If Kikwete is so concerned with agricultural investment and development, why is it that he and his government refuse to uphold the rule of law in the Silverdale Farm case in Tanzania and have allowed the theft and destruction of agricultural investment from British investors who provided sustainable development and jobs for 150 Tanzanians.
Let Kikwete live up to the rhetoric he trumpets around the world and let countries like the United States stop praising a country and a regime for a competence and commitment to development that is simply rhetorical and in search of aid. 40% of aid is lost in Tanzanian to corruption
Kikwete faces a choice in the Silverdale Farm case. To uphold the rule of law and protect bona fide investors in agriculture which he states he needs or, protect the criminal interests of Benjamin Mengi and the corrupt officials that follow him. So far, he has chosen the latter.
What is it that Tanzanian has, that makes the States compromise its vocal commitment to ethics and morality and support a regime that does not uphold the rule of law?
Tanzanian plows fertile ground in pitch for aid
Tanzania’s president is waging a war on hunger — and while he’s at it, he wants to modernize his East African nation’s agricultural sector to lift millions of his countrymen out of poverty.
But Jakaya Kikwete’s biggest constraint is a lack of resources.
“If somebody says, ‘What is your wish?’ I’d say, ‘If I got a billion dollars a month in terms of government revenue, I can turn Tanzania into heaven,’” Mr. Kikwete told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview.
He doesn’t have that luxury, so he has turned to the international community for help.
“The overriding message that we brought here is: Assist Africa. Transform its agriculture,” Mr. Kikwete said. “We underscored the fact that indeed there is cause for concern for food security and nutrition security in Africa.”
Africa accounts for about 236 million hungry people, more than one-fourth of the world’s total, according to U.N. statistics.
In Tanzania, malnutrition is the cause of high rates of infant and maternal mortality, and stunted, anemic children.
“There is a problem, and a serious one, that needs a solution,” Mr. Kikwete said.
“And the solution to problems of hunger and nutrition first and foremost is to ensure food security,” he said. “How do you ensure food security and nutrition security? You deal with the agriculture question.”
Between 70 percent and 80 percent of Tanzania’s population lives in rural areas. Agriculture is their mainstay.
Agricultural practices are untouched by modernity. Farmers still use handheld hoes to till the land, are overly dependent on rain to irrigate crops, sow low-yield seeds, and don’t use adequate amounts of fertilizer and pesticides.
“Unfortunately, our agriculture in Africa is characterized by backwardness,” Mr. Kikwete said. “We are not producing enough to meet our own food requirements … and our people are not producing enough to overcome poverty.”
In Tanzania, the challenge is “little application of modern science and technology in agriculture,” he added.
Increasing productivity of Africa’s farms not only would reduce the levels of hunger and malnutrition, it also would increase incomes.
Tanzania is 95 percent food self-sufficient, but it is located in a difficult place.
“Our biggest problem in the country is the neighborhood,” Mr. Kikwete said.
To its north, Kenya has endured three to four years of drought that has forced it to look to Tanzania for food. Parts of Somalia are in the grip of a famine, while South Sudan faces significant food shortages.
The high demand has strained Tanzania’s food supply and pushed domestic prices sky high.
Mr. Kikwete sees in this challenge an opportunity. He has instructed the Ministry of Agriculture to increase production of food, particularly corn and rice, to have enough to feed Tanzanians, as well as export.
His government set up the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania in a part of the country that gets the most rain and has ideal soil and climate conditions. If all goes according to plan, the corridor will create 420,000 jobs and produce an annual income of $1.2 billion.
“If we can succeed, we will lift millions and millions of people out of poverty very quickly,” Mr. Kikwete said.
Agriculture is not high on the list of priorities for most international donors. Two decades ago, they gave $18 billion to Africa for the agriculture sector. That dropped to $3 billion three years ago, and has crept up to about $6 billion today.
Tanzania has turned to the private sector to supplement the international community’s contributions.
The G-8 announced over the weekend a “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition” to accelerate the flow of private capital to African agriculture.
President Obama separately announced that 45 private-sector companies had committed to invest more than $3 billion in agricultural projects and programs that will help millions of small-scale farmers in Africa.
Mr. Kikwete is eager to get a U.S. commitment for a second phase.
Under the first phase, roads were built, villages were electrified and water was supplied to two major cities, Morogoro and the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam.
In the second phase, Mr. Kikwete wants to keep the focus on rural electrification and water supply.
“We have expressed the wish, and they have expressed readiness to talk, so let’s see what comes out of the discussions,” he said.
“We are seeing the American side be responsive,” he added.
Despite such praise, Mr. Kikwete knows that the state of the global economy will determine how much money international donors will be willing to offer.
“We accept the reality that we will not get much, and already aid has declined, but we think we may not lose everything,” he said. “We don’t see signs on the part of the U.S. government to abandon the poor.”
Mr. Obama has said the U.S. will keep its commitments to end world hunger.
Tanzania has reason to be optimistic about its future: Large reserves of oil and natural gas were discovered recently.
Mr. Kikwete is determined not to let this potential resource windfall become a liability, as it has done for many other African nations.
“We know in … a number of countries in Africa, these resources … have turned into a curse instead of being something useful,” he said.
“We will try as much as we can to learn from what has gone wrong with some of our friends, and let’s see if we can do better,” he said. “I am hopeful that we will.”