Monday, June 11, 2007

WaTZ and Globalization: Beats Me...(2)


As much as I hate dedicating a whole new post as a response to a reader’s comments, I have to do this. In the last post on some Tanzanians’ reaction to globalization, I received yet another comment, which in my view, is another representative of a popular position. Given that my blog is dedicated (for the most part) to providing an alternative thinking, I will try to “educate” a little.

It should be understood that by doing this I am not playing a genius, I am just trying to be honest and stretch our thinking a little. I know I have blind spots somewhere, so I would greatly encourage feedback and comments.

I have to start by providing snippets of the comments from this esteemed reader, so that we can all be on the same page:

In fact the whole concept of globalization or international economy has been designed with giant players in mind and the new roles for action accommodate their best interests. The industrialized countries impose barriers on agricultural products from African countries that are five times higher than the manufactured products from their countries”.

The reader went on to add:

Since the intensification of globalization, the debt burden of African countries has risen tremendously. In 1973, Africa had a debt of $13.1 billion. Currently, the debts of 52 African countries have reached $315 billion...”

That sounds as a serious attack on globalization. That sounds like someone who’s very, very mad at the industrialized countries. The good news is that I will try my best to provide an alternative thinking. That is not because I’m “westernized”, but because as a true African, I feel that Africans, particularly Tanzanians, have to embark on a whole new thinking mode. I can honestly see the above comments being given by sorry African leader who has no clue what is going on. I sincerely hope that my reader is above that level.

So here is my “rebuttal”…

It is the responsibility and the right of EVERY country in the world to do what is best for her citizens. Fulfilling that duty includes having protectionist policies with regards to the quality of products and services that are delivered to citizens. I dare you to name me a country that is just running wild without some sort of policies and regulations geared towards serving the best interest of her citizens. Well, may be in Tanzania.

With regards to market entry –which the reader complained about – the truth is this: regulatory environment is part and parcel of a market condition. As such, it is the responsibility of the African business community and producers (since Africa is pretty much moving towards private enterprise, this goes to the Mengis and the Manjis) to produce what meets the market demand and meets or beats the regulatory environment. Besides, isn’t the entire free market phenomenon based on letting the market decide? The problem is this: we are sooo used to just doing the minimum in Tanzania. When that minimum does not cut it when we get outside Tanzanian borders we start complaining.

But even in Tanzania, don’t we have Tanzania Bureau of Standars, which is charged with putting some major roadblocks on products and services deemed inappropriate or of low standards for the Tanzanian consumer? (Case in point: Tanzanian government has imposed restrictions on importation of used/second hand vehicles) Why then, would a Tanzanian in sound mind, complain that United Kingdom, for instance, is imposing sanctions on fish fillet from Tanzania that the UK government regards as of low quality? It is their prerogative. If a Tanzanian businessman wants to sell fish fillet to UK, they HAVE to produce, package, and price it in a way that meets the demand. I don’t see anything Africans v. Europeans in that. It is simply business.

Part of the reader’s challenge, which I didn’t include here, is that I should provide solution to the problems I identify. I believe I have been doing that. Nonetheless, with regards to barriers to entering the industrialized countries’ market, I don’t have to provide any strategic solution. All the business folks in Tanzania need is to change their attitude. Well, even Tanzania Chamber of Commerce’s chairman, Elvis A. Musiba, thinks that Tanzanian business community has never been serious about business opportunities, including the AGOA opportunities. That is an attitudinal issue, which has nothing to do with strategy.

I am glad that the obversation came from TCCA boss, not from me. Now, some people in Tanzania still think the issue is with the market, and not with the marketer. That is a twisted mentality, which does not make any sense from a practical standpoint.

With regards to ballooning of the African debt, we can’t simply run and attribute that to globalization. First of all, how that does globalization, which is pretty much a free market concept, cause African countries to acquire more debt? I would seriously need more education on that. As far as I know, the expansion of debt is an outcome of strategies, vision and policies. Case in point: the United States’ debt , which has grown over time, but has increased or decreased based on whether Democrats of Republicans are in power. All that is happening while the country is purely capitalist. So why would one tell us the African debt has grown because of globalization?

