wavuti.com Updates


Napenda kuwataarifu kuwa blogu hii inapumzishwa rasmi na tovuti mpya imezaliwa kwa jina www.wavuti.com

This is to inform you that this blog has been retired. A new website to take her place is up and running at www.wavuti.com

Monday, December 15, 2008

TweetThis! Web-chat : Mark Green, U.S. Ambassador & Tanzania - Dec 15th, 08

Below is a transcript form the US embassy between Tanzanians who knew about the event and participated in the chat with Mr. Mark Green, the US Ambassador to Tanzania.

Amb. Green: Karibuni to my second web-chat from Tanzania! I last did one of these in October 2007, about a month after my arrival. And now I find myself likely doing my last Webchat as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania (more on that later).

I must admit, I am still amazed by this wonderful technology. It is such a great tool to reach out to those within Tanzania – and, of course, those outside of Tanzania -- who are interested in what’s happening in this beautiful country. Since we last “chatted,” I have been able to visit nearly every single region of the country. I’m planning on getting to the south before my imminent departure next month, and I will then be able to say I’ve been “everywhere” (to every region) throughout Tanzania.
Let’s get to your questions.

Question: Do you see/feel increasing presence of developing and developed countries on the African continent? We hear/see now that more countries shift their attention to Africa for their interest in natural resources and the method could be varied, ranging from business format or ODA format. How is their presence received by people? Are they welcoming? Some African leaders seemed to worry that ODA make the countries more dependent on the donating country. Do you agree with them?

Amb. Green: I would have to let the Tanzanians answer the question as to whether the presence of donors is welcome here. I would like to emphasize that I have felt warmly welcomed throughout my tenure as American Ambassador and the Tanzanian people here are wonderful. I’ve heard similar stories from my counterparts at the other embassies.

Tanzania has nearly fifty bilateral partners resident in this country, and several more who are based in Nairobi. There are mostly African and European nations operating here, but some new global players including China, Brazil and India, are also present and making an impact. The Republic of Turkey is planning on opening an Embassy in the first part of 2009.

Most of us work together through what is known as the “Donors Partner Group” or DPG for short. About forty percent of Tanzania’s annual budget comes from the DPG, so the coalition sometimes plays a significant role on development issues. While the U.S. does not contribute directly to General Budget Support, we are this nation’s largest bilateral donor. Last fiscal year (which ended September 30th), the American people, through our government, provided approximately $662 million in bilateral and multilateral assistance to Tanzania. The largest portion of that funding went towards assisting Tanzania in combating health challenges like HIV/AIDS and Malaria.

Some back in the U.S. have apparently asked the question of “why the sudden interest in Africa?” Well, I believe President George Bush said it best: “Africa's most valuable resource is not its oil, it's not its diamonds, it is the talent and creativity of its people. So we are partnering with African leaders to empower their people to lift up their nations and write a new chapter in their history.”

Question: Greetings Mr. Ambassador: Tanzania is such a wonderful country with a rich tapestry of resources. However, there is still much work needed, particularly in the areas of technology and information literacy. What are your plans for confronting illiteracy and the digital divide in Tanzania?

Amb. Green: That is a great question. And I agree with you, Tanzania is a wonderful country and has a tremendous future if it can capitalize on its natural beauty and resources, and work together to improve educational and economic opportunities for Tanzanian families. I do believe this country’s leadership is genuinely interested in seeing their nation develop and advance economically.

Developing technology is a tremendous challenge here. While you are reading my words on your computer (probably at home—or work), statistics I have seen suggest that only about 1.3% of Tanzanians are able to use the internet. I’m hoping that will change with some public private partnerships taking place here through organizations like the Gates Foundation and others.

To help encourage the use of the internet here, we’ve worked to update our Mission's website http://tanzania.usembassy.gov on a daily basis to inform Tanzanians about the various programs we carry out in Tanzania on behalf of the American people. We’ve also used the website to inform Tanzanians about opportunities available to them in the U.S., for example the Fulbright Fellowship or pursuing higher education in American colleges and universities.

We are also getting ready to launch in the next month a Virtual Presence Post (VPP) for Zanzibar. While a VPP isn’t an embassy or consulate, it is one way we can use emerging technologies to recognize the strong relationship we’ve had with the islands since 1837.

We’ve also been able to modestly increase access to the internet in certain places here. For example, we’ve donated computers with internet access to schools like the Muslim Academy of Zanzibar and the BAKWATA Secondary School here in Dar es Salaam.

