Expressions of interest by India, Italy are of benefit for Tanzania

24Jul 2020
The Guardian
Expressions of interest by India, Italy are of benefit for Tanzania

​​​​​​​INDIAN and Italian envoys were on record only days ago as having expressed interest in cooperating with Tanzania in various aspects, mostly focusing on industry and agriculture – with agro-processing the most noticeable sub-sector targeted.

There was also significant reference to tourism, and in one case readers were reminded that Italy is the most important single source of tourists for Zanzibar and India is gradually becoming a major source of tourists.

As these events are happening at the same time, it can be taken for granted that it is the foreign envoys who initiated the consultations on the issues.

And there is a specific situation that may predictably call for a review of economic ties: it is none other than Tanzania’s recent elevation in global economic standing from the least developed countries group to lower middle income status – a situation that makes a number of economic projections feasible.

A lower middle income country is one that has appreciably built a certain foundation for enhanced economic activity in various sectors, that such capital layout and income generation taken together create a budding market.

It is in a sense a country where ‘gear number one’ is no longer applicable, as entering even lower middle income requires that some sort of take-off into industry has been initiated already. It is possible to distinguish between ‘starting’ the take-off and achieving it, but we are there.

In that case, it is evident that the re-classification of the national economy isn’t without its dividends as well as a stretch of new responsibilities in that the particular country becomes more attractive for investments as foreign countries get a better picture of the dynamics of the local market.

When a country attains lower middle income status, economic observers no longer have to figure out how it moves into industry but, rather, how it can improve what it is already going. It is known as a ‘widening and deepening’ of the market – or capital itself.

The responsibilities are also onerous in the sense that the country’s economic administrators have the obligation of forging business relationships with foreign countries and pushing to the bottom of their agenda traditional concerns with poverty.

As we have seen during the Dr John Magufuli presidency, this aspect is addressed more conscientiously by looking at how government expenditure is conducted and how well facilitated small traders and the broad agro-sector are.

A lower middle income status also implies also these groups, though still poor, have a wider market from which they can extract some earnings, so long as fairness prevails.

For two years or so now, the government has been pursuing a detailed programme of a blueprint for uplifting the business environment in the country.

This comes to a sort of reshaping the BRN (Big Results Now) strategy as touted at the time Dr Magufuli assumed office. This has been given an external impetus, as the private sector will now likely have a stronger voice at upper government levels and in communication with foreign diplomatic missions.

This is in part because poverty issues will no longer take that much of centre stage in discussions. They will however serve as a reminder of what there is to be done at the policy level, with external relations taking a clearer business note.

That is what the round of consultations implies – and our administrators would, or rather should, better get more fully prepared to represent us to satisfaction

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