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Home arrow News and Events arrow President's Speeches arrow At the Meeting with SIDA - 19th Feb 2007
At the Meeting with SIDA - 19th Feb 2007 Print E-mail
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY JAKAYA MRISHO KIKWETE, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, ON ACHIEVING THE MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN TANZANIA DELIVERED DURING THE MEETING WITH SIDA

 ON 19 FEBRUARY, 2007

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen:


           I thank you, Madam Maria Norrfalk, for a very warm welcome here at SIDA.  I also thank you for organizing this important event.  I appreciate the opportunity to salute the leadership of SIDA in the development arena.

          I am on a visit to Sweden as a new President of my beloved country to introduce myself. We are here to pay tribute to Sweden’s enduring contribution to the development process of Tanzania. You have supported us through thick and thin and throughout the different eras of our social, economic and political life as a country.  We thank the people and government of Sweden for this generosity.

          Through your support, today, we dare to dream of a prosperous Tanzania. Indeed, through decades of development cooperation between our countries, I stand here today with the audacity to share progress on what we have set out to accomplish.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen;

          I have been asked to speak about Tanzania’s progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals, the goals that Tanzania joined hands with the rest of international community in 2000 to commit to their realisation.

Allow me to undertake a brief detour as I attempt to put into historical context where we are in our development process and where we expect the realisation of MDGs to take us.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The development question has been part and parcel of our nation’s political consciousness even prior to our independence in 1961. In fact, our nationalist movement justified the struggle for independence with the ontological need to acquire the ability and freedom to pursue and advance our own development.

Upon independence, we set our development goals, we designed plans, put in place strategies, and looked for resources to pursue our development.  We were keen, and indeed delighted, to be masters of our own fate.

But, we realised then and still think so now that, in our development endeavours, we were just as happy when the idea of international partnership is both desire and necessary.  We did not succumb to the cynicism of seeing this partnership as a manifestation of a new colonial order.    Instead, we have always been at the forefront in forging diplomatic relations with nations, joining international organizations as well as signing and ratifying international treaties, conventions and declarations on social-economic development.  We have pursued a very proactive foreign policy making friends with all nations irrespective of size or ideology and becoming active members of regional and international organizations and institutions.  We are happy and satisfied with the outcomes.  It has worked so well for Tanzania.

 Tanzania is what it is today, thanks to the wonderful cooperation we have received through the international partnership.  We have received a lot of support both moral and material from our international development partners which combined with our own efforts has enabled make significant gains in the fight against poverty.  The Tanzania of today is not the same as what it was at independence, 45 years ago, or what it was one decade ago.  More children receive education and many people have access to health care and safe water supply.  There are more roads connecting the country and many rural areas have been opened up.  There are more people getting electricity and more districts connected to the national grid.

As you all know very well over the last two decades, we embarked on fundamental political and economic reforms.  This changed both the political and economic paradigms.  A multiparty democracy replaced the single party democracy since 1992 and a market based economy replaced the state economy.  All has been well for the country.  Pluralist democracy is becoming more entrenched.  We have had three elections todate and things have worked out well.  Even in Zanzibar, things have improved considerably compared to the two elections before.

On the economic front, Tanzania has been registering progress.  The economy has been performing much better than it was in the past.  GDP growth rates have increased from the negative territories in the mid 1980s to positive gains.  The average growth for over a decade now has been around 5 percent.  In fact in 2005 growth was 6.9 but fill to 5.8 per cent in 2005 due to unprecedented drought which affected agriculture and power supply.  Inflation has remained at single digit and, at 5 per cent in 2005 but rise to 6.7 per cent in November 2006 again due to the effects of drought on food prices together with the high oil prices.  GDP per capita has increased from US$ 180 in the 1980s to US$ 370 todate.

Despite, the remarkable achievements, Tanzania remains one of the poorest nations on earth as GDP per capita level indicate or other human development indicators show.  It was therefore no accident that, in 2004, on reviewing our previous poverty reduction efforts, we decided that a new strategy that will be a local vehicle for attainment of MDGs was needed.

Through broad consultative process, we formulated the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP), commonly known by its Kiswahili acronym, MKUKUTA.  The participation of stakeholders was a very important principle for developing the new strategy.  This has enhanced the national ownership of our development agenda and broaden space for policy dialogue on matters related to their own life.  The process has also build capacity of ordinary people into policy matters.

