Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, January 26, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (SWITZERLAND – Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
President Jakaya Kikwete has made a case for massive investments in Africa, saying the continent has made big strides in different sectors.
He told a preparatory discussion panel at the World Economic Forum (WEF) here on Thursday that there was clear evidence Africa was growing at a notable pace.
“There is need for change of mindset on Africa as the continent has proved that there is every possibility for quick returns on investments”, he told the audience at the session chaired by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The panel also comprised Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, South African President Jacob Zuma and Guinean President Alpha Conde. President Kikwete cited the case of Tanzania which, he said, had three tarmac roads during independence in 1961 against the actual needs of over 85,000 kilometres of road.
“We have gone through tough times and managed to improve the infrastructure. We are confident that we have done a lot. What we need now is big investment to support these efforts”, he said. He said investments in energy, roads and telecommunications were key to take the economy to the next level.
“The opportunities are there. If you think you can invest in these key sectors and you are facing difficulties, come and see me”, he said. Asked by Mr Brown how Tanzania was working towards improving education through access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), President Kikwete said a lot of work has been done but a lot more needs to be done.
“Before we address investing on ICT, we need to develop the road infrastructure so that people can move smoothly. This is the reason why I have always been saying that we need investments in road network”, President Kikwete explained. He added that the government needed to train more teachers and build more universities to cope with the high demand for new enrolments.
President Kikwete said the government was currently working on a project to link Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi with a railway system that would cost 4 billion US dollars (about 6.5trn/-). “For this to happen as planned, we need investors on this project that will also connect the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)”, he said.
Apart from the WEF session, President Kikwete held bilateral meetings with Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga, President of the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) Ms Sadako Ogata, among others. The five-day conference was opened on Wednesday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who asked Europe to do more to fix their internal financial crises and avoid economic meltdowns.
By GABRIEL NDERUMAKI, Tanzania Daily News