This is would be my explanation as to why African debt has grown over time. The African population is growing and policies are changing. With that comes the need to expand infrastructure and other services. Question: what was the length of paved roads in Tanzanian in 1973 compared to 2007? Was the paved road expansion done for free? What is the most likely source of funding of such capital projects? You bet it is through acquisition of debt!

Well, leaving aside policies and strategies, we have to take a deeper look internally. Do you know why donors coined the buzzword “good governance” as a condition for financial aid? It is because Africans leaders have failed, by the Western standards, to do the basics for their own people. Good governance does not only translate into such areas as media freedom, it also goes down to fiscal discipline.

Let’s take Tanzania as an example. What can we really show as a “product” of debt that we took, let’s say in 1992? Even, better, did Tanzanians starve because BWM decide to service the prior debts? I strongly believe that the reason African debt ballooned over the years is this: Leaders got the money, but they never used it for its intended purpose. As a result, the capacity to service the debt flew out the window (not to mention lack of a strong will to service the debt in hope for cancellation). If you think I am kidding, just read the recent Auditor General’s report on fund misappropriation. In 2005/2006 alone, ten ministries, departments, agencies and ten regions incurred payments of roughly $67 million lacking proper documentation. Try to imagine how much has been "stolen" in the last ten years.

And then we have the audacity to sit here and condemn globalization for our problems?

This is my point. Africans need to be responsible. We do all the wrongs things, but quick to shift the blame somewhere else, most likely on the Western world. As far as I am concerned, industrialized countries are doing what is best for them – and that is their prerogative. If we truly want it, we have to go get it. Nobody will ever hand you anything, particularly in this era of fierce competition. If you can show me that African leaders and business folks have done the right things, but the only thing that is blocking them is some Western trickeries, then I can honestly shut my mind down. But as far as I see it, a typical Tanzanian thinking leaves a lot to be desired.

As I said it before, I’m saying it again: If we (Tanzanians) don’t play, we’ll get played. It is that simple. Well, it just happened that Kenyans and South Africans are playing us right now, while we are dancing to Bongo Flava tunes. Please ponder this: why can’t Tanzanians penetrate the Kenyan market? IF we can’t even knock at the neighbor’s door, why do we think we can effectively handle the American or European markets?

I am not willing to jump on the “we are not developing because of the West” bandwagon. Not yet. Even more, I cannot blame globalization for African own bad attitude and mindset. That is up to us to solve first. Sadly, it appears we are not willing to take an internal inventory of our own doings.

Photo credit: Mjengwa

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

You nailed it once again. The point is we need to slow down and take an inner inventory and see what 'We' can change.... keep writing bro you are making a difference; if at all anything you make me think twice now before complainign about TZ.
Keep it up:)

Anonymous said...

