets.

In particular, the Programme will focus on Goal 17 of the SDGs (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development) by enabling and enhancing financing for sustainable development, overcoming systemic issues such as policy and institutional incoherence, promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships (including Private-Public Partnerships – PPPs), and building capacity to support national and regional sustainable development plans.

One new focus area for the Institute, under the SDP, is Climate Security – the incorporation of environmental and climate (change) concerns into local, national, international, and global security agendas, and the challenges of transforming security practices and provisions accordingly. This issue has only emerged recently in the international political arena (it first appeared before the United Nations Security Council in April, 2007).

The Sustainable Development Programme will be overseen by Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe (Programme Coordinator – Sustainable Development) and Mrs. Namwaka Omari (Programme Coordinator – Natural Resources Management).

For more information, contact 


Technical and vocational education has a vital role to play in Africa’s sustainable development

Gwamaka Kifukwe


Everyone appreciates a quality craftsmanship, whether it is artistic or functional – and yet, we do not encourage our youths to pursue opportunities and livelihoods that require technical and vocational education. This is severely curtailing the potential for technical and vocational education to contribute to Sustainable Development – and much of the problem lies in our own attitudes and thinking. Sometimes, sustainable development challenges can be tackled through simple (note, ‘simple’ does not mean ‘easy’) solutions; and the untapped potential of technical and vocational training is one such case.

It is a familiar story; we finish secondary school with As and Bs and a few lucky Cs will go on to University to pursue degrees. The rest of the class are ‘doomed’ to vocational and technical education. But why has this sentiment become the norm? We all have friends, family and colleagues who are naturally gifted in different things: Some people can create magic in the kitchen, others have a knack for fixing things, others still are good at D-I-Y around the house, all of which we appreciate. So why do we not encourage people with these skills to develop them to their full potential? From the outset we stigmatise and demotivate those with the passion and talents to work with their hands, in order to promote academic pursuits. Ill-preparation for the job market as a whole.

Education has become about getting a degree, in order to get a good job or ‘escaping’ to richer parts of the country, the continent, or the world. Increasingly we are encouraged to become ‘job creators’ instead of ‘job seekers’. The truth is, we do need job creators. But the truth is also that we need skilled individuals to do those jobs! As it is, African labour may be cheap in terms of wages, but the trade-off for the quality of our products and services, render our labour uncompetitive due to the skills shortages in our labour pool and other related issues.

A major cause of the skills gap is poor enrolment in technical and vocational education. In all the world, Sub-Saharan Africa ranks lowest in terms of the percentage of total secondary enrolment in technical and vocational education (hovering between 4% and 5%). By comparison, the richest countries in the world (OECD) average around 20%. And we all feel the consequences of this. For those of you out there who own cars, or at least have been involved in getting a car repaired, you will be aware of how difficult it is to find a reliable and trustworthy mechanic to fix whatever problem your car might have. Typically in Africa one must ask around with other friends if they know someone, or know someone who might know someone… Have you ever thought to ask how and where the mechanic was trained?

In Africa, the informal economy is the largest employer, and a source of the majority of vocational learning. By 2008 in Senegal, some 400,000 young people were entering informal apprenticeships annually, compared to 7,000 graduates from the formal vocational and technical education centres! And in Ghana, it was estimated that as much as 80% of skills development was taking place through the informal apprenticeship system. As these apprenticeships offer no certification or documentation, upon their completion young people are absorbed into the informal economy. This poses several risks and problems, a few of which are listed below:

  • Clients and consumers have no knowledge of the quality of product or service they are receiving or purchasing.
  • Training is not standardised so there is neither quality control, nor standard operating procedures.
  • Costs are random.
  • Those taking on apprentices are effectively training their competition and so have conflicting interests.
  • Apprentices have no proof of skills and so have difficulty in presenting credentials to clients, or to financial service providers in case they would like to start their own businesses.
  • Governments are losing revenue.
  • Job creators and investors are unable to source local skills because they are not able to identify individuals even where they exist.

And the situation is likely to get even more complicated… NEPAD estimates that by 2025, there will be 330 Million young Africans eligible to enter the labour market. Africa needs jobs, yes – but it also needs people qualified to fill those jobs. As the world’s attention focuses on Africa, we are witnessing a growth in the immigrant population, many of whom are finding meaningful employment and economic activity on the continent. The diversity is welcome, however it also points to three facts that we cannot ignore. There are jobs in Africa; Africans are not able to access these jobs; and, we must do something in order for Africans to be able to compete for these jobs.