Of critical importance is that, in MKUKUTA, we succeeded in finding a convenient and effective national modality for operationalising our international commitments, specifically the MDGs.

In essence, MKUKUTA is our national strategy for achieving Millennium Development Goals.  It has thus far helped us identify quick wins in each sector to fast track the achievements of the MDGs.   The new strategy differs markedly with its predecessors in that it is much broader and deeper in addressing poverty problem, it is outcome-based and has recognised the role of economic growth and good governance and accountability in poverty reduction.

          The main goals of the Strategy broadly encompass the MDG targets.  They are as follows:

          (i)      Improved Growth and Reduction of Income Poverty;

         (ii)      Improved Quality of Life and Social Well Being; and

        (iii)      Good Governance and Accountability.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

          As a new government that found MKUKUTA in place, we have prioritised our agenda in line with its aspirations and the MDG targets.

          We came into the government with the view that poverty can be easily tackled with massive investments and modernisation of the sectors that employ majority of Tanzania, that is agriculture, livestock keeping and fishing. With that recognition, we have formulated the Agriculture Sector Development Program (ASDP) which, through increasing agricultural production and productivity, seeks to bring about the green revolution in Tanzania and transform the lives of our poor, particularly in rural areas. It is a very expensive program, costing about $2.5 billion in seven years, but we think it is necessary. We welcome Swedish support in this regard.

          We also believe that income poverty can be fought by increasing opportunities in employment and self-employment beyond agriculture. At the moment, not only are we encouraging investments in all sectors to create employment for our people, but we are also nurturing and facilitating a micro-lending movement in the country which is now causing a boom of small and medium sized entrepreneurs of all sorts.

          Poverty also resides in the inaccessibility of basic social and economic services. In this regard, we are investing heavily in accessibility of quality and adequate water and sanitation facilities. We have an ambitious $951 million dollar Water Sector Development Program which will see accessibility improve from the current 54 percent in rural areas to 65 percent and from 65 percent to 90 percent in urban areas by 2010.

          An ailing population cannot be productive and can indeed be costly to the economy. Therefore, we give high priority to fighting diseases such as malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS.  Maternal mortality rates are a matter of great concern to us.  We are also keen on the improvement of health conditions for our people by ensuring wider accessibility of health services particularly in rural areas, the availability of medical personnel and the development of capacity, particularly diagnostic, for the current medical facilities.

          Another aspect of human capacity is education, something we take very seriously. We have attained remarkable success in primary education.  Success in primary education which has led to a crisis of demand for places in secondary schools. We are currently engaged in a major expansion of secondary education. We are also expanding on tertiary education.  We are building a new university. And we believe that expansion of tertiary and technical education will tremendously enhance the capacity of many of our young people to immediately participate in productive activities.

          Economic services are also our major priority area. We are keen on networking our country with major roads and railways to opening it up for commerce and unleash its economic potential.

Power is an important component in the success of any economy, including ours. Over the past year, we have learned the hard way not to be too dependent on hydroelectric power which puts us at the mercy of Mother Nature. We are steadfastly increasing generation from other sources, particularly coal and gas. Sweden has been our long term partner in the sector and we welcome Swedish assistance and investments into the sector as there are plenty of unexplored potential and opportunities, with the regional market to tap.

We believe the combination of these interventions will give us a boost in our efforts to attain the MDGs.

 

Achieving the MDGs in Tanzania

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You will be delighted to learn that Tanzania was the first country to produce the first MDG Report in 2001.    The report indicated that we still had a long way to go.  We produced our second MDG report in 2005.  Each of these reports indicated not only improvement but also policy options for scaling up interventions.

