CIVILIAN CONTRIBUTION

Tanzania 2018 | DIPLOMACY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to HE John Pombe Magufuli, President of Tanzania, on ensuring that citizens benefit equally from growth, Tanzania's relations with foreign nations, and boosting infrastructure links.

 HE John Pombe Magufuli
BIOGRAPHY
HE John Pombe Magufuli was elected President of Tanzania in 2015. After working as a teacher of chemistry and mathematics at Serengema Secondary School between 1982 and 1983, he began a career in politics. He has previously served as Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Works from 1995-2000, Minister of Works from 2000-2006, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006-2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008-2010, and Minister of Works for a second time from 2010-2015.

How do you ensure Tanzania's economic growth benefits all citizens?

Tanzania's economy remains one of the fastest growing on the continent, with 7.2% growth recorded in 2016. An increase in monthly revenue collection, from TZS850 billion to TZS1.3 trillion, has meant that our government has been able to build non-core spending and increase development budgets from 26 to 40%. In 2016, our country adopted the Second National Five-Year Development Plan (2016/17-2020/21). The main role of this program is to transform Tanzania into a middle-income economy by 2025 through increased development and industrialization. In the midst of all of this activity, we maintain the view that civilians are the development engines worldwide. No development project has ever been successful without the integrated involvement of workers, from agricultural activities—fishing, livestock—to tourism; construction of economic infrastructure, peacekeeping and security; the provision of social services; and the evolution of science and technology. For this reason, on behalf of the government, I wish to commend all Tanzanian employees. The government recognizes the great contribution to national development that its citizens provide. We promise to continue to address the challenges faced by our people to improve the working and living environments, and ensure all citizens benefit from the fruits of their labor. In this vein, we will continue with procedures to establish solid and robust social security frameworks, such as our newly developed system of employment insurance.

How do you describe the recent development of diplomatic relations, both domestically and internationally?

In 2017, we celebrate 53 years of union with Zanzibar. The union has enabled us to achieve great success in the economic, political, and social sectors. Together, we have improved infrastructure in several fields, including in aviation, maritime, railway, and electrical projects. What is more, our country is internationally respected and participates meaningfully on regional, continental, and global levels. We enjoyed visits from several international leaders, including the presidents of South Africa and of several East African Community (EAC) member states. The Vice President, the Prime Minister, and myself have also taken part in several visits abroad, increasing the Republic of Tanzania's international presence. We signed several cooperative agreements in various areas and have made progress in opening several embassies abroad in countries that had previously gone unrepresented. In line with strengthening our relationship with foreign nations, we have continued to contribute positively to the various international institutions of which we are members. In 2016, we received the honor of being elected as Chairman of both the EAC and the South African Development Community (SADC) Organ for Politics, Defense and Security. Through these institutions, we have played instrumental roles in peacekeeping missions in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, and South Sudan. In addition, we will continue to implement various initiatives that have been passed at the regional and international level.

What steps have been taken in the past few months to strengthen transport infrastructure in the country?

During the 2015 election campaign, one of the key promises of my government was to boost transport links through improved infrastructure. The fifth phase government is determined to reduce, if not completely eliminate, traffic in Dar es Salaam. To this end, we are driving forth an agenda of alternative automotive infrastructure in the city, spearheaded by the Dar Rapid Transit System, which has been working well now for several months. In addition, we plan to implement other transport infrastructure projects, including the construction of a 7-km bridge from Aga Khan to Coco Beach, and several highways in Mwenge, Morocco, Magomeni, and Tabata. Elsewhere, we are preparing for the construction of the Dar es Salaam Outer Ring Road, due to stretch 35km around the city. For this, we have earmarked TSZ38 billion from the new budget. In line with the construction of road infrastructure, we also have ambitious plans to improve rail transport services in Dar es Salaam, vital to alleviating the congestion problems we face.