Under Vision 2025, Tanzania is indeed geared to attain middle-income status through its industrialisation agenda. Penresa had the chance to speak to His Excellency John Pombe Joseph Magufuli to discuss the nation’s ongoing ambitious megaprojects in infrastructure development and power that will ensure socio-economic prosperity.
- You are known as the “Bulldozer” for steering the program to build good roads in Tanzania. What steps have been taken in the past few months as well as looking forward to strengthen transport infrastructure in the country?
Improving the nation’s roads, ports, railways and airport infrastructure is critical for the country to improve its internal and external trade and commercial activities. The country’s transport system has demonstrated a steady growth from 4.4% in 2012 to 16.6% in 2017 with 6.0% contribution to National GDP in 2017. We also continue to support import and export for neighbouring countries.
Due to the increasing demand for long distance heavy freight haulage in the region, Tanzania has embarked on construction of Africa’s current biggest rail projects, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) along the Central Corridor starting from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro (300km) and from Morogoro – Makutopora (422km).
Apart from construction of the SGR, the Government is also rehabilitating the existing metre gauge railway running from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma and Mwanza. Improvements of the two parallel railway systems will ease the off-take of cargo at the port of Dar es Salaam.
The modernisation of the DSM port, construction of the SGR and rehabilitation of existing metre gauge rail will complete the logistic chain from the port of DSM as the major port of export to the neighbouring land-linked states. The Port of Dar es Salaam after modernisation is planned to handle up to 28 million tonnes, which is double the current capacity.
The construction of terminal three at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) was completed in May 2019, increasing planned capacity to 6.5 million passengers annually, more than twice the existing capacity. In an attempt to revive the airline market in Tanzania, the Government has purchased eight new aircraft for the revamped Air Tanzania, all through our own funds.
As road transport is the most widely used mode of transport in Tanzania, carrying over 90% of the passengers and 75% of the freight traffic in the country, the sector’s further development goes hand-in-glove with improvements in the energy sector as Tanzania strives to become a middle-income country.
“The road transport sector’s further development goes hand-in-glove with improvements in the energy sector as Tanzania strives to become a middle-income country.”
- With millions of young Tanzanians entering the workforce within the next 15 years, the future is bright and brimming with talent. How does your administration plan to develop its future human capital through education?
Our efforts, plans and initiatives to develop our human capital is guided by, among others, the Development Vision of 2025 (DV 2025) and Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the ruling party, Election Manifesto 2015.
The Tanzanian’s Education Vision states “a well-educated, knowledgeable and skilled Tanzanian is able to competently and competitively cope with political, social, cultural, economic and technological development challenges at national and international levels”.
Thus, developing our human capital is amongst the priorities in our government. We believe a good education foundation for our kids is an asset for future higher education. From 2015, we introduced and started to provide free basic primary and secondary education. Each month, the government spends more than 23 billion Tanzanian shilling for that endeavour. As a result of this, student’s enrolment in primary schools increased to 35.2% while form one enrollment for secondary level has increased by 20.1%. We are increasingly focused on increasing enrollment of students in the universities to study in prioritised fields and continue to strengthen the vocational training institutions.
- Tanzania has moved away from importing fossil fuels to focus on using its own domestic natural gas reserves, allowing it to save $4 billion between 2015 and 2017, and therefore massively accelerate domestic economic output and capabilities. What are some of your current megaprojects that fit under your push for sustainable energy independence?
Since coming into power, my government has prioritised the energy sector as one of the key components for the implementation of Vision 2025 and our economic development. Accessibility, affordability and reliability of energy in our day to day life is crucial in my government’s agenda.
As such, we have invested in a number of megaprojects, which we believe will push and guarantee us on the sustainability of energy in the country. Some of the ongoing and upcoming megaprojects that fit for sustainable energy independence include: Kinyerezi II (240 MW) Natural Gas combined cycle Plant, the 2115MW Rufiji Hydro power plant, the 400kv transmission line (Backbone Transmission Investment Project – BTIP); construction of 220kv transmission line from Mkambako to Songea; and 6,349 rural electrification projects. With these projects we are sure of availability and sustainable energy that will drive our economic and social development.
“I am pioneering the undertaking of major reforms to create more favourable investment environment to ensure that private sector drives our future growth.”
- Having been in power since 2015, what are some of your biggest achievements and what is your objective to continue growing the country for 2019?
Besides what has already been mentioned, we have achieved a lot since coming into power. I am proud to say we have registered achievements in the area of provision of social services, health, education, water and electricity. We reduced government bureaucracy and strengthened ethics within the government. We have fought corruption in all levels, we have expanded infrastructure and improved business environment, just to mention a few.
The economy has been growing rapidly at the average rate of 7% over the past decade. Moreover, we remain dedicated to continue to contain the inflation rate to a single digit. In order to continue this trajectory, we strive to improve the business environment, for investors in those sectors which contribute most to the economy while promoting the development of SMEs and labour intensive technologies.
- For the readers of Forbes Africa and the discerning investor, why is now the best time to invest in Tanzania?
For the discerning investors, I would like to assure them once again that, Tanzania has always been a good investment destination in Africa. Today I can proudly and confidently say, Tanzania is the best investment destination in Africa because of political and economic stability, availability of natural resources, access to the market, investment incentives plus a well-established Commercial Division of the High Court and Arbitration framework.
As a country, our vision is clear. My administration is determined to make sure that Tanzania achieves its development aspiration of being a middle income country by 2025 as stated in the National Development Vision. I insist to my government officials and the people that our Vision can be achieved with close collaboration of the public and private sector. As you have seen, I am pioneering the undertaking of major reforms to create more favourable investment environment to ensure that private sector drives our future growth. TUNATEKELEZA!