GET SMART

Tanzania 2014 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Raymond P. Mbilinyi, Executive Secretary of the Tanzania National Business Council, on the International Dialogue and the influence technology will have on the economy.

Raymond P. Mbilinyi
BIOGRAPHY
Raymond P. Mbilinyi is the Executive Secretary of the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC). He is a Professional Engineer with a BSc in Engineering, a Certified Project Manager, and a Professional Marketer with an MBA in Marketing and over 18 years of professional experience in Africa. He has gained extensive experience in conducting a wide range of assignments in both public and private organizations, and for international organizations such as the World Bank, UNIDO, and BP. He also served as Vice-President of the World Investment Promotion Agencies Association (WAIPA) until December 2012. Currently, Raymond is a Board Member in the following three organizations: the Tanzania Industries Licensing Board (BRELA), Victoria Microfinance Co., and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF).

What will Tanzania bring to International Dialogue in terms of content and suggestions?

The main theme of the International Dialogue is the leveraging of technology for the socioeconomic transformation of Africa. Based on our regional and national dialogues, we have determined the key pillars in terms of the technology transformation in Tanzania. This involves improving the efficiency and performance of laws and regulations, as well as developing infrastructure, energy resources, and education. We are going to build on the Tanzanian experience. At the Global 2013 Smart Partnership Dialogue in June, we hosted many participants from all over the world. During the conference, we looked at how other countries have utilized technology. In Africa, we also need to share with our peers in order to know whether the pillars we have identified are uniform across Africa, or whether others are required. We also expect the private sector, both foreign and domestic, to examine opportunities for sectors such as energy to develop technologically.

How is ICT changing life in rural areas?

First and foremost, what has been done in Tanzania in terms of telecommunications developments is significant. One of the challenges was access to finance in rural areas, but now with the introduction of mobile payments this has become much easier. It has even reached a point where people can carry out diverse activities via their mobile. The link between mobile firms and financial institutions is therefore very important, and has proven to be successful. The world can learn from it, as we can also learn from other countries' examples. Another priority area for the government is education, where e-learning has provided concrete solutions to certain previous limitations, and where in southern Tanzania for example students use laptops and iPads to acquire knowledge, quickly and conveniently. We are now working to reach every region of Tanzania with fiber optics, which will transfer knowledge effectively and uniformly—moreover, one teacher will be able to train others through e-learning methods. This is a huge country and our economy is growing, but we need technological solutions to make sure we reach as many people as possible. In major hospitals, there will also be doctors using these technologies to deliver training remotely, and so on. Elsewhere, if you have a smartphone, you don't need to wait for the weather report, which gives farmers a convenient solution that will transform agriculture. The distribution of agro-input can also be carried out more effectively through the use of mobile payment systems.

How can the Global 2013 Smart Partnership Dialogue help Tanzania achieve its Vision 2025 goals?

The methodology of the five-year plans that are taking us to Vision 2025 is significant, and the Smart Partnership National Dialogue helped people comprehend the plans and contribute to them in various ways. Another important aspect, beyond discussion itself, of course is monitoring and evaluation.