UONGOZI Institute facilitates a retreat of the Office of SADC’s Executive Secretary

As we aim to reach a wider audience and enhance our philosophy of achieving sustainable development through competent leadership, we continue to foster new partnerships and strengthen the existing ones.

We were pleased to have a new partner on board, the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This partnership led us to facilitate a three-day retreat for the Office of the Executive Secretary from 5 – 8 August 2019, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Followed by a Public Lecture on Deepening Integration in SADC and a retreat for the SADC’s Directorate of Policy, Planning and Resource Mobilisation.

The objective of the retreat for the Office of the SADC’s Executive Secretary was to reflect on the functions of the Office, as well, as to discuss and recommend approaches for increasing efficiency.

The retreat facilitated open feedback among participants, allowing them to reflect on achievements and challenges whilst addressing difficult questions and recommending a way forward.

Delivering welcoming remarks, the CEO of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja expressed warm gratitude to the SADC Secretariat for all the cooperation and support it extended through its partnership with the Institute.

He urged participants to actively participate in the retreat sessions whilst stressing that only they could determine the lessons to take. He further encouraged them to use the opportunity of being in Tanzania to visit various tourist attractions that the country has.

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary of SADC, H.E. Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax thanked UONGOZI Institute for accepting the request to facilitate the retreat.

“We appreciate UONGOZI Institute’s role in this and it shows how the Institute is committed to enhancing leadership in our region,” expressed H.E. Tax.

She encouraged participants to be honest and identify solutions to address the existing challenges at the Secretariat. She emphasised on ownership and practicability of the proposed solutions.

She said, “We need ownership, particularly in planning. When you start there, it spreads to other areas. So, try as much as possible to come up with recommendations that are practical to allow us to move to the top.”

2019 Leadership Essay Competition Winner announced

We are pleased to announce Panashe G.R. Gombiro from Zimbabwe as the winner of this year’s African Youth Leadership Essay Competition.

The Competition, organised annually by UONGOZI Institute, aims to provide a space for the youth of Africa and the next generation of leaders in the region to contribute to important discussions on leadership and sustainable development.Since 2013, seven Competitions have been organised.

This year, African citizens between 18 – 25 years were asked to respond to the following question:

“If you were an African leader, how would you promote sustainable use of the renewable natural resources for fostering socio-economic transformation in Africa?”

Over 2,000 essays from 21 African countries were received and rigorously evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Originality, creativity, critical thinking (10 points)
  • Structure, organization/logical flow (3 points)
  • Content addressing the question above (7 points)

The four highest scoring essays determined the top four winners. The three runners-up following Gombiro are:

  • Kelvin Mugisha Mutagwaba (Tanzania) – 1st runner-up
  • Dimowo Ofuje Cosmas (Nigeria) – 2nd runner-up
  • Cissè N. Wassa (Ivory Coast) – 3rd runner-up

In recognition of their achievement, the overall winner and three runners-up were invited to attend the plenary session of the Africa Leadership Forum, convened by H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from 29th – 30th August, 2019. They also attended the African Leadership Forum Gala Dinner on the 29th, where they were announced at an award ceremony, officiated by H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa.

The overall winner received a certificate and cash prize of $2,000. Cash prizes and certificates were also awarded to each runner-up.

UONGOZI Institute would like to thank each one of the 2,000+ young African citizens who participated in this year’s competition.


Find out what H.E. Mkapa said about Gambiro’s Essay

Panashe G.R. Gombiro (right) receives an award as overall winner of this year’s Competition from the former President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Thabo Mbeki (right).
The first runner-up of this year’s Competition, Kelvin Mugisha Mutagwaba (left), receives his award.
The second runner-up of this year’s Competition, Dimowo Ofuje Cosmas (left), receives his award.
The third runner-up of this year’s Competition, Cissè N. Wassa (left), receives her award.
The four winners of this year’s competition pose in a photo with the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan (1st row – middle); and former Presidents of Madagascar, Tanzania, Somalia and South Africa (2nd row).

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 byH.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzaniaand 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 HassanVice President of The United Republic of TanzaniaH.E Olusegun Obasanjoformer President of the Federal Republic of NigeriaH.E. Thabo Mbekiformer President of the Republic of South AfricaH.E. Jakaya Kikweteformer President of the United Republic of TanzaniaH.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamudformer President of the Federal Republic of Somalia; and H.E. Hery Rajaonarimampianinaformer 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.

Meet Victor Ndede: Overall Winner, Leadership Essay Competition 2018

The 2018 UONGOZI Institute Leadership Essay Competition received over 2,000 essays from across Africa. Contestants were asked to answer the following question on their essays:

“If you were an African leader how would you finance development and transformation?”

Mr. Victor Ndede, an aspiring young leader from Kenya emerged as the overall winner of the Competition. In the video below, Mr. Ndede shares his experience and tips for young Africans who are interested in participating in the competition.

