Corruption in Africa: Why a Feasibility Study is Necessary for Tanzania’s Port Deal
I deeper look at the facts behind the need for feasibility study for Tanzania’s port deal.
Corruption is unfortunately rife in many countries, the African continent isn’t an exception. Tanzania is a beautiful country in the East of Africa. A country that in paper, should be one of the richest in the world. In fact comparing the vast natural resources in Tanzania to the limited resources in countries like the United Kingdom, will leave you scratching your head as to why Tanzania is among the poorest whilst the UK is the richest. Wherever you look in Tanzania, you see resources; from the wildlife, to minerals and oils, this is one naturally rich country. Unfortunately and sadly, like many of its fellow African countries, Tanzania’s development and progress has been hampered by some of its very leaders.
Politicians and government officials seem to be more interested in how much they can stash up in their own private banks within their term of service than actually making any long lasting changes to benefit the country’s economy. Currently the country has a national debt of over $9 BILLION! This is a mere estimated figure as it’s believed that debt is much higher.
I have long tried to research and understand why country blessed with such incredible resources such as Tanzania can end up on the bottom of the poverty list. Recently, I followed and research a very interesting incident in Tanzania regarding the ‘port’s contract’. To give you a brief background of this I will start by saying that, the current Transport Minister in Tanzania; HON. MR. Nundu, had planned on revolutionizing the transport infrastructure. This plan included updating the old and worn out ports. These two major ports would also allow for better trading between countries, increase employment and tourism. The aim is to aid the development of this country and better the lives of its people. The ports weren’t the only thing on his agenda. Since he came to office, a merely two years ago, he had changed and set in motion changes on roads, building work on railways and so on.
Once it was known that Tanzania was looking for investment companies to facilitate the building of the new ports, a number of reputable foreign companies started bidding for the contracts. Nundu had decided to allow the prospective companies to put forward their proposals, which included the costs of the projects, estimated start and finish times for the projects, employ ability and so on. Nundu wanted a feasibility study to be done on all prospective companies first. Within six months Nundu had received over 7 proposals from various international investment companies.
One company in particular however, seem to have an unusual and blind support from some of the members in his own constituent. That company is CCC Ltd (a Chinese company). It seem that the more Nundu wanted to weigh the pro and cons of all prospective companies and have an independent feasibility study done before deciding, the more some of the members became insistence of CCC Ltd (CCC).
What was even more bizarre is that of all the interested companies, CCC’s proposals were the worse in terms of the future of the country. CCC wanted over $500 MILLION for the project, knowing full well that the money for the projects will have to be borrowed by this already heavily in debt country. Furthermore, of all the quotes obtained from all the other six companies the highest was $250 MILLION. So why was CCC asking for over double the amount? More importantly why were some of the members keen to push CCC forward knowing that it will more certainly cripple the country’s economy in the future?
Such bizarre alliances between some government officials and some foreign companies are common in African politics. This is because of the wide spread corruption. Many companies have taken advantage of the corrupt African leaders to ensure that they drain the resources of such country and stifle any prospects for really development. Usually companies win contracts not based on the implications of the proposals to the country’s future but rather based on how much the companies were willing to pay or bride the various government members/officials. The higher the bribe the higher the guarantee of the contract. In other words, companies could ‘buy’ some officials support and/or votes.
It was refreshing to see that despite the desperate attempts to force Nundu out of office by those who were pushing for CCC, Nundu was able to address the parliament in a speech on Saturday. In the live televised event Nundu explained why there was a need for a feasibility study before any company can be allocated the port’s contract. Moreover he brought the documentations that supported why such a thing was absolutely crucial to avoid debilitating debts that would affect Tanzanians for generations. The event was a major triumph and allowed the people of Tanzania to get the real facts of what had become “personal leeching attack” on the Minister. It also allowed them to see the hidden agendas behind those who pushed for CCC, those so desperate to get rid of him despite intentionally wanting to commit this country and it’s people to a life of poverty. In a nutshell, it served as a reminder to the people that corruption is still rife in the country but with the likes of Nundu in office, at least the Tanzanians can breath a sigh of relief and have hope that not everyone in power is corrupted; not every elected Minister is for ’sale’.