Economists wary of BRICS initiatives, transparency snags
Experts have cautioned the government to be careful in handling foreign investors coming to the country offering contracts without transparency.
Participating in a debate organized by Policy Forum over the weekend in Dar es Salaam to evaluate investments from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in Tanzania as an alternative to western predominance in accelerating development, stakeholders said that most investors coming to invest in Tanzania have contracts employing complicated terms with a lot of conditions that do not benefits locals.
Mzumbe University Lecturer Dr Darlene Mutalemwa said that BRICS are important investors and trading partners, project contractors for Tanzania.
BRICS were expanding and deepening ties with Tanzania as at present the country has a significant opportunity for growth and economic transformation, she stated.
“BRICS states need to be more active and transparent in dialogue with Tanzania and in the multilateral system in presenting how they want to contribute to Tanzania’s development and reduction of poverty clearly articulated in MKUKUTA,” the lecturer underlined.
“Brics may have to clarify more on how their vision for increased South-South co-operation will translate into better opportunities for Tanzania and a reduction in poverty,” she said.
It is important for the government of Tanzania to engage with Brics in consideration of development cooperation policies, as well as the need for the newly emerging major economies to pay attention to implications positions on governance issues and nature of foreign direct investments (FDIs),” she said.
“Engagement with BRICS states is becoming more important but their presence has not been felt in dialogue mechanisms.
Given that BRICS have local offices in the country, they should be engaged at country-level annual discussion for such as annual policy week, MKUKUTA and MKUZA working groups or associated informally as much as is possible in the development partners group framework,” she stated, apparently equating BRICS with traditional donor countries.
Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) director of membership services Louis Accaro said that BRICS block can not claim to speak for the emerging world, and Tanzania does not see anything in common between us and them.
“They have come from a similar social-economic environment, but developed at a faster rate than us,” he said.
In 1961 we were nearly at the same level of development with China, but today is a superpower while some parts of rural China are similar to our rural Tanzania,” he ventured to suggest.
Yulli Jeremia, an assistant lecturer in political science at the Dar es Salaam University College of Education said the problem with the BRICS group is that they are not open as to what they are investing in the country, so they is a need to have a framework for monitoring initiatives from these countries.
“If BRICS countries are really in need of cooperating with mutual benefit then they need to be transparent,” he said.
Gilead Teri, a policy and budget analyst coordinator from the Agricultural Non State Actors Forum (ANSAF) suggested that the government should focus on regional economic integration since shares a lot with neighboring countries.