“Skilled personnel and patriotism essential to achieve the Tanzania Vision 2025,” Minister Mkuchika

UONGOZI Institute in collaboration with the Ministry of Minerals organised a four-day intensive leadership workshop for senior leaders from the Ministry of Minerals and Mining Commission. The workshop, which took place from 28th – 31st May 2019 in Dodoma, aimed at enhancing the capacity of leaders to make strategic choices and decisions; leading people; managing other resources; and excel in personal leadership qualities.

The workshop was officiated by the Hon. Capt (Rt.) George Mkuchika (MP), Minister of State, President’s Office, Public Service and Good Governance. Also present was Hon. Doto Mashaka Biteko (MP), Minister for Minerals.

Mr. Kadari Singo, UONGOZI Institute’s Head of Executive Education, shared the composition of the programme on behalf of the CEO.

He stated, “This programme covers Government Structure and Communication Protocols; Personal Leadership and Emotional Intelligence; Leadership of Public Resources; Internal Controls of Public Entities; Good Governance; Protocols and Etiquette.”

In his remarks, Minister Biteko extended special appreciation to Minister Mkuchika for accepting the invitation to officiate the workshop. Minister Biteko touched on the structure of the Ministry of Minerals and the human resource challenges it faces.

He explained, “The establishment of the Mining Commission in 2017 has created a shortage of staff, particularly in leadership positions.” He further stressed on the need for immediate solutions to address the issue and allow the Ministry to realise its goals.

In his opening address, Minister Mkuchika stressed the link between the mining sector and the government’s development agenda:

He said, “The Fifth Phase Government is determined to maximise the benefits from the mining sector and boost the country’s economy. Since 2015, we have witnessed several reforms, including the establishment of dedicated ministry for mining, new mining regulations and the establishment of the Mining Commission.”

Minister Mkuchika highlighted how ministries can help achieve the goal to ensure Tanzania becomes a middle-income country by 2025: “We can achieve this by having skilled personnel and a sense of nationalism among us.”

He further underscored the importance of transparency; efficiency; and communication while also urging the Ministry to strengthen its human resource and administration system.

Minister Mkuchika also expressed concern about Tanzania being “ripped-off” for many years, and that persistent effort was required to put an end to natural resource theft and corruption.

UONGOZI Institute participates in the 11th Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival

The Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival creates a space for reflections on Africa’s past, present and future development. The event honours the memory of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Tanzania’s founding father and leading Pan-Africanist, with a series of lectures, debates, exhibitions and artistic performances that explore his political philosophy and thoughts on education, unity and development.

The 11th festival was organised under the theme Pan-Africanism and the Quest for Unity, Democratisation and Development: The State, Markets and Knowledge Society, from 22nd –24th May 2019. Similar to previous years, the festival was organised under the auspices of the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair of Pan-African Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).

The festival was supported by UONGOZI Institute, Bank of Tanzania, Haki Elimu and CRDB Bank. The Institute’s participation came from a desire to draw lessons from Mwalimu Nyerere’s life that may be instructive to Africa’s current and future generation of leaders working to achieve sustainable development for the continent.

The event was graced by H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Distinguished Nyerere Lecturer. Those present included academics and experts from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and the United States of America.

Speaking at the opening ceremony H.E. Jakaya Kikwete acknowledged the efforts made by regional institutions and African countries to stimulate development and better governance across the continent while noting that challenges still present.

“There is no doubt that some significant strides have been made in good governance in Africa, compared to what the situation was in the past decade,” he expressed.

He also noted that extreme poverty is still a challenge to most of the African countries.

He said, “Sadly, 27 out of 30 poorest countries in the world are in Africa,” adding, “In the United Nations Human Development Report, throughout all indicators, most African countries, if not all, have the lowest scores.”

The former President also expressed his optimism in the area of unity, stating that there has been robust cooperation among the African states, particularly across economic and diplomatic fronts, at bilateral and regional levels.

In his remarks, Professor William Anangisye, Vice Chancellor of UDSM, underlined that those present gathered, “Not only out of intellectual curiosity but more profoundly in search for a better destiny for humanity, especially in Africa.”

During the opening ceremony, Professor Rwekaza Mukandala, former Vice Chancellor of UDSM, was installed as Mwalimu Nyerere Chair in Pan-African Studies.

Book Review: Sovereign Wealth Funds – States Buying the World

By Japhet Lutambi

SWFsWhat are Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs)? What are the Sources, Size and objectives of SWFs? Why SWF had little media interest on their investment prior to 2007? Why commentators are concerned at the Rise of SWFs? Lixia Loh (PhD) addresses these questions in her book; Sovereign Wealth Funds: States Buying the World. Lixia Loh (PhD) aims to clarify the nature, strategies and investment holdings of SWFs to enable policy makers and academics to make reasoned judgement on the significance of this fast-growing phenomenon. Since, the comparatively recent massive growth of SWFs coupled with the complexity and opaque nature of their strategies and investment holdings has given rise to concern at the highest level in many western countries.

