Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WaTZ and Globalization: Beats Me...

Recently, one of the readers of my blog posted a comment on my previous post on dual citizenship. As I pointed out earlier, I don’t know everything. I just try to be honest with my writing. Telling it like I see it. With the territory comes criticism and corrections. You are welcome to do that. That’s the way we grow.

Well, the reader decided to challenge me on my comment regarding dual citizenship. This is what I said:

Unfortunately, the world of physical borders is slowing eroding and we are increasingly becoming a global village.”

That didn’t sit well with this esteemed reader. So the reader threw the following challenge my way:

Who is benefiting from become a global village? The answer will be USA and EU multinational corporations. Why there is no CRDB branch (benki ya mijini na vijijini) in the US, UK, or other EU countries?

I typically don’t like the idea of having a entirely new post on a reader’s comment, but I have to do that at times. That is mainly due to the fact that some of the comments, in my opinion, are respresenting a position that is more likely than not taken by a majority. Since my blog is dedicated towards correcting some of the misconceptions we (Africans and particularly Tanzanians) have towards the West, I will take my time on this.

From the very core of it, the above comment is echoing (please readers, correct me if I am wrong) inferiority complex. I have no idea where this is coming from, but I am guessing it is due to a constant barrage of negative messages we have received from our cheap politicians over the years.

This is my message: get over it. Nothing is going to change because Africans are crying foul.

Secondly, the message has failed to take a critical look at a typical Tanzanians’ attitude towards business skills and competition. That is the very reason that Kenyans have a bank branch in Tanzania, while we continue to play politics. So this is the question regarding the banking industry, which the reader decided so cite as example: has CRDB managed to spread its operations across the entire Tanzania , even as far as Kenya? Well, the answer to that is a plain NO. That demands a second question, why not? The answer to that is lack of strategic vision, seriousness, aggressiveness, lack of true business mindset.

Due to globalization, there are plenty of opportunities for Tanzanian businesses. Just to name a few,IPP Media has a TV station that broadcasts both in Kenya and Uganda, Sumaria Group is running some businesses in Mozambique. You know why they are able to do that? Because they have a business mind. These companies don’t just play politics in their strategic planning. They are aggressive. They go where the market is.

This is my contention. Fear of globalization is based on relatively meaningless arguments. But it appears that Tanzanians are very good at coming up with cheap excuses. I was in high school when there was this commission appointed by then President AHM to collect views on multiparty system. Guess what was one of the reasons cited against the multiparty system? That Tanzania will get into a political and social turmoil like that in Rwanda or Burundi! A bunch of crap.

Baseless phobia is plain stupid. You know what? Everytime a change happens, there are beneficiaries and victims. In my personal experience, flexible folks who understand and go with the times tend to be the beneficiaries. Those who resist change, for no apparent reason other than their love for the status quo, tend to be on the receiving end. I would definitely not like to see my fellow Tanzanians being on the receiving end, simply because they opted to be whiny and whimpy.

Globalization brings with it a competitive spirit. Can you look me straight in the eye and tell me that the only reason CRDB don’t have a branch in Uganda is because some white man is putting a lid on their expansion strategy? Have you tried CRDB customer service of late? That should tell you the story.

We have the AGOA opportunities, right? What did Tanzania do with it? Very little. For instance, Kenyans export to the US on the AGOA program was $249 and $352 million in 2003 and 2004, respectively, compared to a pathetic $24 in both 2003 and 2004. And they you sit and cry about globalization? If we don’t play, we will get played.
Photo credit: Mjengwa

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are so right. Some of the Tanzanians are so used to the current condition that any change or challenge seems to scare them. Who wants CRDB in the US? Not even me as a Tanzanian... they Suck with their customer service...we have to change the way we think (Attitude) then we can embrace changes with a positive outlook.

Keep up the good work in doing housekeeping in the brains of some WaTZ wa nineteen kweusi.

Mbwana said...

Well said!
A way to think about globalization is that it's a rising tide- but it doesn't necessarily lift all boats.
The question is, are the boats in the Tanzanian port in good shape? Not all... You have to sympathize with those whose boats are not in good shape going forward, and don't want to sink when the tide comes gushing in fast. The question is how much time will it take to fix enough of the broken boats (change attitudes in Metty speak)? More fundamental- how far should the Govt go in maintaining our port well enough to protect those with broken boats (politics) in the meantime.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Mbwana,
You've asked very good questions. This is my take. Free market, which is at the core of the globalization craze, started way back when Nyerere got out power.

I am not sure, but the vineyard has it that Mwinyi found the house in a mess (economically) and he had to do what he had to do, which is embarking on economic reforms. That included embracing free market. That, amigo, was almost 20 years ago.

As to the amount of time required to prepare the majority for a change, I would say that if no one saw the tides changing 20 years ago, they would never figure out what is going on. I just hope that some Tanzanians have a life jacket...it is getting increasingly ugly.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 9:50AM
Sorry I responded to Mbwana before you. Thanks for your encouragement. I'm only trying to help, but I know change will eventually come.

Anonymous said...