Metty, nobody deny Africa does not have internal problems and no one tries to point the finger to the west and condone our self infliction. But the fact that the west also plays big part to inhibit African economy is undeniable. Remember the strategic plan to manipulate Africa has changed, currently the west are no longer playing a physical game as they used to play previously. Now it’s all about a mental game my good friend, and that is a very dangerous game because very few people can see. Pretend to sympathise with African poverty that is a part of the strategy does not bestow a moral standards. Another thing it seems to me you forget on how the western world becomes rich nations and dominant of the world economy. Metty, the west economy grew powerful precisely because they colonised Africa and ripped it off for some five hundred good years, which accumulating capital that power the western industrial revolution. Also the fact Africa were forced into a world capitalist order in the space of few decades, a process that west countries took hundreds of years (accompanied by endless religious, ethnic and tribal wars) to arrive at, is simply ignored by you. It seems to me you believe that the problems of Africa (or Tanzania) only lies because of corrupt African governments, incompetence, and you dismiss the other part of the unfairness of the west which inhibiting the Africa developments. Gentleman, massive subsidiaries governments hand out in the west to business result in the destruction of economies in the neo-colonial countries of the world, making it impossible for Africa to compete with western imports. Virtually all developing countries are worse off now than they were 20 years ago as a result of so called structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and IMF.
Now let’s talk about globalisation, first of all I am not attacking on globalisation, but I tried to educate a reason why globalisation does not benefit Africa. Metty, globalisation has three aspects, Economic domination by the developed countries which is exploitative and capitalistic through international institutions like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), World Bank, and World Trade Organisation. Cultural aggression which is a mono-culture of consumerism and market economy on the third world through modern media which is controlled by the multi-nationals of the developed countries, and Political imperialism which is political neo-colonialism in the sense that through cultural aggression and economic domination, the first world is deciding the political visions and destinies of the third world for their own advantage. The single economy and a consumerist society develop where by the eight rich countries known as the G-8 take most decisions for the rest of the world. Instead of dealing with this imbalance, they want to keep these countries only as suppliers of cheap raw materials. In the event of the balance of payment crisis, the G-8 imposes the single economy through the World Bank and International monetary fund. Basic to this is the structural Adjustment Program with conditionalities such as reducing financial deficit to 5% of gross domestic product, privatisation of the services and elimination of subsidies. These decisions are presented as free trade. In reality, it is freedom of unequal geared to profit of a few. In practice, the thirty Organisations for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), countries in general and the G-8 in particular, limit freedom to movement of capital, not of labour.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 9:11AM
Thanks for providing a historical perspective. Nonetheless, your analysis is still leaning towards blaming colonialism and neo-colonialism tactics. Which is essentially blaming the West.

I'm not saying that colonilism didn't play a part in the African experience, but my contention is that our attitude plays a GREATER role in our demise than neo-colonialism tactics.

I would like for you to prove to me that Africans have done all they can (internally) and the only thing that is standing on the way is some sort of Western dirty games. By the way, how did Malaysia make it while the country was at the same level in 1967?

Anonymous said...

I have already answered your Malaysia question in your article titled “that’s moving forward”.

Anonymous said...

Comperative social, political and economic well-being ("development") analogy between the Southeastern asia countries i.e. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Phillipines and Sub-Saharan Africa countries i.e. Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Mali, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda,D R Congo, Congo Brazaville, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, etc is false, null, and irrelevant. Please do more study/research on this subject and you will agree with me.

Please do a comparative study/research between Asian and African countries on development of systems of governance, religion, education in the sense of formal education i.e. establishement of formal educational institutions, formal transformation of knowledge and information, and development of formal micro and macro economic activities. Then my Brother Metty you will see the difference.

Some years to come we or our children will hear the social, political and economic comparative analogy between East Timor and Eritrea. If not careful we or our children will use the same distorted analogies as references. to our motions

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 9:58AM
Thanks for dropping your challenge. Nonetheless, I would suggest that you provide your thoughts as opposed to sending everybody on a research trip.

If you know something, say it. It would be beneficial to everybody. Given that fact, I find your comments less useful, for they don't educate anyone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response and thank you that you find my comment as "..If you know something, say it. It would be beneficial to everybody. Given that fact, I find your comments less useful, for they don't educate anyone.."

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 6:13AM
Thanks for making a reference to the Malaysian story. But I can tell you this: yours is a conspiracy theory that the reality.

1st Question: who runs the show in Malaysia(predominantly)? - Chinese Malaysians

2nd Question: Why? - culture, and attitudes.

Since I have been to Malaysia, this was my observation : in places where the culture is predominantly Islamic, the economic progress is lagging behind compared to areas that are predominantly Hindu and Chinese.

Based on your theory, do you mean to tell that the British just had a bias against the indigenous Malays and favored the Chinese-Malaysians and Indian-Malaysians?

Have you check on Dr Mahathir, former Malaysian's PM, to see his explaination on how Malaysia turned things around?

Anonymous said...