The perception that vocational and technical education will lead to being a ‘job seeker’ is misleading. University degrees do not guarantee that you will be a job creator or your own boss. You are just as likely to work for someone else in following either education pathway. Furthermore, from a development perspective, as the African market grows in terms of population, better linkages and spending power, there are huge opportunities for intra-African exchange. Why can these products and services not be produced in Africa? Currently Africa is outsourcing the very jobs that countries like Vietnam, Korea and China are using as the engine of their economic growth. Processing goods for the African market can and should take place in Africa – where the raw materials are found in any case. As the intra-African linkages get better, the reality is that there are many more opportunities for skilled labour (through vocation and technical education) as a starting point.

So why do we stigmatise vocational and technical education and prevent youth from pursuing viable, dignified and (frankly) needed careers based on vocational skills? Why are we not encouraging more skills and vocation-oriented education in our secondary schools so we can identify, nurture and encourage those with talents that are not academic to provide vital contributions to our societies? If science and technology education is a priority, where will we source the lab technicians or the mechanics? We are appreciative of good quality technical service, indeed sometimes we are dependent on it (from fire alarms to construction work), and yet many parents would not encourage (indeed may actively discourage) pursuit of excellence in technical and vocational fields. Why?

Furthermore, there is nothing preventing us from complimenting vocational and technical education, with entrepreneurship skills development. When we train chefs in nutrition, flavour balancing, and so forth, why do we not also impart them with knowledge on how to start and/or run a restaurant thereby becoming a potential job creator in the process? Africa will need entrepreneurs who are able to develop solutions from within as much as it needs entrepreneurs who adapt technologies, processes and ideas to the African context. In this area, those with the skills and experience in an industry can play a critical role in ensuring innovation is suitable to the needs and conditions of our context.

So what can be done? First of all we need to break the perception that vocational and technical education is the pathway for ‘those who don’t do well at high school’, added to this we need to identify and nurture those talented in non-academic ways so that they can prosper and contribute to their societies and communities using the passions and skills they are blessed with. Secondary education must incorporate more practical classes to expose pupils to alternatives in terms of future careers and possibilities (both as employees and employers). Governments can work with informal traders and service providers by providing guidelines and certification, individuals that collaborate and meet quality standards may be fast-tracked into the formal economy where they then have access to financial products and services to expand their business – various incentive packages to encourage enrolment may also be considered. These are just some of the ideas that could be considered.

Fundamentally however the change needed, as is often the case in Africa, is our own attitudes and approaches (‘mind-set’ to use the current phrase of choice). It is we Africans who must move away from thinking of vocational and technical education as the result of poor academic performance; of worshipping some kind of intellectual elitism. We must de-stigmatise technical and vocational education in order to enable individuals with passion and talent that are not captured in the current essays and written exams. We must recognise and encourage individuals to pursue excellence and an attitude of life-long learning in whatever field we are passionate about or talented in. The university-educated are just as job-seeking as they are job-creating. The same is true for those of vocational and technical educational backgrounds.

Vocational and technical skills have an important role to play in Africa’s future, so we must take education for these skills seriously. There are, and will be, many opportunities for people in Africa to prosper by pursuing this if they so choose. Because at the end of the day, what is development, if not to enable people the freedom to pursue their aspirations and ambitions and contribute to society through public and private pursuits?

Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe is the Programme Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Programme at UONGOZI Institute. He also hosts the Institute’s two flagship television interview programmes, ‘Meet the Leader‘ and ‘In Focus‘.  For more information, please contact us.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Series: Goal 17

Goal Seventeen: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

sdg 17

Goal 17, the last of the sustainable development goals, focuses on the key areas to be addressed in order to ensure that the SDGs are implemented, highlighting the essential role of partnerships in this process.

In recognition of the need for adequate resources to implement the goals, the first five targets relate to resource mobilization for the SDGs through development aid and other sources, as well as developing policies to foster debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring; and promoting investment.

According to this report, Sub-Saharan African countries have generated an average of 20% of their GDP through public revenue generation and are projected to only make slight gains on government revenue generation by 2030. Greater efforts are needed in this area in order to achieve target 17.1.

The goal also includes targets on the promotion of science and innovation;  supporting capacity building in science and technology, monitoring and evaluation and for the implementation of the SDGs in general; promoting trade, and increasing exports for developing countries, with a more specific target to double developing countries’ share of exports in the global market by 2020.

Finally, targets on policy and institutional coherence and multi-stakeholder partnerships highlight the importance of sound, coherent policies and macroeconomic stability in the successful implementation of the SDGs, as well as the role partnerships for the achievement of the goals.

