Friday, May 8, 2009

The Economist Took the Gloves off and Went One-One With Tanzania

Yesterday while I was browse on different website tried to find anything new apart of global recession, I found article titled “Waiting for that great leap forward” on the website of The Economist. As I was reading the article I asked my self many questions concern foreign aid. The author start by throwing a punch on Tanzania and foreign aid, “THE country already gets 40% of its government budget in aid, but now it wants even more foreign cash to help it through the economic downturn”
To my humble opinion i found some of the arguments are straight bias, however i strong believe we will not find our way out through foreign aid.
Anyway read the rest below.

Waiting for that great leap forward
May 7th 2009 DAR ES SALAAMFrom The Economist print edition
Worries about one of east Africa’s steadier economies

THE country already gets 40% of its government budget in aid, but now it wants even more foreign cash to help it through the economic downturn. How much is enough? Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, smiles grimly. “We’re trying to bring down our dependency, but we’re grateful for what we receive.”

With 44m people, Tanzania has often been given the benefit of the doubt simply for being the gentler twin of harsher Kenya, which has 40m. What it lacks in dynamism it makes up for in placidity and a common national identity. It is unlikely to fall apart at elections or any other time.

Its founding party of independence, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, the Party of the Revolution), formerly the Tanzanian African National Union, known as TANU, still suffocates the country’s ragtag opposition parties with its size and ponderous propaganda. Mr Kikwete is a CCM man; his breakthrough job was as the youthful head of political indoctrination for Tanzania’s armed forces. He will almost certainly be returned to office with a big majority in elections next year. He still charms would-be investors with his sales patter.

Yet those who set up shop in the country are often disappointed. Tanzania, many complain, is a “slow” or even “terrible” place to do business—and “ungrateful” for foreign aid or investment. Even its boosters admit it is wrapped in red tape and lacks skilled workers. Almost everyone says Mr Kikwete is spending too much time burnishing Tanzania’s image abroad and not enough fixing problems at home. Last year he chaired the African Union.

In any event, he hopes that aid will keep Tanzania afloat long enough for its economy eventually to make a great leap forward. Shiny new buildings even in provincial towns, along with new roads and water projects, signal optimism. Politics are stable. A rowdy separatist movement in the island of Zanzibar is quiet for now.

By Tanzanian standards there is a new sense of urgency. The energy ministry says it wants tenders “immediately” for a power station to cover a paralysing shortfall in electricity. Mr Kikwete turns up unannounced at state-owned outfits such as the port and the railways to demand efficiency and rail against corruption. He has also lambasted the country’s “Wabenzi” (those who drive a Mercedes-Benz).

But Mr Kikwete turns mournful when he spells out the effects of the global recession: missed government revenue targets; a cancelled sovereign-bond issue; projects for a nickel plant and a vast aluminium smelter put on hold; revenue from coffee down; cotton hit even harder; tourism suffering as well. An exception is gold, with new finds still to be exploited and the price holding up fairly well.

Tanzania may already, in some respects, be falling behind. A recent Chinese state visit failed to bring much investment. The government in Beijing thinks Kenya, not Tanzania, is the gateway to the mineral wealth of Congo. Tanzania’s two main railways are rickety. The port of Dar es Salaam failed to pinch business from Kenya’s port, Mombasa, when Kenya was in turmoil a year ago. No one seems to know how Tanzania’s main port will hit its target of a tenfold increase in goods traffic by 2030. Tanzania is not even spending all the aid it is given. Last year, $2.4 billion of pledged funds were not disbursed.

Tanzania must also decide whether to integrate more closely into the East African Community (EAC), which includes neighbouring Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. It has dragged its feet over opening its borders and moving towards a common currency, though it recently insisted that a common market would get going next year. It suspects Kenya of using the EAC as a way of grabbing arable Tanzanian land on the cheap. And the country’s tiny middle class fears being swamped in a common market by better-qualified Kenyans and Ugandans. Moreover, the world crisis may bolster old socialists in the CCM who want a return to ujamaa, a failed model of rural collectivisation propounded by Tanzania’s founding president, Julius Nyerere. That would set it back even further



As someone who subscribes to Time, Newsweek,FT, The Economist and Atlantic monthly and reads them all; I have a few words. The Economist is dense. Dense with words. Dense with ideas. Time and Newsweek are not dense with words and the ideas are more about popular culture....I wouldnt want to sound like a typical product of English public school lakini lazima niseme ukweli, The Atlantic does at times seem to me to be an over-mighty reunion of Harvard liberal arts alumni trying to impress on you how intelligent they are - the editorial rejoinders by authors only proving that they are above "correction" by the masses.