We also have computers with internet access available here at the U.S. Mission in Msasani at the Thomas Pickering Information Resource Center (free! and open to the public! Monday-Thursday 9-5 p.m. and Friday 9-11:30—this is where we provide educational advising and also have books and periodicals, dvds and films, available for Tanzanians to check out and borrow); we also have two American Corners with computers/internet access (and more resources) available at the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) and at the Chake Chake Public Library on Pemba.

The digital divide exists, but it is slowly shrinking everyday. My staff is looking at various social networking sites, including Facebook and some Tanzanian blogs, to see how we can interact with Tanzanian youth.

We're also looking at reaching out to youth wings of the various Tanzanian political parties to demonstrate how the campaigns back in the U.S. maximized outreach, encouraging people to get involved and volunteer (and raise funds) using the internet. We hope this encourages wider turnout and civic involvement, particularly from the youth (44.4% of Tanzanians are under age 15), as Tanzania gets ready for national elections in 2010.

Question: What plans are the U.S. government implementing in Tanzania in order to overcome poverty, unemployment, and health problems (AIDS, Malaria, etc.)?

These issues are what keep us working hard here on a daily basis. One large effort we are undertaking to help Tanzanian leaders overcome poverty is through the Millennium Challenge Act, and the entity it launched, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, or “MCC.” By the way, the MCC Board in Washington just reauthorized Tanzania to continue implementation of its $698.1 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (the largest compact ever, in any country in the world).
The MCC Compact is not just a grant. Rather, it is a compact, or agreement with reciprocal obligations, between the American people and the Tanzanian people to help address infrastructure challenges like improving roads and providing uninterrupted electrical power and clean water. Under the Compact, Tanzanians pledge a renewed emphasis on transparency and fighting corruption. The obligations the Compact has for both parties -- the United States and Tanzania – will improve the economic and governing prospects of the Tanzanian people.

On HIV/AIDS, the United States is a global leader in combating this dreaded disease worldwide through PEPFAR, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This 10-year, $48 billion program, is the largest initiative in history to combat a single disease. Since its inception in 2003, the American people have provided over $817 million (over 1 trillion Tsh/-) to combat HIV/AIDS throughout Tanzania.

Tanzania is also a focus country for the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI). In the last fiscal year, the American people provided $34 million dollars to fight this entirely avoidable disease. Many Americans know little about malaria, but the disease wreaks havoc on so many Tanzanian families, and it falls most heavily on pregnant mothers and children under the age of five. The good news on this front is that tremendous progress has been made in fighting this scourge -- especially on the islands of Zanzibar, where over 1 million Tanzanians make their homes. We’re on track to essentially eliminate malaria there.

Question: How have Tanzanians responded to and used the money and resources from the United States to fight AIDS? Has there been any progress?

Amb. Green: Absolutely! We can credit PEPFAR, but also Tanzanian leadership, especially President Kikwete and his wife, Mama Salma Kikwete. In July 2007, they publicly tested for HIV/AIDS and encouraged all Tanzanian citizens to do so as well. Since then, over 4 million Tanzanians have been tested. The infection rate has actually dropped from 7% to 5.2%. So success, yes!

Also, my wife, Sue, has traveled with First Lady (Salma) Kikwete and talked about combating the stigma of HIV/AIDS. She joined the First Lady to see what our implementing partners have been doing to serve Orphans and other Vulnerable Children affected by disease.

I have no doubt the United States will continue to work closely with the United Republic of Tanzania to strengthen the health of this nation and fulfill President Kikwete’s vision of a “Tanzania free of HIV.”

Question: Does the economic crisis in the U.S. have ramifications for the developing world?

Amb. Green: The economy certainly does have an impact. One obvious and immediate impact is in the area of tourism. Tanzania is a long way from the U.S. (there are no direct flights; travelers either have to go through Europe or South Africa to get here), and if the economy is weak people will be tempted not to come. I've been hearing anecdotally from tour companies that at least some folks are cancelling their planned trips out here. Another area affected by the economy has been on the businesses sector, due to their need to access credit. The effects are not yet dramatic, but all of the signs from the World Bank are that there could be a serious effect. Rising food and oil prices would also create a real problem.

Question: How can Nongovernmental Organizations further work together with the government of Tanzania to continue the current successes for women's rights and water access in Tanzania? What are the funding opportunities for small organizations cooperating with small Tanzanian organizations?

Amb. Green: There are many NGO's working here and doing great things. Each year, we recognize a Tanzanian woman as our nominee to the Secretary of State's International Woman of Courage Award. This past year, we selected a lawyer, Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, who is the Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre. Dr. Kijo-Bisimba personally participated in ensuring the enactment of the renowned Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act, which provides special provisions for offences that oppressed women and children. This legislation is regularly used in courts of law to provide harsh sentences to offenders. She also worked to ensure that the Anti Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) legislation was enacted by Parliament. She also successfully challenged election candidates using “takrima” or bribes to influence voters. This is only one example of the organizations doing great things here. I would recommend liaising with organizations you'd like to help over the internet. While a lot need additional funding, most could use technical expertise and more volunteers to share their skills, whether that's in book keeping, or learning a new trade.