Proposed targets:

17.1 Strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection

17.2 Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries; ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries

17.3 Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources

17.4 Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress

17.5 Adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for least developed countries


17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism

17.7 Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed

17.8 Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology


17.9 Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation


17.10 Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda

17.11 Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020

17.12 Realize timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries, consistent with World Trade Organization decisions, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access

Systemic issues

Policy and institutional coherence

17.13 Enhance global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence

17.14 Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development

17.15 Respect each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development

Multi-stakeholder partnerships

17.16 Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries

17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experiences and resourcing strategies of partnerships

Data, monitoring and accountability

17.18 By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts

17.19 By 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product, and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries

This brings us to the end of the Sustainable Development Goals series on UONGOZI Institute’s blog. The complete series of articles can be found here. For more information on UONGOZI Institute and it’s work on sustainable development, please visit our website or email

Industrial Development in Tanzania: renewed commitment amidst persistent challenges

by Dennis Rweyemamu pic+industrial

The fifth phase Government of the United Republic of Tanzania has demonstrated renewed commitment to industrialization, as part of a broader agenda to create employment opportunities and substantially reduce poverty. This renewed commitment to promoting industrial development is timely. Literature suggests that economic development requires structural change from low to high-productivity activities, and that the industrial sector is a key engine of growth in the development process. Virtually all country cases of high, rapid and sustained economic growth have been associated with industrialization, particularly growth in manufacturing production.

Unfortunatley, the manufacturing sector in Tanzania is an example of disappointing sectoral performance. In the past, policy failures both in design and implementation have contributed to poor industrial performance. During the import-substitution phase of the 1970s, government policies and efforts focused more on providing support to domestic firms than on getting them to perform. Furthermore, the emphasis was on setting up industries rather than on building dynamic capabilities that would allow firms to be competitive. High protection meant that domestic firms were poorly prepared for international competition. The fact that the state created and operated the manufacturing firms simply made the problem worse. Investments were often made with little regard to efficiency, and the managerial capacity of the state was badly overstretched.

The structural adjustment phase of the 1980s and 1990s, saw the withdrawal of government support, even in the presence of market failures, and the liberalization of trade without taking account of the capabilities of domestic firms is another example of policy failure. Emerging from being the worst affected during the economic crises of the early 1980s, (despite massive public investments), the sector has never really recovered. The main reforms in the sector evolved around restructuring activities and liberalizing the investment climate. While there were mild achievements in a few industries, the rest were either stagnant or worse off. With the ushering of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) in the early 2000s, resources were shifted away from the productive sectors that are necessary for sustained growth and poverty reduction, with a new focus on the social sectors.

Although policy failures did contribute to poor industrial performance, structural factors also played a role. The structural factors are manifest in the form of poor infrastructure (including roads, airways, railways, and communication), low human capital, small size of domestic markets, and a low entrepreneurial base. No industry can run smoothly in an environment where the whole range of basic infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately, we are now seeing efforts by the Government to address infrastructural constraints, but these efforts need to be intensified.

The small size of domestic markets in Tanzania implies that we are unlikely to sustain an industrialization agenda without access to regional and global markets. These external markets would provide an opportunity to expand production as well as exports, and reap the benefits of scale economies. It would also make available the much needed foreign exchange to import intermediate inputs and capital goods for domestic industries.

But are we competitive enough to enter into these markets? It is important that industrial development efforts be part of an overall process of integration into the global economy rather than inward-looking as was the case during the import-substitution phase. Imposing import bans on goods will only help firms targeting the domestic market, and in a way be a “cost” to consumers who would have otherwise accessed cheaper imports of the same or even higher quality. There should be efforts towards building the capabilities of domestic firms and preparing them to compete in export markets for medium and high-technology manufactured goods.

While the Goverment has recognized the necessity to promote industrial and manufacturing development in order to address the country’s development challenges, there is need to search for an approach that is strategic, integrates lessons from the past, and takes into account the realities of a changing global environment. Investment in human capital should be key to any such strategy so as to improve efficiency and thus productivity levels. This, however, must be supported by necessary public goods (particularly investments in infrastructure), support institutions (for trade facilitation, credit, access to technology, establishment of standards and certification) and an incentive structure that is conducive to industrial growth.

So, in the fierce competition of export markets, does Tanzania stand a chance? Yes, it does. Not that it will be easy or quick, but with better policies and more investment, we could be competitive in things like agro-products, footwear, furniture and other low-skill industries. Opportunities are there, but we need to strategize and implement plans. Otherwise we may remain stuck in only exporting natural resources.

Is there a right formula for managing the oil and gas sector in Tanzania?


by Namwaka Omari

Discussion and debates around natural resources in Tanzania have in recent years focused on the projected revenues from the gas sector. The new discoveries of natural gas have shifted the nation’s conversation to turn to look at what this gas can do for the country. The underlying assumption here is that if the gas is developed, processed, piped and exported, it will bring in significant cash flow to the government; a new cash cow of sort. This is all well and good – in theory. In practice, the process is not all that simple and if not managed ‘right’, then we may not realise the projected revenues that are meant to come from the gas reserves. How then do we properly manage the sector? What should we put in place? What should we do first? What should we NOT do?