The 2005 Report told an encouraging story on many indicators. For instance, in primary education enrolment, at 96 percent at the moment, we are ahead of schedule for achieving the target. Likewise with the gender parity target in education and political representation. There also are areas of mixed results. For instance, in Health Targets, HIV/AIDS and Malaria are holding back our efforts to achieve goals. While we are not doing so well on maternal mortality rate, now standing at 578 deaths per 100,000, we are doing well in infant mortality rate, moving from 95 per 1,000 births in 2000 to 68 births per 1,000 in 2005. The MDG target is 40 per 1000 live birth by 2015 is on sight.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

          With the adoption and implementation of MKUKUTA, we have transformed policymaking in Tanzania in a number of ways. Consensus has now emerged that poverty reduction is a major policy preoccupation across different stakeholders, from donors to the government to NGOs. Also, the budgetary process has been restructured to ensure that sectoral priorities contribute to overall poverty reduction objectives.  And, aid is increasingly harmonized to meet MDG targets.

It is our hope that, with MKUKUTA, we can speed up achievements of the Millennium Development Goals in Tanzania.  In its second year of implementation, we are already seeing achievement in many of the MDGs.  These achievements, as noted earlier, are in education and gender parity.  We are also taking drastic measures to address problems in health related MDGs.  These include availing of ARVs, for people infected with HIV/AIDS, educational and awareness campaigns and home care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

 

Challenges

          These efforts withstanding, achievement of MDGs outcomes are not without challenges.  The approach we took in the design of our MDG vehicle calls for multi-actor contributions for achieving a particular outcome.  MKUKUTA is an ambitious programme whose implementation involves the donors, Government, private sector and Civil Society Organizations.  It therefore goes beyond a traditional plan which involves mainly government.

The three clusters of MKUKUTA – growth, social well-being and governance – involve all local development partners on one hand, and the external development partners on the other.  A number of challenges thus arise as a result of many actors contributing to achieve same outcome.  Coordination of actors becomes a real challenge.  In Tanzania we have managed to establish various forums to enable wide range of actors to participate.  These include the Private Sector, the Civil Society Organizations and Development Partners.

          At the moment, with support from UN Millennium Project, we are undertaking a needs assessment and costing for achieving MDGs outcomes in few selected sectors.  The exercise, whose objective includes establishing the price tag, for achieving MDGs/MKUKUTA targets, has revealed that the resource gap is substantial. Previous costing exercise in Tanzania has suggested that, unless massive external flow is realized, achieving MDGs for Tanzania will be an insurmountable challenge.

          Therefore, I find it quite fitting to speak here at SIDA on donor commitment in attaining the MDGs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

          The Millennium Summit, and indeed other development financing meetings and conferences, have resulted into firm commitments from developed countries to finance development, and specifically the realisation of MDG targets. But, to date, these promised resources have been wanting. At the moment, in my view, pressure should be on the fulfilment of the pledges already made. 

          We congratulate Sweden for keeping the promise of attaining and maintaining the level of one percent of GNI for ODA.  We congratulate Sweden also, for being steadfast in fulfilling its other international commitments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

          Perhaps, in recalling our experience in Tanzania, I should briefly point out how a choice and consensus on development funding mechanism can influence progress in attaining the MDGs.

          We in Tanzania have agreed with our development partners that budget support should be the default funding mechanism for assistance development. Sweden is a very enthusiastic supporter of this approach. Indeed, Sweden’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy for Tanzania for 2006-2010, points out that, I quote, “at the core of this new aid architecture are the MDGs, which serve as the supreme common benchmark for poverty reduction”. This is the position we subscribe to.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

          We in Tanzania also believe that the international conditions are critical in whether or not we attain our development objectives. The existing international financial and trading architecture is not hospitable enough to poor countries and fundamental changes are long overdue.

If, for instance, developing countries continue to spend $300 billion per year to subsidise their farmers, poor farmers in our countries cannot compete in the marketplace, and progress in achieving MDGs will be a daunting prospect.

          If global politics continues to heat up and oil prices shoot the sky, we in the developing countries suffer the most and so will our aspiration to attain the MDGs.

          If the value addition chains for primary products are continually skewed against producers who toil the most, the green revolution I talked about will have little or no positive impact to the wellbeing of our farmers.

          This is where international partnership comes in. We in the poor countries cannot change this architecture alone and cannot attain the MDGs without concrete support from friends like Sweden.  The Millennium Development Goals are the creation of all of us. We adopted them amid high hopes that they constitute as a blueprint to build a better world for the 21st Century.  Let us all act, and treat them, as such.

 

I thank you for your kind attention.

 
Last Updated ( Monday, 10 November 2008 )
 
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