In a nutshell i would describe myself as an occasional (and recovering) reader of the Atlantic Monthly, a regular reader of the Economist, a some-time reader of Newsweek, and an even rarer reader of Time. The Economist does have its faults: the haughty editorial tone, an unhealthy obsession with particular subjects, eg the weekly economic minutiae of Mugabe' Zimababwe, the cynical attitude, the rehash of others' reporting, the faulty arguments leading to badly chosen positions in the arguments of the day. However, if you don't like this, you can mostly avoid it by skipping the editorials (much like with the WSJ). And it DOES report on the goings-on in the world. As in: the events that actually matter, rather than blather on celebrities or movies or letting famous CEOs do product placements or puff interviews. Time and Newsweek are, quite simply, rags in comparison. They have as much misguided attitude (or more!) than the Economist. They are just American, rather than Brit, and MUCH thinner on the information just like IPPMEDIA's copy and paste rags and MWANAHALISI's supermarket journalism!

Now straight to the JK & TANZANIA article...Economist are on point!
Although I was as glad as anyone to see the back of the MKAPA & Co, who richly deserved their humiliation, that game was over.It's not the job of otherwise unemployable layabouts like me to act as cheerleaders for CCM or opposition politicians. They're never short of sycophants.

But switching from Mkapa to Kikwete is like dumping the wife you hate and then shacking up with her uglier, fatter, even more miserable older sister.

The Economist has blamed us on how we missed the opportunity when KENYAN CIVIL WAR broke out,but lets not forget that no area of domestic policy, however disastrous, has been implemented without first passing across our finance minister with fake degree's desk. He was - and remains - a supporter of the DO NOTHING ATTITUDE. His only abiding characteristic is an unrivalled ability to go missing whenever blame is being apportioned.

We were asked to swallow the line that once MUSTAFA MKULLO takes over, the era of CCM spin will come to an end. Well, that's the spin. When it comes to spin, Salva can give Hussain Bolt a run for his money.Just study any one of MKULLO's Budget speeches. They are a confection of mendacity, evasion and obfuscation, which sometimes take several days to decipher...

All in all there isnt anything new in this article that we dont already know...except it smells like AHMED RAJAB is all over it like that FT article sometimes in in 05

salama said...

Unfortunately, conditions with foreign aid are so stringent, possibly that's why it's not enough yet. We're taking the blame and We definately need tough love but, donors shouldn't look the other way if aid programs don't turn out the way was supposed to be or work. They need to work with us instead of deciding for us and by doing so, may be our country's woes will dramatically abate.

GT, my friend.

Please leave the Newsweek alone, will ya? I'll differ with you on that one. Fareed Z. is exceptional

Enjoy your weekend!



Time, Newsweek, US World Report (is that the correct name?) amongst others though to bracket them in the same category as the Economist is just plain wrong. I certainly never paid for them Their poor reporting, stale news stories, dreadful editing and US-centered view of the world were an insult to the intelligence of the reader. Thier only advantage over the Economist was in the colour photography accompanying the article, though their picture captions were no where near as clever as the Economist's.

I beg you please just get used to reading the economist and Atlantic monthly...



I've never been a fan of FZ...due to his obsession with realism and more importantly i cant stand his inane and shallow rambling articles in the NW since most of them have no other purpose than to make sure that Fareed can keep on rambling for another cycle. His prose and thinking are at best on the sophomoric level of "aren't we wonderful? isn't the world a pretty place? don't I come across as a really mature thinker?"

This kind of establishment drivel used to be produced by court intellectuals and communist apparatchiks back in the day. It combines lying about reality with generalizations based on not much more than wishful thinking...but then again what did you expect from an offensive realist has a thing for power maximization?

Hans Morgenthau would be very disappointed with this clown and ohh that GPS thing on CNN isnt all that either...I'd rather watch THE WEST WING instead of that GPS crap

Iddy said...

Over the weekend I was reading the book titled “The White Man’s Burden” by Prof. Billy Easterly ( a must read book for anybody in aid recipient nation), I came across one of the chapter which started like this “ Foreign Aid Donors spent two billion dollars in Tanzania during the past twenty years building roads. The road network did not improve. Roads deteriorated faster than donors built new ones, due to lack of maintenance”.

The donors play a big role to increase our appetite toward aid; in 1960s the Western nations came with idea of Big Push of aids toward developing countries. It’s obvious that statistics shows that African were doing better before the idea of big push came into place, then in 1980s the picture changed Bono and his buddies joined the bandwagon by contributing few millions here and there.

For some reason I still believe that aid won’t be either a short term or long term strategy of pulling us off the poverty trap (Prof Sachs). In order for us to end this poverty trap we need a multilateral actions which doesn’t necessary means more money, I believe Tanzanian can do extraordinary if they get inspired and motivated. If everybody will do his/her part toward development, I strong believe at the end of the day we will escape the so called poverty trap. If police will do their job which is to enforce rule of law, If teachers will educate our kids without tuition, if high learning institutions will resume their role which is to prepare students to become critical thinkers, if farmers will work a little bit extra, and if government will reduce its size and enforce accountability then I strong believe we will succeed.

It’s doesn’t make sense if we will continue burning millions of dollars through corruption and think one day Tanzania will be a poverty free country. I am a stronger advocate of “ Kabla hujaomba mboga uonyesha yako iliyochacha”. So, before we continue asking for dollars here and there let us crack down corrupted people in our society. Corrupted people are not necessary few on top, but we need to start from bottom all the way to the top. Setting a strong rule of law which will be abided by every body who want to be in Tanzania should be on top of our list.

salama said...