Let me begin by quoting you."If we don't play ,we get played." And we are really getting played.I do read most of your posts,they are so rational.But really,why do we always have to be losers?? for God's sake why? I for one think we need a true regime change,by that I mean,for Tanzania to get moving, the current political leaders and those who have had the chance to serve in the past phases must step aside and just let those who are able, those who can really go along with the mordern age life-style and technology , I mean we need the "brains" but above all people with senses of responsibility and accountability ,these are the right people to take Tanzania to the next level.Tanzania with these sleepy knuckleheads leaders..will always be the same and "maisha bora kw akila mtz" will end up being a monotonous song. read this story http://africa.reuters.com/country/TZ/news/usnBAN548244.html .You know I thought we were only losing in terms of minerals(though i was almost encouraged when our head of state said he has successfully convinced the mining companies about the questionable and unacceptable contracts only to be disappointed when he finished his sentence by saying that these companies will start to pay tax in few years to come)mmmmh.just read his May day speech. the link above should direct you to this story if you have trouble in opening it here it is for you.
Tanzania losing millions in forestry sector - study
Fri 25 May 2007, 12:24 GMT

[-] Text [+] NAIROBI (Reuters) - Tanzania is losing millions of dollars a year because of poor management and corruption in its forestry sector, an international conservation group said on Friday.

A study conducted in 2005 in southern Tanzania by Traffic International and the Tanzanian government showed that over half of 28 export companies studied had some form of link with senior Tanzanian or foreign government officials.

Bribery, nepotism and cronyism were rampant in the sector, it said.

"Of greater concern than bribery were apparent high levels of direct senior government involvement in timber harvesting from southern Tanzania," the study said.

The report said Tanzania lost $58 million in timber royalties during 2004 and 2005 alone.

"Income from a sustainably managed timber industry should be assisting national development ... not ending up in criminals' bank accounts," Steven Broad, Traffic International's executive director, said in a statement accompanying the report.

Methods used to evade paying taxes and sneaking timber out of the country include cutting trees in unauthorised areas, using bogus export documents and transporting logs at night in violation of traffic rules.

The study cites an example of how China imported 10 times more timber from Tanzania than is documented by Tanzania's export records, implying a 90 percent loss of revenue in 2004 and 2005.

According to the study, uncontrolled timber harvesting in southern Tanzania grew rapidly from 2003, largely because of increasing overseas demand, especially from China.

A QUESTION:WHY UNDER THE EARTH DO WE ALWAYS HAVE TO BE LOSERS??HEY YO BLOGGER SAY STH..WE NEED TO DEFEND OUR MOTHER TANZANIA,SOMETHING MUST REALLY BE DONE,SHE IS PERISHING SLOWLY AND IF WE DONT STOP THESE FOLKS WE OR RATHER OUR KIDS WILL INHERIT A VERY TERRIBLE PLACE IN THIS WORLD.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 12:55PM,
I really do feel your pain. I really can't figure out what's wrong with Tanzania. I can only theorize that it is due to lack of information (the majority are uneducated), greed (which is human and universal), but the number one killer is just a wrong mindset.

As I said, it is sad to see an ordinary Tanzanian crying against dual citizenship, globalization, and Darwin's Nightmare documentary, while hailing irresponsible and incompetent "leaders". I fail to comprehend why an ordinary Tanzanian cannot put things in their proper perspective.

I guess that's why I feel it is my mission to bring the other side of the coin to light, help my fellow Tanzanians think critically.

I just wish I had the entire Tanzania as my audience.

aulelia said...

metty - perhaps one reason why some tanzanians are hailing incompetent leaders is we are have been told to drink the wrong miranda drink, ie, "listen your tanzanian elders and if you don't, you are not tanzanian". look at the way the zimbabweans who dared to defy mugabe have been branded "traitors". african politics does not want a forum where there are cacophonous voices -- it only wants pseudo-unison.

Sam GM said...

Metty,

My conclusion about globalization and world economy that is so hard for many of our people to understand is they should first seek to understand before they are understood and that could sum it all up for you brother. it just beats me to see that majority of us think that we have best of every thing in the country and we do not need to see what the other side of the coin looks like. Lack of commitment and aggressiveness have always been our clear paths to our known follies.

Anonymous said...

Why we Africans, always have to sing the tune of the west, subject in question globalization. Why dont we have our globalization in those terms that will be acceptable by the west and Africans alike.

I will give you an example, let the west invest in our economy, in such a way that we all rip off the benefits equally, that has never been anything much to ask.

Suggestions ???

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 4:30PM
I honestly don't think that the problem is that Africans are being forced to "please" the West when it comes to globalization.

At the core of globalization is free market. That means, the market determines the rules. A good example of how the market can be ruthless, even to the western companies, is how American automakers are struggling. The market is gravitating towards the Japanese cars and there's nothing GM or Ford can do about it.

Coming to the African situation, we have to accept the fact that we have failed to manage our relationship with the western corporations that are willing to invest in Africa. In most cases, our leaders take the famous 10%, violating trust placed on them by the people. Nobody is really forcing African leaders to sign crazy and stupid contracts. They do that willingly.

