Dr Mpango, who made the contribution in his keynote address at the 17th Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) Annual Research Workshop on Socio-Economic Transformation for Poverty Reduction in Dar es Salaam, said that the nation faces several challenges that need to be addressed.
Some of the challenges include change of the way Tanzanians work in poverty reduction by dropping the 'business as usual attitude.' In his view, the country needs to put aggressive industrialisation drive and making land readily available for large scale investment in agriculture and the government should vigorously support the process through good policies and maintaining political stability.
More key areas which need attention include a no-nonsense approach in combating corruption, laziness and maintain control spending. Others are strong transformational leadership, ruthless focus on prioritisation of programmes and increased productivity in various sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing to graduate to middle income status.
The comments are timely because Tanzania like any other developing country needs to set up priorities to be able to progress. However, at times, there is need to sacrifice even the social norms to make things happen. For instance, Rwanda still reeling from the 1994 genocide memories, has embarked on a universal information and communication technology (ICT) programme in schools that seeks to enable youth cope with the changing world.
The Rwandans have made big strides in this programme which looked like a non-starter but defied all odds to become one of a few living examples in Africa today. There are areas which promise a quick return on investment if good plans and strict implementation go hand in hand.
The Dar es Salaam Port, for instance, could become the sole gateway for imports and exports for countries at the East, Central and Southern Africa region if the facilities are improved. Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, eastern part of DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi are some of the countries which are partially served by the Dar es Salaam port. This is one area which could turn the country into a destination of choice for the landlocked neighbouring countries if the policy makers and planners sit down and draw the way forward. It only needs a decision – and now.