Everybody's entitled to their opinion but, puhleez!, FZ is outstanding!
And his articles are never void, we'll totally disagree on him. Si kama nampamba but, you must learn a thing or two from him. And between GPS and the West Wing? do I need to say more? don't think so

I Totally agree brother, in order to build a thriving economy, together with other things, we need to work hard on imposing the already set rules of law and agressively enforce them.

Dilunga said...

ECONOMIST wametutandika fimbo wote, kwamba Watanzania ni watu slow, tusio na mwendo wa kwenda mbele, hatuna "dynamism." Hatuna ujuzi, tumezidiwa na Wakenya na Waganda, tunawaogopa. Tuko slow wanasema mpaka tumeshindwa hata kutumia hela tulizoomba, $ 2.4bil. Ukweli si kejeli, ashakum si matusi.

Kikwete sio dawa, sio ugonjwa. Miundombinu yetu ya reli na bandari imechoka mbaya, "rickety," wanasema. Reli, bandari, ndege, barabara, magari ya usafirishaji yalianza kuchoka toka enzi Nuhu anaibuka kutoka kwenye Gharika ya Kwanza ya Dunia. Kikwete kakikuta hiki kifafa cha miundombinu, na hana dawa.

Wananchi wa Tanzania, sio Kikwete, wote tumejaa uvivu, uchovu, ukilaza, uzembe wa mawazo na kazi. Jumatatu unaingia saa sita, jana ulilala msibani ukihani marehemu Mzee Dau, baba wa shangazi yake mke mdogo wa jirani yako. Jummanne inabidi uombe udhuru kumpeleka Pili hospitali. Jumatano unaenda kwenye mazishi, haupo kazini nusu siku. Alhamisi unaondoka mapema kuwahi lifti ya Mama Tarimo maana ukiikosa hii basi usafiri jioni udhia mtupu, isitoshe yabidi uwahi kwenye send off. Ijumaa unatakiwa harusini, ulitoa mchango. Wiki ijayo huna udhuru, utajitahidi kutulia kazini unasoma "Acha Umbea" na "Alasiri," ukichoka unachomoka kidogo kutafuta supu ya utumbo, ukirudi ni kusogoa na kunywa chai na maandazi. Nusu ya maisha yako ya kazi ni livu, na mshahara utapata wote. Sio wewe tu utapata mshahara mzima, na marehemu Mzee Dau nae atalipwa.

Sasa kama hapo tatizo ni Kikwete basi waandishi wa makala hiyo wametutusi wote maana wamesema Mrisho atachaguliwa tena, wameongea kwa ukomo wa uhakika, atachaguliwa tena, na itakuwa ni kwa kishindo cha mmomonyoko wa ardhi ya uchaguzi, landslide. Kwa nini, kwa sababu Chama cha Mapinduzi kimewachota watu akili, wanasema kimetukuka katika longolongo dufu, "ponderous propaganda."

Na wametuasa kusikiliza wenyenchi ndani ya chama kutaka kuwapeleka tena wananchi kwenye Ujamaa kwa kigezo cha mporomoko wa ubepari duniani. Wachambuzi wa The Econonimist wanasema genda ulole.

January Makamba said...

Mzee Dilunga,

Umepatia kabisa. Taifa letu sasa limekuwa taifa la watu wa kunung'unika. Kila mtu ananung'unika. Hakuna mtu ambaye anaona yuko responsible kwa jambo lolote like. Somehow kila baya kuhusu nchi yetu, culprit ni mtu mwingine. Yaani mtu hata nyumba yake ikivuja wakati wa mvua, basi suluhisho anaona haliko kwake...anaona kwamba kuna mtu au mamlaka somewhere ambayo inahusika moja kwa moja na ustawi wake.

This needs to change.

Wakati huo huo ni lazima tukubali kwamba mamlaka za umma bado zina fursa ya kufanya kazi nzuri zaidi kuliko ilivyo sasa.

Anonymous said...

The Economist of Sept. 28th, 2006 had a title "Bye Bye Poverty: Tanzania's Opportunity" from it we could read the following message:

'Development conomists use it as a measure. If Tanzania can haul itself out of poverty, others can too. But if it cannot, there will have to be another rethink about the way aid money is spent. [...]'

Well, I guess the Economist has realised that something won't work in all this aid business. But I wonder why now?

I guess not only Tanzania as a country failed, but the entire society of development economists of this new period. Including those who don't write anything else positively but blaming and blaming and blaming others...

Boniface Mhella

Anonymous said...

The Economist of Sept. 28th, 2006 had a title "Bye Bye Poverty: Tanzania's Opportunity" from it we could read the following message:

'Development conomists use it as a measure. If Tanzania can haul itself out of poverty, others can too. But if it cannot, there will have to be another rethink about the way aid money is spent. [...]'

Well, I guess the Economist has realised that something won't work in all this aid business. But I wonder why now?

I guess not only Tanzania as a country failed, but the entire society of development economists of this new period. Including those who don't write anything else positively but blaming and blaming and blaming others...

Boniface Mhella