In order for the African countries to fully compete in the global market, some fundamental things have to change within the Africans own mindset. One of them has to be stopping viewing the West as enemies, but rather partners we can learn from. Also, we need to build technical capacity in terms of human capital, while minimizing political interference in areas that don't really require decision-making from politicians.

Case in point: the COMESA vs. SADCC debate in Tanzania. While the business community is for COMESA (for obviously reasons), the government is sticking with SADCC. The question is this: who is doing business and hence could tell the advantage of any trading block, the government or business folks?

In most cases, we have not taken full responsibility of our poor performance in the world arena. Once we get to the point of owning our own destiny, things will definitely change. It appears to me that Africans think that the West is going to hand them development just like that. That, friend, is not going to happen.

So African should get over that dream and get to work. The Indians are working. The Chinese are working...they didn't wait for free lunch from anybody.

Anonymous said...

It's all about management ability to balance the interests of employees with those of customers. Take a look at CRDB vs Exim Bank. I have met some employees at both banks. CRDB employees seem to be very happy with the lax environment compared to stressful performance oriented environment at Exim Bank. And the result? Exim is number on customer service. Most business people in Tanzania will recommend Exim Bank.

Go figure.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 2:58AM
You couldn't have said it better. And it appears that most Bongolanders would never figure out the attitude and mindset of management that separates the two banks...

luihamu said...

Mety and other readers,

I think we should read more on KarlMarx and Fredrick Eagles,The modes of production,social evolution.

First it was the five stages of social evolution which are modes of production
1 primitive communalism
under primitive communalism we have
a.salvegry
b.barbarism
c.civilization.
2.salvery
3.feudalism
4.capitalism
5.communism
sixth and so on is
6.globalisation

Kwa matamo wangu we can not blame the goverment,we should blame our selves,we dont want to think and change with the mode of production i mean our social evolution remain as it was.

Look at Renaissance and Enlightment era,people changed and the goverment surppoted them.

It we take time and go back to History we will know were we went wrong.

Tumeteleza hatujaanguka.

Naomba usikiliza wimbo wa Nabii Peter Tosh(I HAVE TO PICK MY SELF UP,DUST MYSELF AND START ALL OVER AGAIN)

Nuff Respect.Jah Rastafarian.

Anonymous said...

Metty, you always pinpoint the problem and you are not coming out with any solutions to the problem rather than the blame. Metty every body knows we have a lot of problems, and not only Tanzania, but in most African countries. Gentleman, it will be helpful if you analyse our problems with suggested strategy on how to overcome those problems. Being critical to our problems without any suggestions does not help. Besides that, it is true that globalisation provides a view of which the interest of powerful countries is defined as a necessity while the demand of the poor countries appears as protectionism, which undermines economic success. In fact the whole concept of globalisation or international economy has been designed with the giant players in mind and the new roles for action accommodate their best interests. The industrialised countries impose barriers on agricultural products from African countries that are five times higher than the manufactured products from their countries. Metty, since the intensification of globalisation, the debt burden of African countries has risen up tremendously. In "1973, Africa had a debt of $ 13.1 billion. Currently, the debts of 52 African countries have reached $ 315 billion, mostly to the international monetary fund, World Bank, and the African Development Fund. Moreover, the countries of sub- Saharan Africa spend more each year on paying their debts than they spend on primary education and health care. In 1996, for instance, Uganda spent only $ 3 per person on health care, while spending $17 per person repaying it's debts. Yet one in every five Ugandan children dies from a preventable disease before reaching the age of five. In summary, Africa has become a victim of western capitalism and still continues to be exploited. As long as there still exist the core- periphery relationship, where the west is dominant and Africa is dominated, globalisation will continue to affect Africa negatively. Its economy will fail to sustain it-self with out loans and grants from the last remaining bastion of colonisation, the IMF and World Bank. In that fact, it is not an inferiority complex to speak about unfairness the western countries impose to the African nations.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 10:19AM
I think pinpointing problems is a good thing, since it typically leads to find a solution. You can't fix what you can't see, right?

Thanks for challenging me on the provision of solutions. I think I do that by providing an alternative thinking...and strategy here and there. It could be that my solutions are imbedded in the article that they are not clear to most.

OK, so let's break it down. In this particular article, this is what I suggested (being explicit now):

1. We need to change our mindset. We are too passive (generally speaking), we need to be business minded and aggressive. That includes, by just implication, that we need better business education or appropriate business skills (There are stories of Tanzanian businessmen who came to the United States without brochures or materials to highlight what they do. That is unacceptable and it shows lack of seriousness)

2. We need to change with times, that includes acquiring a mindset that is suitable for the globalization times. It appears that most Tanzanians are stuck in 1972!

3. We need to embark and welcome a competitive spirit. We don't have that currently in Tanzania. As a result, folk whine and blame the Kenyans and Ugandan for snatching their jobs.

Please let me know if this is not adequate or if this did not reflect what I said in the original article.

With regards to western position in the market in comparision to the Africans' position, I will try to respond to that in a whole new article, if you will allow me to...

Anonymous said...

Metty, great blog... on an individual level we could also try to work on personal financial independence with the little that we have, check out this website, www.tanzaniafinancials.com