Question: I am considering doing some volunteer eye care work in Africa in the coming year. Do you consider Tanzania safe for this sort of short term (2 weeks ) work?

Amb. Green: Absolutely, there are countless Americans who come to Tanzania each year to volunteer their time. There have certainly been incidents of petty crime here, and more violent crime on rare occasions, but for the most part Tanzania is a safe country. You shouldn't do anything you wouldn't do back home (walk alone in the dark in an unfamiliar area, etc.) Volunteers require a special visa, so check with the Tanzanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., before you arrive. Also, before you travel, visit travel.state.gov – the State Department's website with the latest information on safety and security in every country throughout the world.

Question: What is the best way to plan a trip to see the true Tanzania?

Amb. Green: There are some excellent tour companies here. You might want to do an internet search and enter “Tanzania and tourism” to get you started. Also, the Tanzanian Government (www.tanzania.go.tz/tourism.html) has been making a concerted effort to increase tourism here in Tanzania.

Last year, there were nearly 1 million visitors here. Traditionally, the largest number of tourists here have been British, and in many parts of Zanzibar, Italian. But that’s changing – more and more Americans are coming to see this beautiful country and to enjoy Tanzania’s famous hospitality. There are ads on CNN in the U.S. and a campaign in the UK on the red double-decker buses and taxi cabs throughout London touting “Tanzania, Land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, and the Serengeti. As I mentioned before, there is genuine concern about the economic situation currently gripping the world, but this is definitely a country worth visiting. Whether you’re into hiking and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or relaxing on one of Zanzibar’s beautiful beaches, or trekking out to the Serengeti to see the annual migration of many thousands of wildebeest, or visiting the famous chimpanzee reserve of Gombe Stream Park (where Jane Goodall does research), Tanzania has something for everyone.

Question: What is it like to live in Tanzania?

Amb. Green: In one word: wonderful! Tanzania has so much to offer, and I've tried to make the most of my time here. One advantage I've had here that I didn't in my previous occupations (like when I was a congressman or when Sue and I served as volunteer teachers in Kenya before we were married) has been the time I’ve had to see Africa with my family. Being able to see this great country through the eyes of my kids has been one of the most rewarding experiences you can imagine.

My son is in 8th grade and recently did a school project contrasting some things from Green Bay and Dar es Salaam. One of them was when we went to an iftar, that's the meal that breaks the fast for Ramadan. We were sitting on grass mats and each of us began by eating a date. And then there was a feast under the stars and the moon. Just to see in his eyes this sense of wonder – a very special moment indeed! We also took a climb up Mount Meru. I shared this experience with the delegates at the Leon Sullivan Summit in June. For me, it is a parable of what one is able to accomplish with hard work and effort.

I'm very grateful to friends and supporters who have essentially enabled me to serve here . . . and of course, President Bush and members of the U.S. Senate. I hope that people in Northeastern Wisconsin are proud that my family and I are here. I know I am very proud of all that our great embassy Team has accomplished here in the United Republic of Tanzania.

I will leave here at the end of January 2009, knowing that the friendship between America and Tanzania is stronger than ever before. No one here would say that Tanzania has “arrived” – that it has met all of its largest challenges – but it is certainly heading on the right path. And I believe that we’re walking shoulder to shoulder with Tanzanians down that path . . .from fighting the scourges of malaria and HIV/AIDS, to assistance with infrastructure needs and economic development, to working together against violent extremism, we are helping to lift lives and build communities in this important part of the world.

Again, I want to thank all of you who wrote in. I believe I answered nearly all the questions posed during the webchat. For those that don’t see their question here, I’ve asked my staff to get back to you directly. I am glad to know that there are individuals throughout the U.S. who, like me, have created a bond with Tanzania. Whether you came as a backpacker and learned kidogo ki-Swahili, or to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and do some voluntary medical work, or you’re a missionary strengthening the communities you live in and become a part of, I am proud to know that you are representing the American people well. I always tell Americans I meet here who are doing great things that they are the true American Ambassadors. I know I’m going to miss Tanzania, and I hope to return like my predecessors have done--often. I look forward to seeing Tanzania fulfill its potential and create an even stronger democratic nation that continues to be a regional leader in bringing peace and stability to the African continent and beyond. Asenteni!

0 feedback :

Recent Comments . Kauli za Wasomaji


More Opportunities ads