Industrialisation is what Tarime needs to bolsterLET China sleep, the great Napoleon once said in a cautious moment at the turn of the 19th century.
Napoleon, a world shaker of his time, his line was when China wakes up, she will shake the world. Was China ever asleep? It is a conundrum for historians. Again, let Tarime sleep! But what makes Tarime a sleeping elephant?
This is even a relevant question in this wake of Tanzania’s industrialisation efforts being taken by the Fifth Phase Government. Industrialisation is never an option for any country desiring middle income status and beyond provided that industrial investments have backward and forward linkages to the economy.
In this regard, value addition industries for agricultural produce is exactly what Tarime needs for long term economic growth and shared prosperity. Tarime supplies agricultural commodities such as potatoes, bananas, avocados and grain to the Lake Zone and neighbouring Kenya without any value added on them because it has got no industrial base.
In Mara Region, few early industries were established in Musoma for obvious historical reasons. The history of Tarime sometimes contradicts its beautiful geography; its good climatic conditions suitable for agriculture, its mineral deposits, and its strategic location of sharing the border with southern Kenya.
During the colonial period Tarime was a dream home to whites. The area had unusual appeal to Asians as well. Prior to the Arusha Declaration, the country’s blue print to socialism, Asians lived and operated shops and restaurants in Tarime.
Sabasaba Primary School was established to serve Asian children. But miseries to these people intensified after the nationalisation policy of the late 1960s and 1970s which saw Sabasaba Primary School nationalised and Asian properties confiscated.
This bad taste of Tarime was not limited to locals’ suppression of Asians’ dreams. It was also due to increasing locals’ aggression to fellow locals.
Armed robbery to local entrepreneurs plagued Tarime during the 1990s and the early 2000s.
Inter-clan conflicts nearly turned Tarime rural into Somali. Thus, early Tarime’s entrepreneurial breed almost evaporated; you had to run away otherwise you were going to experience catastrophic loss both economically and socially by staying. Thus, most of early promising Tarime entrepreneurs fled elsewhere -- Mwanza, Kahama and other places. Fortunately; the government intervened and the chaos seemed to have ended since the 2010s.
That is why governments should have monopoly on violence because it can exercise its power for the better, never politicians. So the government saved Tarime from a broken district but its reputation had already been damaged.
Today, Tarime is like a starving artist; so talented, so energetic, so much promise to create value yet going to bed hungry at night because nobody really cares what he can offer or he is noticed by few people but his family history scares them away.
Unsurprisingly, Tarime is even set to miss the current industrialisation train because almost nothing is done politically that resonates to investors’ demands. The hard truth is getting pioneering industrial investments is awfully difficult unless the local political climate and subsidies are attractive enough to investors. Getting early industries with success stories capable of attracting clustering is a struggle.
Unfortunately, Tarime’s political climate is so pervasive to any industrialisation ambition. More worryingly is when leaders are embracing barbarism in order to appease voters; instead of building strong positive image of Tarime that will attract diversity, investors and talents on board, they are essentially threatening investors.
Recently, there has been a video clip circulating on social media by a certain politician saying that he will lead the locals into resistance against Tarime sugar industrial investment in the district.
Among other things, he had promised riots and burning down the company’s infrastructure if issues about land compensation would remain unsolved and if local government leaders are going to be partially involved.
History has repeatedly warned us that locals when uninformed can engage in destructive behaviours that deter investments but that doubles when politicians go overboard encouraging pervasive attitudes i.e. misinforming them.
All this tells us that when it comes to industrialisation efforts, President Magufuli might be going one way while politicians are going the other; zigzags are too obvious to ignore. Why those statements are too bad in first place? The statements are more futile than no statement at all.
The reason is to create incentives for first industries require a lot of sacrifices and patience. And with the world’s limited resources, there is no way you can make investors and the society better off without hurting someone else.
The issue of acquiring land for industrial investment is a typical example of compensated sacrifice whereby locals must cede their demands for even a bigger goal, betterment of the society.
A strong industrial base of China is partly attributed to its political structure and legal system which gives its mayors the power to convert agricultural land or village to industrial zone.
It is the same case with Ethiopia industrialisation drive whereby the government has the mandate to establish industrial zones regardless of locals’ demands. Development is a struggle; more of making difficult decisions right for longterm shared prosperity and not political correctness.