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China Daily Website

Tanzania wants to power ahead

Updated: 2013-03-13 14:33
By Andrew Moody ( China Daily)

"My main focus is to ensure the country has access to affordable and reliable electricity. This means that over the next two to three years I have to generate another 3,000 megawatts for the country's economy."

Muhongo, who speaks German and French as well as English and the local Kiswahili language, studied geology at the University of Dar es Salaam and in Germany at Guttingen University before receiving a doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin.

He went on to have a long association with the University of Dar es Salaam, where he gained a reputation of being one of the most respected geologists in Africa.

He has held a number of other positions, including chairman of the State Mining Corporation in Tanzania.

Among his membership of professional societies, he is vice-president of the Commission of the Geological Map of the World. He remains editor-in-chief of the Journal of African Earth Sciences.

Muhongo, who was one of the leading candidates to be director-general of the UNESCO four years ago, says the Tanzanian government is very keen to enter public-private partnerships to secure investment. It enacted PPP legislation in parliament in 2010 to facilitate this.

"This is designed to change our way of doing things. We haven't got enough in terms of state resources," he says.

Muhongo says foreign players are key to developing the resources sector and apart from Chinese enterprises, recent investors have included British Gas from the UK and Statoil from Norway as well as Total from France, which is soon to start exploration in Lake Tanganyika.

"For me the discussion of investment has nothing to do with the country it comes from, provided everything is transparent and there is no corruption," he says.

"The investments in Tanzania are coming from British, French, Canadian, German and Indian companies as well as ones from China. It is important that everyone is given equal opportunities."

Muhongo says he has been impressed by the rapid development of the Chinese economy over the past 30 years and he is confident that Africa, too, can have a positive future.

"Africa will be a big player and the continent of the future because we not only have resources but we also have the population and especially the workforce, which is very young," he says.

"We have to put our governments and our houses in order and if we do, it will be no surprise that maybe in the next 20 to 50 years, Africa will be leading the world in terms of economic growth."

The minister is under no illusion that the biggest single immediate challenge is to tackle and eradicate poverty but he believes making full use of natural resources is the way forward for many African countries, including Tanzania.

"We have to make use of the resources at our disposal and work with countries right around the world in developing their potential," he says.


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Tanzania wants to power ahead




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