Dec 15th, 2012 10:51 AM UTC
By Katherine Lay
3.5 billion people live in resource-rich countries but many are not profiting from these resources. Weak governance is leaving countries “cursed” by conflict and corruption. The Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) was created to help change this. The EITI’s globally developed standard promotes extractives revenue transparency by calling for the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining.
Tanzania has just reached an extractives transparency milestone. On 12 December, the EITI declared Tanzania compliant with its standard. Tanzania joins 9 other African countries with EITI compliance status. The Tanzanian government is now obliged to produce annual EITI reports that disclose and reconcile all revenues from the extractives sector. Independent audits will indicate payments made to governments by companies and payments received by governments from companies.
A gold miner in Shinyanga, Tanzania
Regular monitoring of government and company performance will beam a spotlight on a sector that is traditionally opaque, opening its operations to the public and empowering citizens and oversight institutions with information about extractives financial flows that will enable them to hold governments and companies to account. Tanzanian citizens, journalists and parliamentarians will be able to play their part in monitoring government and company performance and preventing corruption, misuse of public resources and illicit capital flight. Compliance with the EITI is an essential step towards opening the entire extractives supply chain – from how access to those resources is granted, to monitoring operations, to collecting taxes, to sound macroeconomic management and distribution of revenues, and to spending resources effectively for sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
This milestone is timely. 79% of Tanzania’s population lives below the poverty line. The current commodity price boom represents a unique opportunity for the government to mobilize home-generated wealth from its natural resources to tackle the country’s socio-economic development challenges. Improved transparency in the management of revenue from these resources will be critical to Tanzania’s growth trajectory.
The EITI’s endorsement will also be sending a clear signal to investors that the Tanzanian government is committed to open management of its extractives sector and to making itself more accountable for the use of revenue that it manages on behalf of its citizens. The Tanzanian EITI multi-stakeholder working group of government, civil society and company representatives, which is overseeing the country’s EITI reporting, will continue to help build partnership and trust between different stakeholders, and to give civil society a critical voice in the extractives resource management process.
The EITI and Tanzania’s compliance with its standard is not a cure-all for the massive problems and leakages plaguing the extractives sector. It is, however, an important starting point for progress.
Dec 4th, 2012 7:08 PM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
Find out which of the five finalists will win the 2012 ONE Africa Award tomorrow at 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. EAT, right here on the ONE Africa Blog. I’ll be blogging live from the GAVI Partners Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where ONE is hosting the awards ceremony.
To follow along, simply scroll through the updates in the widget below and refresh every few minutes or so. The updates will not start until 12:30 p.m. EAT. We’ll be on standby to answer any of your questions, so if you have any, please leave them in a comment below.
Mar 27th, 2012 10:53 AM UTC
By Wangui Muchiri
When ONE and ANSAF delivered a petition earlier this month on behalf of more 16,000 African citizens to Tanzania’s State House, our message was received with the urgency it deserved.
President Jakaya Kikwete had invited several African Ambassadors and the donor community to witness this event and it was clear to us from the word go that the president was indeed taking the issue of food insecurity in Africa very seriously. An event that was supposed to take about an hour, ended up with us being at Ikulu for more than three hours with President Kikwete having time for each and everyone present. He took time to mingle and speak not only with the Ambassadors present but also the small holder farmers personally.
These informal meetings and conversation saw President Kikwete ask the farmers to return the very next day, so that he could hear first hand what they would like to see his government do to boost agriculture in the rural areas.
This humble gesture left us rest assured that the petition could not have been in better hands. As if to confirm this notion, President Jakaya Kikwete went ahead and did two things:
For us this was a clear demonstration of an African leader taking responsibility and showing leadership on an issue that has the potential of transforming the whole continent.
Mar 1st, 2012 1:35 PM UTC
By Wangui Muchiri
“Farming is the future. Famines should be consigned to history.”
A group of smallholder farmers and ordinary African citizens marched to the State House in Tanzania today, to deliver a petition signed by more than 16,000 African ONE members. This was the first time Tanzanian President Kikwete had received a continent wide petition, and the first time ONE had delivered a petition on African soil.
ONE members and partner organisations march to State House
President Jakaya Kikwete captured the soul of the event when he explained its importance, saying:
“It is important because it reminds us that Agriculture is the life-blood of our country, sustaining our people in towns and villages and meeting their basic needs.”
ONE’s Dr Sipho Moyo presents the petition to President Kikwete
Mrisho Mpoto (aka MJOMBA) a famous East African poet, agreed:
“Hunger is not acceptable. Hunger makes people suffer, affects child’s mental growth, diminishes the honour of the family and nation. World leaders have a role to play. Invest in agriculture, support the future generation and attain the MDGs”
The petition calls on African leaders to provide greater food security for ordinary Africans by investing more in support for smallholder farmers. ANSAF, (Agricultural Non State Actors Forum), who have been key partners in the Hungry No More campaign, were also present. Campaigners called on President Jakaya Kikwete to take the lead on investment in sustainable agriculture, setting the standard for other African Heads of State.
Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, Africa Director at ONE, said:
“If you want to reduce poverty, you need to go where poverty is. Reducing poverty will mean targeting investments towards smallholders in order to employ local labor, supply local markets and spend earnings in local markets which creates multiplier effects in rural economies, improves local food self-sufficiency and reduces rural inequality.
This is why President Jakaya Kikwete’s government commitment to continue focusing on building an enabling environment for smallholder farmers, is encouraging. Currently only 7 African countries have kept their promise to do 10% – this number must increase by the tenth anniversary in 2013, and we are delighted Tanzania is leading the way”.
The petition also challenges African leaders to demonstrate their resolve in tackling famine and other agriculture related problems on the continent by:
The petition is part of a campaign led by ONE in Africa, ANSAF and other African partners stressing on the importance of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than three-quarters of the poor live outside of urban centres and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
Audax Rukonge, ANSAF’s Executive director said:
“MKUKUTA and the Tanzania Five Year Development Plan commits the government to address food insecurity and poverty, among others. In the Tanzanian context, and probably most of African countries, poverty is a rural phenomenon, and agriculture is the main livelihood source. Tanzania can attain some of the Millennium Development as well as MKUKUTA Goals if we invest in agriculture and particularly smallholder farmers. Let us increase the share of agriculture that benefits smallholders and transform the sector for equitable economic growth”.
Studies show that in 2010 agriculture contributed at least 24% to Tanzania’s GDP, accounted for 60% of its labor and provided 34% of its exports. This was far more than the 17.3% contributed by the Manufacturing, 28.2% from minerals and 22.5% from the tourism industry. The strategic importance of agriculture to Tanzania’s fight against poverty is therefore not debatable.
The potential for agriculture in Tanzania and across the region is immense – the right investments now can help ensure that agriculture helps lead the economic transformation of the continent. Currently, Tanzania spends close to 7% of its budget on Agriculture. Nearly ten years ago African leaders made an historic promise to their people, – especially those amongst the poorest – it was to spend at least 10% of the budget on agriculture and farming. Few have kept this promise. Before the 10th anniversary its time they all did so as part of other improvements to beat hunger and boost wellbeing across Africa.
Following today’s event ONE and partners will take the campaign to forthcoming regional events including the AU Summit in Malawi in July.
A big thank you to all ONE members who signed the petition. With your help we really are making a difference!
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