These are all important questions that we should be asking ourselves and thinking critically as to how to position ourselves to truly benefit from our natural resources. They cannot all be answered at one go, nor should they be attempted to be answered at one go as this is a complex sector that needs careful analysis. What we should do is learn from others that have gone before us on this journey, and determine which lessons we can take forward and which we should leave behind. Not all will work for us as Tanzania, but there may be some experiences that we can take from and build on – some good foundations.

An example of this is from a recent trip to Ghana, which revealed that their natural resources are protected in the mother law – the Constitution – with powers vested in the parliament to look at each and every contract that is in the realm of natural resources prior to approval. This oversight role is important in ensuring that each contract attains maximum benefit for citizens. This is indeed an important lesson for us in Tanzania, where does the buck stop with us?

What I am offering here is one foundation, which borrows from the Natural Resource Charter framework. I am offering a few of the ingredients in the recipe of how we can start to possibly think about ‘getting it right’:

Ingredient 1: Have in place a comprehensive national strategy or ‘vision’ for the sector with an effective coordination framework; this means developing a shared blueprint (vision) and creating an “authorizing environment” for the natural gas sector which spans all the relevant ministries and is housed at a high office.

Ingredient 2: Ensure Government ownership of geological information so that the Government knows how much is available and where, this will provide ownership of the data to the Government.

Ingredient 3: Empower citizens with correct information which speaks to the need to have a critical mass of informed citizens which can hold the Government accountable.

Ingredient 4: Secure efficient allocation of licenses to ensure maximum benefits by having a transparent licensing regime.

Ingredient 5: Realise the full value from the natural resources by vesting ownership to the Government through empowering the National Oil Company as a commercial entity, as well as ensuring that tax regimes enable the government to realize the value of resources.

Ingredient 6: Put in place an effective regulatory framework by establishing a regulatory authority and frameworks for upstream, as well as effective institutions and frameworks for midstream and downstream.

Ingredient 7: Make sure environmental and social costs of oil & gas projects are accounted for, mitigated and offset, which will mean enhancing monitoring of company operations, enforcement of compliance to laws that safeguard surrounding communities from harmful environmental impacts, as well as putting in place an effective system to respond to environmental disasters (such as oil spills or hazardous leaks).

Ingredient 8: Invest oil & gas revenues to achieve optimal and equitable outcomes for both current and future generations. Here we could learn from others and establish a Gas Revenue Fund which is independent, with the purpose of ring-fencing funding for continuous development of the oil & gas industry, ensuring financing of strategic infrastructure, managing fiscal volatility as well as saving for the future generations.

[Watch the In Focus show on understanding Sovereign Wealth Funds here]

Ingredient 9: Design integration of the oil and gas sector for economic transformation, by harnessing oil and gas to transform other critical sectors such as infrastructure as well as ensuring local content (employment, local supply chain,s etc.) and local skills are developed.

Ingredient 10: Dialogue with International Oil Companies (IOCs), to ensure they are committed to contributing to sustainable development through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in line with local development plans, as well as adhering to national standards.

Ingredient 11: Engage the International Community to support the sustainable development efforts of the country, by encouraging IOCs to operate in the same way as they operate in their countries of origin. Information sharing initiatives should be enhanced, while ensuring that the host country proactively engages with the IOCs.

This does not suggest that these ingredients are a magic pill; nor that they will guarantee ‘getting it right’, but it is a start. There is no one ‘right’ formula – no one size fits all in managing the sector, however, there are ingredients which are essential, and looking at what other countries have done, which give us a starting point, may put us on a path that could potentially work for Tanzania.

Other resources on managing natural resources:

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Series: Goal 16

Goal Sixteen: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

SDG16-e1442928930621This goal, with a focus on governance, was not included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the preceding form of the SDGs. It is of particular importance for Africa due to its focus on institutions and policies that would serve as the basis for achieving many of the other goals.

The targets under this goal emphasize the importance of peace, non-violence, rule of law and inclusiveness in society for development. It also includes targets on, more specifically, the reduction of illicit financial and arms flows, corruption and bribery in all forms; as well as the development of accountable and transparent institutions at all levels and ensuring public access to information.

According to the 2015 Mo Ibrahim index, as a collective, Africa’s progress on governance has stalled since 2011. Although the figures vary from country to country, the index shows that there has been progress under Human Development and Participation & Human Rights, however Safety & Rule of Law and Sustainable Economic Opportunity have shown a decline. Specific areas of decline included public management, rights, accountability, the rural sector, national security and the business environment.

More information on the 2015 Ibrahim Index of African Governance can be found here.


Proposed targets:

            16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related deaths everywhere

16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all

16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crimes

16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms

16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

16.8 Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance

16.9 By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration

16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements

16.a Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime

16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

More on governance in Africa:

The Centre for Conflict Resolution

The Institute for Security Studies

The Africa Governance Initiative

The African Leadership Forum Report 2015

The African Leadership Forum Report 2014