Kikwete for faster regional development

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has urged investors to use existing opportunities to inject funds into infrastructure development projects across the region.

Mr Kikwete’s call, which was echoed by other heads of state in East and Central African countries, was made on Thursday in Dar es Salaam during an investors’ roundtable.

In his impassioned call, President Kikwete noted that investors’ partnerships are needed to see the region leap forward. Responding to questions from the audience, he said the central region had leaped forward in terms of development and that there were many opportunities through which all countries should partner in attracting investors since they have similar economic circumstances. “It is true that we now need private sector support.

Let’s drop retrogressive thoughts because all these countries need that support...we run governments but sometimes our governments have been difficult to implement, but working with the private sector and investors is a chance to fast track development,” he said.

Mr Kikwete was responding to a question from a stakeholder, Mr Beno Nulla, who had advised governments to open investors’ banks and work more closely with the private sector.

He said while it was easier to collect billions of dollars from internal revenue sources and even borrowing from global financial institutions, it was also important for investors to invest in various projects to stimulate growth. President Kikwete noted those in the private sector were ready to put their money in sectors where they could get returns on investment, urging technocrats in respective countries to be more business-minded and drop the bureaucratic tendencies that they always have to scare away investors.

“If we work with a business mind, these infrastructure projects will be completed within a short time; that would be good for investors, they bring their money here with hope to get their returns on investments,” he stated.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunzinza said that without regional cooperation, bigger economic dreams would not be realised. He said the needs of 2000 and those of today are different, as things had changed, with population having grown further, making regional cooperation a catalyst for development instead of each country going it alone.

He said that for years, people had used roads ‘’but the needs of 20 years ago were not those of today.’’ “For example, for now, the most important infrastructure is railway transport, not lorries;this is the reason we saw it important to bring investors on board.

I see railway transport. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Infrastructure Minister Justine Mwanangongo, assured investors that the region had reliable conditions for them to put their money and challenged the people in those countries to drop the doubts they have in investors and also work more prolifically.

He said infrastructure projects would benefit both the public and private sector and support more strategies that would enable investors to put their money in a friendlier environment for the long term.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the President’s Delivery Bureau’s (PDB), which oversees implementation of the Big Results Now (BRN), Mr Omari Issa, appealed to the heads of state of countries implementing Central Corridor transport projects to adopt delivery systems that will ensure timely completion of identified projects in each country.

He reiterated that countries that would complete their portion of the projects in time would be frustrated if other countries lagged behind, considering that Central Corridor projects complement one another.

Speaking at the Central Corridor Development Acceleration Programme’s Presidential Roundtable event in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, he said that Tanzania has achieved beyond expectations with less budget in the first year of implementation because of BRN’s discipline which emphasises prioritisation, rigorous and continuous monitoring and problem solving frameworks.

“The discipline has been useful in addressing emerging challenges, hence enabled the country to make significant strides in each national priority area including transport projects,” he said. Specifically, Mr Issa remarked that the implementation of critical Central Corridor projects in Tanzania which are currently being tracked and monitored under BRN has yielded significant results.

“This includes port rehabilitation, reinvigoration of the central railway line, critical roads and energy projects along the Corridor,” he affirmed. Following Mr Issa’s remarks, government leaders from Central Corridor countries indicated their interest to adopt Tanzania’s BRN Delivery Methodology in the transport sector in order to fast-track implementation on all fronts. The Central Corridor Acceleration Project, launched in January 2014, aims to see railways, roads, marine and air routes link the landlocked countries of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and DRC with Dar es Salaam.

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