Ex-US envoy: How Dar has changed in 25 years

FORMER United States Ambassador, Charles Stith, says that when he was posted to represent his country in Tanzania in 1998, Dar es Salaam was just like a “big village,” as he recalls a level of development attained at that time.

Reflecting at the current infrastructure development, available shopping centres and the country’s economic growth, he says, things have changed significantly, in a span of approximately 25 years.

Speaking at a Tanzania American Chamber of Commerce Annual Thanksgiving Dinner held in Dar es Salaam recently, Stith noted that the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan and that of her predecessors laid a foundation for the stability and transparency that businesses need to fashion a long-term future.

The event was also well- attended by various stakehold- ers and diplomats, including the incumbent US Ambassador to Tanzania, Michael Battle.

“Today Dar is a real city, with all that that means. Tanza- nia is now officially considered a lower-middle-income country. It is considered one of the continent’s bright lights in terms of governance. Tanzania has come a mighty long way.

“The question now is – how much further will we, those of us gathered in this room and our cohorts and contemporaries, take it? The other obvious question is – what will Tanzania’s leaders do to fashion a brighter future for their people and the people of the continent?” queried the diplomat who doubles as the Chairman of The Pula Group, LLC, a US-based company that invests in high value opportunities in Africa.

Improved city roads

He expressed his optimism that Tanzania is poised to play a pivotal role in the Green Energy Revolution, which is expected to transform the global economy, ecosystem and environment, as well as reshape the foundations of human community and culture.

“The Green Energy Revolution will not simply change the kind of cars we drive, but the planes we fly, the houses we build, the machines we make for the products we manufacture. It will affect the relationship be- tween nations,” he stated.

The Ambassador suggested that Tanzania should be a member of the newly launched Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) to enjoy the market for its varieties of minerals, ranging from graphite, lithium to rare earth minerals.

The former Washington representative to Dar es Salaam went on to say that the US, the world’s economic powerhouse, has the financial ecosystem to finance and develop Tanzania’s vast resources as well as further- ing the country’s development.

“In Balozi [Ambassador] Michael Battle, we have one of America’s most capable and creative diplomats to help lead the way. In the Biden-Harris Administration, we have a team at the top that has demonstrated it is committed to Africa’s, and Tanzania’s, growth and development.

“How much further can we take Tanzania? I’d say, the sky is the limit. Who knows whether you’ve been called to Tanzania “for such a time as this,” he told the business community.

The businesses and jobs that our partnership could birth would be life-changing for the citizens of this country and history-making for our two countries.

Tanzania, according to the diplomat, has always punched above its weight on this continent and in the world, starting with the leadership provided by Tanzania’s founding father Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who led the country at the forefront of the non-aligned movement that emerged in the post-colonial era.

Tanzania provided a safe haven for every liberation movement in the world; even members of the Black Panther Party were welcomed when things got too hot in America.

Being the only member of both the East African Com- munity (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tanzania’s reach extends from the northern tip of East Africa to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

“What Tanzania does has an impact and can be a model for both regions and the rest of the continent as each strives to reach its potential,” he noted.

Ambassador Charles R Stith is the Chairman of The Pula Group, LLC, a US-based company that invests in high value opportunities in Africa.

Pula maintains offices in Los Angeles, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam. He is the founder and board Chairman of The African Presidential Leadership Centre, South Africa.

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