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Tanzania at WEF: rekindled hope for our Kilimo Kwanza

Tanzania at WEF: rekindled hope for our Kilimo Kwanza

The party was the result of a transmutation (so to speak) via the fusion of the ‘Independence’ parties of Mainland Tanzania, Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) and the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) of Zanzibar on February 5, 1977. [Incidentally, the date also marks 45 years since the proclamation on Feb. 5, 1967, of the Arusha Declaration on Socialism and Self-reliance.

This was a blueprint for socio-economic development formulated by the founder of Tanzanian nationalism ― and the country’s first chief minister and president ― Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (1922-99), an iconic, charismatic leader inside and beyond the country’s borders].

Oh, there’re several other events of varying degrees of import which took place across the globe on Feb. 5 down the annals of History. Among them are the adoption by Mexico of its present Constitution in 1917, and the inaugural edition of ‘Reader’s Digest Magazine’ in 1922... Today, we’ll confine this lucubration to events in Tanzania… The CcM anniversary was celebrated at the
national level in Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria.

It was marked by ceremonial activities graced by the party’s National Chairman and State President, Jakaya Kikwete. In his ‘younger’ days in Office before he was overwhelmed by national and supranational roles and duties, Mwalimu Nyerere used to lead Tanzanians on nation-building activities, thus fostering what in ‘My Book of Things’ became known as the ‘Ntomoko Spirit.’

This refers to Mwalimu’s personal efforts at physically helping with the construction of infrastructure in the Central Tanzanian Village of Ntomoko ― including irrigation farming canals, ridge farming, nature conservation (soil, forests, water) and earth village roads. But, that’s another story… As I was going to say ― and Mwalimu Nyerere had said over and over again decades earlier ― Tanzanians need to make that extra effort, go the extra mile, if they are to  effectively lift themselves by their own bootstraps up and out of the social and economic quagmire they have been wallowing in for more than a generation now.

In other words, Tanzanians as a people want their pie on the table where they can readily reach and enjoy same, not in the sky! There are, of course, a bazillion ways and means through which we (Tanzanians) can redeem ourselves from the persisting abject poverty and the seemingly endless dependence upon massive extraneous budgetary and other support fifty years after Independence! If and when that finally happens on the ground, then we would have amply demonstrated the import of the Arusha Declaration-type of developmental blueprints.

Not only would this make Mwalimu Nyerere that much more relevant and comfortable, satisfied with a job well done by his successors down the years. It would also firmly put Tanzania on Seventh Heaven within the comity of nations… One area which can help Tanzanians to turn the socioeconomic tables in their favour is ubiquitous Agriculture, which remains a prime, underlying and crosscutting sector of the Economy.

Despite being given the Cinderella treatment (benign neglect) in the last two decades or so, Agriculture has resiliently marched on as a major socioeconomic factor in meaningful and sustainable development on the ground at both the national and household levels. About 80% of the workforce is still engaged in agricultural activities at different levels countrywide. About 85% of Tanzania’s exports are agricultural, grossing 46% of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings The sector today contributes 26.6% of GDP ― compared with, say, the mining sector’s 2.4%!

In the light of the foregoing, it comes as a great relief and encouragement that Tanzania’s Minister for Agriculture, Food Security & Cooperatives, Professor Jumanne Maghembe, confirmed receipt of relatively massive financial support for the country’s ‘Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor’ (SAGCoT) from the international donor/creditor community.

Speaking at the 42nd meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 27, 2012, the minister revealed that such credible and creditable development partners as the World Bank, America’s USAID, and Japan’s JICA have contributed to SAGCoT’s ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ Catalytic Investment Fund. If nothing else, such positive and supportive developments help Tanzania to effectuate the agonistic choice of fighting ― rather that submitting to or fleeing from ― food and other agri-related insecurities in particular, and poverty in general.

If nothing else, the latest WEF has ― with help from Tanzania’s delegation led by President Jakaya Kikwete
― rekindled hope for country’s agricultural development efforts, spearheaded by SAGCoT and the Kilimo Kwanza Initiatives.
With the WEF successes coming just days from the February-5 celebrations, Tanzanians have something to cheer about for a while there... Cheers!

israellyimo@yahoo.com

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