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Lessons from China on fight against debilitating poverty
2013-08-24 20:17

  China's Ambassador to Tanzania,Dr Lu Youqing in discussion with IPP Executive Chairman Reginald Mengi in Dar es Salaam recently.
   In the recent past,China's Ambassador to Tanzania,Dr LuYouqing was accorded warm welcome by the IPP Executive Chairman ,Dr Reginald Mengi for talks that centred on strategies to help fight poverty in Tanzania.
   The jovial discussion between the two people also underscored the need for investing in human resources augmented by good policies and close monitoring of implementation .Talking alone will bring no changes.
   China-Tanzania friendship dates back to early days of independence and the comradeship between the two countries resulted to the establishment of huge economic projects,which include the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority(TAZARA).
   However ,discussion for the day focused on the best ways to fight poverty through strengthened trade cooperation.
   The ambassador gave an example of concerted responsibility by cabinet ministers in support of a common national development agenda on poverty eradication,whereby senior government officials are deployed to villages to work closely with villagers to eradicate poverty.
   "Villagers work closely with officials dispatched to the community from three or four months.They learn about the needs of the society and workout a permanent solution to raise villager's income.The central government had allocated US Dollar 6 billion for poverty alleviation this year,"says Dr Youqing.
   Challenges associated with poverty are many and Tanzania just like China where,according to the envoy,there are 128million poor people , is striving to improve people's lives.
   Thanks to the adoption of "Big Result Now"initiative introduced by President Jakaya Kikwete which aims at serious delivery of services and take responsibility among all entrusted civil servants.
   The population of China stands at 1.3 billion and the goverment was determined to reduce povetry by 50 percent in the next five years.
   In December 2011 China ofcially unveiled its poverty-reduction plan for the next decade in which it pledged to provide adequate food and clothing for poverty-stricken people while ensuring their access to compulsory education,basic medical services and housing by 2020.
   The blueprint is the third state-level poverty-reduction plan and is part of the goverment's efforts to build a well-off society in an all-around way by 2020.Big business companies are tasked to make significant contribution in the fight against poverty.
   An economist,Dr Joshua Salema says he supports DrMengi for his wish to see that all Tanzanians whose country is heavily endowed with resources live in dignity.
   "The difficulty in eliminating poverty lies not only in reducing the poverty-stricken population ,but also in boosting people's capabilities for self-initiated development,"he says.
   Adding,"Poverty reduction goes beyond providing adequate food and clothing.It also means letting people have access to necessities in life.Mechanization of irrigation agriculture can speed up the 'journey'to prosperity,"Salema advises.
   Mr Mengi underscored the need for the two countries to form joint ventrues through technology transfer for the establishment of industries.
He says the initiative will not only add value to agricultural produce,but also lead to win-win situation in socioeconomic development.
   "Export of raw materials with not bring development to the nation.Processing of raw materials will create job opportunities and initiate technology transfer to fight poverty,"he says.
   He was disturbed by corrupt members,of the business community who deliberately flood the local market with sub-standard products from China.
   "These are heartless dealers driven by self gains at the expense of the national economy.Fake products also put at risk people's lives .These go to China,press cheap orders from backyard factories which do not comply with the established standards.This is totally unacceptale,"he notes.
   The ambassador confirmed clandestine operations of unregistered factories in China which supply sub-standard products to corrupt business persons from Tanzania.
   He pledged redress of the situation in collaboration with the goverment of China to stop the unprofessional conduct.
   From the discussion ,the biggest lessons gained from China therefore,include commitment by the gonverment and the general public in the fight of poverty through collective efforts.
   Also allocation of resources should give priority to poor communities to make sure that quality social services like water ,education ,infrastructure,food sufficiency and other services are rendered to them to bridge the yawning gap between the'haves'and the'haves not'.
   Again,entrusted government officials should not remain in offices waiting for reports from junior officers,but instead go out to reach communities to learn about their demands and work out solution to the challenges facing the people.
   Investment in land is so extensive in China such that every crop (cash or food)that can grow on the land is planted.Even cultivation of bamboo wood,an endeavour which could easily be despised in Tanzania,brings billions of dollars to China.
   Tanzania is blessed with extensive arable land.The surface area accounts for 94.3 million ha.of which 22 million ha equivalent to 23 per cent is allocated to reserves(largest share of land resources allocated by any country in Sub-Saharan Africa).
   Much of this includes National Parks (4.2million ha.),Game Reserves(7.7 million ha.)and Forest Reserves(10.1 million ha.).
   The gross area
   cultivated/planted annually is about 5.1million ha.,which is only about 5per cent of surface area of Tanzania.The other arable land,but not cultivated,is 10 million ha.much of it is used as pasture.
   Research findings by the economic and Social Researchi Foundations(ESRF)established that much of the country's agricultural potential is not utilised.
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