SWFs are not a new phenomenon. They were introduced in 1950s but little research has been done on them. Despite their long history, it is only until few years ago that they became of interest to investors, policy makers and academics. The Kuwait Investment Fund was the first SWF set up in 1953 to invest the revenue from its oil industry (Page 1).  Many other SWFs have been set up ever since, most of these funds were set up to invest revenue from commodity exports. Due to the success of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Norway’s Government Pension Fund-Global and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), countries with excess foreign reserves from either sale of commodities or exports have set up similar funds, thus resulting in the unprecedented growth in the assets under the SWFs management. Non-commodity SWFs are largely funded by excess foreign reserves and budget surpluses. Singapore was the first country to set up a SWF using its fiscal surplus, with Temasek Holdings established in 1974. Initially, most of these funds were set up using revenue from commodities, particularly oil. But over the years more funds were set up using a country’s fiscal surplus and foreign reserves.

The term “Sovereign Wealth Fund” was coined by Andrew Rozanov of State Street Global Advisors in 2005 to describe the investment funds created by nations. The US Treasury defines SWF as a government investment vehicle funded by foreign exchange assets and managed separately from official reserves.  Despite the many definitions of SWFs, they generally share the following characteristics:

  • They are owned by a sovereign government.
  • They are managed separately from the sovereign central bank, ministry of finance and treasuries.
  • They invest in a portfolio of assets of different risk profiles.
  • They have a long-term investment horizon.
  • Unlike pension funds, they have no explicit individual liabilities.
  • They can either operate as a separate legal entity from the government or they can legally be part of the government or central banks.

It is fairly arbitrary to estimate the size of SWFs. They are hindered by the fact that most of these funds do not publish the value of the assets they have under management. A report by the Monitor Group in 2008 stated that the value of SWFs is estimated to be between US$1.9 trillion and US$ 2.9 trillion. In general, most SWFs share similar characteristics but they are heterogeneous group with different policy objectives. The main objective of SWFs identified by IMF are; stabilization of fund, saving funds, reserve investment corporations, development funds and pension reserve funds. However, the lack of transparency and international rules to regulate the SWFs has raised concerns regarding their activities and motives. A lot of concerns have risen mainly due to the lack of information and understanding about SWFs.

SWFs can exist as separate legal entities from the state or the central bank, or they can fall within a pool of assets managed by the central bank, statutory agencies or the ministry of finance. They can be established under specific constitutional laws, general fiscal laws or under the central bank law. To gain a better understanding of the structure of SWFs, five large SWFs are examined (Page 19).

Investment abroad allows SWFs to achieve diversification from their domestic economy and achieve a potentially higher rate of return in international markets (Page 77). However, Dr. Loh describes a trend in Page 80 which indicates that the SWFs have slowed down their activities due to the global economic downturn and the uncertain future in the developed markets. To some SWFs such a move is necessary to help domestic firms which are having difficulties in raising capital. For example, China’s CIC (China Investment Company Ltd) has been actively involved in reviving domestic firms and invested $ 20 billion to recapitalize the Agriculture Bank of China,   whereas the SWFs of France, which was set up specifically to help local firms, has taken an 8 percent stake in Valeo SA, France’s second largest car parts maker.

The political debate on SWFs has witnessed a shift with SWFs moving from investing in sensitive sectors to ones with less political involvement, but nonetheless investment in consumer goods and manufacturing is fairly limited. Dr. Loh however summed up the explained investment policies and activities of SWFs in the book that; the main objective of the heterogeneous SWFs can be divided into two broad categories: Income transfer and wealth creation (Page 88-101).

From page 117 to 167, which is chapter 4, the author provides an overview of the investment policies of SWFs, their investment by countries and by sector, choice of investment strategies and the regulations that these funds face in their overseas investments. The author examines the investments of five of the largest SWFs namely; Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), China’s Investment Company (CIC), Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, and Government Pension Fund-Global (GPFG-Norway) in greater details. Of the five, UAE’s ADIA is the biggest SWF in asset value and has been the most active in terms of its investment and its quest to build itself into an international investment house.

The author shows in the last chapter the future development of SWFs. As SWFs are buying up global companies, the speed of their growth is faster than that of any other investment vehicles. While other investment vehicles have shrunk significantly due to the financial crisis, SWFs have defied the economic uncertainty and how a more prominent presence have in the financial sector. The general market consensus is that the size of SWFs will have sustained growth and the number of new SWFs is likely to increase over the years. The projected growth estimated by Deutsche Bank shows that SWFs will grow steadily over the years at an average rate of 15 percent per annum. Many other industry players, academic researchers and policy makers believe that SWFs will become a dominant force in the global financial markets, helping to shift economic power from the West to the East.

 Reviewer’s observation

Tanzania can set and establish its own Sovereign Wealth Fund and invest revenue from its commodity exports. For example, with high growth in the tourism and extractive sector, revenue collected there can be invested in the global and emerging markets across the world for the sake of future generation.

Japhet Lutambi is a PGD student in Economic Diplomacy at Mozambique-Tanzania Centre for Foreign Relations. He is also a Member of UONGOZI Institute’s Resource Center.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of UONGOZI Institute.