Metty,

Here is a story about how Malaysia managed to make progress despite being at the same level as Ghana in1957. Until August 1957, Britain’s specific colonial interest was in Hong Kong and Malaysia. The economic strength of the whole region was vital to the welfare of British business interest there. Hence, her Majesty’s Government had a crucial role to play in generating a good economical climate in Malaysia. There was a plan, first introduced at the commonwealth conference at Colombo in January 1950. The plan was branded as the Colombo plan. The plan became the first international, inter-government, mutual assistance programme for aid in Malaysia. Britain’s commonwealth ties with the country to gave a unique perspective on the developments in finance and industries that were taking place. In summary, creation of a strong Malaysian economy was an important political issue in the early days of independence from Britain.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 12:03 PM
Thanks for your response. Nonetheless, your response is full generalities that specifics. So here are my additional question:

1. What did the Plan entail?
2. How was the aid programme to Malaysia different from financial aid that Africans, including Tanzania, has been receiving for ions?
3. Was the plan intended to leave aside, Islamic, indigenous Malays outside the box?
4. If the Plan was created in 1950's, why then did Malaysia start experience significant changes in late 1980s?
5. As Singapore was part of Malaysia (I think up until 1964), why is Singapore ahead of many African countries despite having the tiniest land?

Anonymous said...

Metty,

Please reready the Anon.. 12:03 PM.

Please again, check on Asian countries that benefitted first economically, then politically and socially from Vietnam war.

The case of one colony being projected as models for other colonies is known to those interested on this subject.

Just leave aside projection of colony to colony. Check on Commonwealth Countries you will find Asian colonies were favoured more than African colonies. Even within continents some regions were more developed than others. Look at Western, Eastern and south African countries you will find that they are some colonies which were developed more than others.

Even within colonies, the colonizers did the same, for example, ukianzia huko huko Malaysia kati ya Wahindu, Wachina, na Waislam. Then come to Uchagani na Umakondeni. Ukikuyuni na Ujaluoni. Kwa WaIbo na WaHausa. Kwa Wahutu na Watusi. The references are many should we go for them we will go up to South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and many more. Countries which have modern faces with primitive hearts.

Wayne said...

Just a comment on the "disparity" among the countries that were colonized by the British. Zimbabwe probably had more internal physical infrastructure development than any other Arican nation. One has to look no further than current headlines to see that all that investment in roads, electric, education, etc., etc., is for nil. While it is true that some residual colonial problems may have had some impact on the devolution of the Zim economy, simple logic and study tells us that Pres. M bears the lions share of the responsibility for the current meltdown.
Wayne

Jaduong Metty said...

@Wayne,
I think what you highlighted is what most Africans tend to ignore - that even railroads that the so-hated colonialist left in Tanzania, for instance, was not well kept.

I totally agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Metty,

I stick to my point that if we are not careful we may perpetuate a lie. Ok, let me make distorted comparative development analogy within Tanzania.

By year 1961 when Tanzania got her independence from the British the very well developed regions of Lindi, Mtwara, and Dodoma were at par in social and economic utilities i.e. infrastructure, manpower, and financial capital. Today 2007 through good governance and planning Dodoma have left Lindi and Mtwara very far behind. By 1977 Dodoma had already transformed herself to a status of city while Lindi and Mtwara stood were they were or even worse than were they were back in 1961!

Dodoma is now a hostess to the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, has Tanzania's biggest local conference hall(Chimwaga), teachers training college(Mpwapwa), two of the highest standard secondary and high schools(Mazengo and Msalato), a National Service camp (Makutopora), Tanzania's leading optical hospital and research centre (Mpwapwa), an outstanding mental hospital (Mirembe), some vineyards and Tanzanias' only wine producing company(Bihawana), an international standard football stadium (Jamhuri Stadium), two first division football teams (CDA and Waziri Mkuu), a number of ( one to five star) hotels, lodgings, motel and guest houses, modern restaurants, bars, pubs, and discotheques, high standard public and private residential houses, tarmac roads and pavements, an airport with VIP lounge third to J K Nyerere and Kilimanjaro International airport, a construction of nation's and regional biggest university is at her final stages. When completed by 2012 the university will be able to take 60,000 students per intake. On top of all her social, economic,and political achievements Dodoma is now bidding against Dar es Salaam to become Tanzania's capital city!

