Is our (#Tanzania) foreign policy strategy moving from Economic Diplomacy to Economic War?

The adoption of liberalization policies in Tanzania in early 1990s and partly out of the great achievement in obtaining independence in most Southern African countries, led Tanzania to abandon its #Liberation foreign policy strategy and adopted #EconomicDiplomacy.  With that, related actions and efforts followed – using legal and institutional amendments (see for example the Mining Act 1998)


“I am conscious of the criticism I am subjected to by some of my political opponents and compatriots that in an attempt to woo investors I have given away too much…Much as I understand the concerns of those who wished the government to mine gold itself, or take a larger share of the proceeds, I believe the path we have taken is a better alternative,…We will continue to nurture the kind of investment climate that will enable us to turn the mineral wealth underground into a catalyst for rapid growth and development of our country and its people…” Benjamin Mkapa, President of Tanzania (1995-2005),  in the speech delivered in  2000 in Geita. 


and active participation in the international community-  



“…..I remember my marketing journeys to New York, Denver, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and London. I went to tell the world about what Tanzania has to offer as an emerging market and invite them to come and invest in Tanzania….” Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania (2005-2015), in the speech delivered in 2007 at the Investing in African Mining Indaba XII, 6th Feb. 2007, p. 2

the country attracted a significant amount of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).The benefits of those were huge albeit controversial. The country experienced respectable levels of economic growth – at an annual average of 7% – for more than a decade from 2000s.

However, there were many reservations including persistent poverty levels, the rising levels of inequality, and arguably low revenues obtained from FDIs in particular from the mining sector out of bad contracts. Complaints and voices from the public including faith organizations, civil society organizations and some Members of Parliament led to the amendment of Mining Act (2010).  Nevertheless, there was still a big room for improvement and, of course, complaints remained. 

A critical juncture seems to be forming with the new administration of President John Pombe Magufuli who has declared Economic War with vivid battles directed to mining companies. Of course, this war is not of mere words. Recent legal amendments, declarations, and prospective closure of companies’ operations are a sign of the raging war.


Now, without saying much due to time immaturity as of now, I just wonder and may be asking  whether it is safe to start thinking or saying that Tanzania is changing its foreign policy strategy. Diplomacy and War are on the opposing sides…so we are definitely changing gears to R – or rather turning the wheel. There’s thus a need to start observing more systematically and study in order to contribute towards our understanding of Tanzania foreign policy and if possible, offer policy recommendations that can assist the country in the forthcoming battles and hardships that the war may bring. War is tough. My fellow Tanzanians let’s get prepared in this Economic War.

To academics- let’s be ready to observe, study and offer objective and simple analyses for every citizen to understand.

To other citizens- let’s roll up our sleeves as we match….

To faith leaders – pray and remind the rest of us about love and compassion…(many are going to get hurt)

To leaders in government- please update us on all fronts- both in loosing or winning.

God bless Tanzania!

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