The deteriorating situation of Lindi and Mtwara is attributed much more on negligence of their corrupt political leadership and maladministration. The effort by the government to rescue Lindi and Mtwara from their doom had once compelled the founding father of the nation Late Mwalimu J K Nyerere to appoint a known lawyer, author, critic and academician Retired Professor Issa Shivji to be Lindi's Regional Development Director (RDD). Within two years with frustration and nearly to the point of being admitted to mental hospital Professor Issa Shivji gaveup his appointment and return back to his lecturer post at Department of Law Univesity of Dar es Salaam. It is not a wonder even the Retired President Benjamin William Mkapa decided to build his houses in Dar es Salaam, Moshi and Lushoto instead of his home town Masasi, Mtwara. in fact, Retired President B W Mkapa built a house during his presidential tenure but he is living in his villa in Lushoto, Tanga!

Metty, the lie above told to a person with limited capacity of thinking couldn't I win to shape or distort his/her view with that distorted thesis on Comparative Social and Economic Development Analogy: Case Study Lindi, Mtwara, and Dodoma 1961 2007?

Wagogo, Warangi, Wakagulu, Wamachinga, Wamwera, Wayao na Wamakonde is there any of whom can boast a collective social, economic, and political development?

Have a nice weekend,

It is me, Anony 9:58AM, 10:28AM & 1:23PM

PS/ Wayne I will come to you on Zimbabwe if Jaduong will let me.

Anonymous said...

Dodoma University set to open in September
SOSTHENES MWITA in Dodoma
Daily News; Monday,June 25, 2007 @00:05
THE University of Dodoma will open its doors to about 1,000 inaugural students in September as nearly all preparations for the take-off have been completed, the Chairman of the University Council, Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal said here yesterday.

Dr Bilal was briefing the Chancellor of the university, Mr Banjamin Mkapa, who visited the university campus in order to acquaint himself with the progress made so far. The chancellor was delighted that all the logistics ahead of the inaugural day were progressing smoothly.

Addressing a press conference moments after Mr Mkapa’s visit, Dr Bilal said the government has allocated to the university a total of 155 self-contained houses that are situated at Kisasa in the municipality of Dodoma. The houses are part of the 300 that were initially built by the state with a view to selling or renting them out to civil servants.

The initial 1,000 students will be sheltered in 100 of the Kisasa houses. He said each house will take between 11 and 13 students depending on the size. There are two categories of houses at the Kisasa estate --executive and standard. The executive houses have more sleeping rooms and wider sitting rooms.

He said the 200 or more lecturers and other officials will be accommodated in the remaining 55 houses or elsewhere. He said the university is currently in a dialogue with private transporters whose buses will move the students from Kisasa to the campus.

Dr Bilal said close to 15,000 applicants have requested for chances during the inaugural academic year at the university. He said the applicants have already been short-listed to only 5,000 ready for matriculation on July 3, this year.

Wayne said...

Anonymous,
in reference to your next to last post - let me ask for clarification. Are you saying that despite the OK state of development (relatively speaking)left by the Brits in Lindi / Mtwara, the incompetency and mismanagement by local Tz leadership led to the de- evolution of the development that was (in the past) there? The south-east has, over the last 30 years or so, felt like a step-child in the bigger Tz development picture. This is one of the reasons that former Rais Mkapa was so keen on the implementation of the Mtwara Corridor Development plan. At the core of this plan was the "re-development" of the region, with a focus on infrastructure - roads, electric, environmental sensitivity, korosho production enhancement, etc..
The development of the Mnazi bay (near Msimbati village) gas reserves with the subsequent electric power generation was given to a Canadian company (Artemus) because, in the very words of the former Rais (WBM), "we Tanzanians do not have the capacity to undertake such a development" what was he saying with that comment? je, an admission to such a high level of corruption, graft and incompetency that "internal development" was impossible? That gas well (with enough capacity to generate electricity sufficient for the southern 1/2 of the country for the next 200 years) has been in existence for nearly 40 years and is just now being developed. That is a tough one to "hang" on the Brits. Artemus, whose primary interest is to pay a dividend to their stockholders, would not agree to undertake the development of this gas field unless Tanesco was made to "stand on the outside" and not "meddle". In the meantime, Tanesco has not done TzSh 100 worth of maintenance on the power plant in Masasi (serving Masasi, Newala & Nachingwea) - those three towns are now down to 4 hours a day of electric - Tanesco figures "
why should we spend any money on repairs & maintenance, when Mtwara electric will eventually (estimated at a year, at least) go to those areas. And we wonder why the south-east can't move forward in economic development?
I have heard that the whole Mtwara Corridor plan has now been placed at a much lower priority level. Why? Perhaps because the "son of the south-east" (WBM) is no longer of great influence?

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 6:22AM
You are yet to convince me that problems in Africa are MOSTLY caused by the Western world.

And I think that what Wayne is trying to show, just like I have been doing, is to shift the blame on African's own internal weaknesses as opposed to the West.

I am eagerly waiting to see a "proof" from you that Africa's own internal issues are playing a smaller role than the conditions imposed by the West.

@Wayne,
I think you have provided yet another good example. I am eagerlyw waiting to see Anony's response.

Anonymous said...

Metty,

No one denies that the internal factors which affect Tanzania (incompetence, poor governance, mismanagement of resources) are an enemy number one of Tanzania development. Hence, in principles I agree with you, however, what I can’t understand is your attitude to dismiss the blatant external factors which are caused by western world. Moreover, I have been trying to educate you on how the west impedes Africa (or Tanzania) development, and it’s obvious you refused to conceive none of it. Thus, I conclude that, either you don’t read the bloggers comment properly, or you are a western values fanatic, who think the only way Africa can sustain their economy is to refrain themselves from their culture and values and imitate the western one. Metty, brotherhood or equality can not exist between the Eurasian mentality and the African; therefore my dear friend Africa can not be dependent on European powers. History gives us no reason to believe that we can sit down as equals and negotiate a world order that will result in true Africa liberation. Nonetheless, we are living in a civilization that is highly developed. We are living in a world that is scientifically arranged in which everything done by those who control is done through the system, proper arrangement, proper organisation, and among some of the organised methods used to control the world is the thing known and called “PROPAGANDA”.

Metty, propaganda has done more to defeat the good intentions of Africa than even open warfare. Propaganda is method or medium used by the west to convert others against their will. Africa is suffering more than any other continent in the world from propaganda, propaganda destroy our hopes, our ambitions and our confidence in self.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 8:23AM
I guess from my perspective, you are putting more emphasis on the West as the reason for our problem than Africa's own internal factors.

I think that's were we differ.

As such, I'd like to get this from you. Give me a "blame scale". For instance - 60% to the West, 40% Africa's internal problems.

I think that such a "quantified" analysis from you will kill this debate.

wayne said...

Perhaps anonymous (and others) prefer the current trend - which is that China is becoming the new colonial power in Africa. The major advantage to this is the fact that China cares nothing about fare labor practices, human rights, environmental protection, etc... China only cares about acquiring raw natural resources and then trading for finished products with Africa. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that much of African leadership is buying into the whole new Chinese Colonialism scenario. Add to this the fact that the Chinese are more than happy to line the pockets of African leaders and you can see why they are so eager to learn to speak Chinese. In the next 10 years or so, we will see that China will own most of the sub-Saharan continent and African leaders will become wealthy and the wafanyakazi will be sold into a new form of slavery - to work for the Chinese industrial complex with no protection, no hope of rising above poverty while building huge bank accounts for those lucky enough to be in positions of authority. China IS becoming the new colonial power in Africa and no one wants to see it. If one is truly concerned about the future of Tanzania, then perhaps it is now time to start facing the China issue.

wayne said...

just wanted to leave a note to back up my last comment about China.
the following link (http://www.business-humanrights.org/Categories/Individualcompanies/C/CollumCoalMining)
gives but one example of the new slavery going on in Africa under Chinese colonialism - this is not an isolated incident and I think we will see more & more of this as China sinks its claws deeper into sub-Saharan Africa