Tuesday, February 19, 2008

President Bush walks through a ceremonial arrival cordon with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
U.S. President George W. Bush gets under an insecticide mosquito net, used to combat malaria, as he visits A to Z textile mills in Arusha, Tanzania, on Monday 18,2008.



February 19, 2008
ARUSHA, Tanzania - President Bush was swept up in an outpouring of affection Monday in Tanzania's rural north, where tens of thousands lined the road to see him. One woman burst into a dance of joy from a hug, and Maasai warriors leaped and chanted in his honor.Midway through a trek through five African nations that have benefited from U.S. aid, Bush spent the day near Mt. Kilimanjaro, highlighting the strides being made with his malaria program.During stops at a rural health complex and on a factory floor, Bush showcased benefits of the U.S.-led fight against the mosquito-borne disease that kills a million children each year in impoverished tropical countries.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


By Scott Stearns
Dar es Salaam
17 February 2008
President Bush and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete have signed a nearly $700-million grant to improve Tanzanian roads, energy, and water. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story from Tanzania.
US President George W. Bush as he greets patients in Amana District Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 17 Feb 2008. This is the largest-ever grant from the Bush Administration's Millennium Challenge Corporation, which ties assistance to good governance, rule of law, and free-market economics.
President Bush says it is money well spent.
"I will just put it bluntly. You know, America does not want to spend money on people who steal the money from the people. We like dealing with honest people and compassionate people. We want our money to go to help the human condition and to lift human lives," he said.
At a signing ceremony on the lawn of Dar es Salaam's State House, President Kikwete says the money will help reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth by improving the nation's energy supply and transportation network.
"This funding will go a long way to addressing some of our critical infrastructure challenges which have for a long time been an obstacle to our growth and development," said President Kikwete.
The five-year, $698-million grant will rehabilitate rural roads and improve the airport on Mafia Island to reduce travel times and transportation costs.
"The investment in roads will have a substantial impact on people in providing opportunities for farmers to get their goods to market but also to give the average Tanzanian better opportunities to get to health centers and to get to schools," said Darius Mans, who is the Millennium Challenge Corporation's vice president for compact implementation.
The grant funds new power generation with a hydropower plant on the Malagarasi River and a new under water transmission cable to the largest island in the Zanzibar archipelago.
It will also expand the capacity of Tanzania's main water treatment plant and boost distribution, which Mans says will improve health and education.
"Our investment in water supply and sanitation, for example, will reduce the prevalence of water-borne diseases,' said Mans. "They also will lead to a substantial reduction in the amount of time that women and young girls spend on fetching water so that they can invest in girls' education and economic opportunities."
In addition to making U.S. assistance dependent on good governance, the MCC also requires recipient countries to identify their own needs and demonstrate results.
Joyce Cacho is the director of agrobusiness initiatives at the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa, a private research group promoting investment on the continent. She says it is a fundamental shift in U.S. aid.
"It ensures that U.S. development assistance is in line with what countries want. And that is a point of agreement that used to have to be negotiated," said Cacho. "As a start-off point, that means more energy both from the U.S. side and the recipient country's side can be put to actually doing something."
The Tanzanian compact brings MCC's total commitment in Africa to $3.8 billion with programs in Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, and Mozambique.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Air Force one Lands in Dar-es-salaam International Airport (Tanzania)

Bush heads for Tanzania after brief trip to Benin

US President George W. Bush headed to Tanzania on Saturday after spending a few hours in Benin on the first leg of a five-country week-long African tour.
While in Cotonou Bush had talks with Benin's President Boni Yayi and appealed for an end to violence and a power-sharing agreement in Kenya.
Bush, looking to polish a legacy tarnished by the Iraq war, was also to travel to Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia on what was expected to be his final trip to the continent before leaving office in January 2009.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tanzania leader names Mustafa Mkulo as finance minister

By Wangui Kanina
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) -
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on Tuesday named Mustafa Mkulo as finance minister in his new cabinet.
The appointment, broadcast live on Tanzanian state radio, came after the previous cabinet was dissolved last Thursday following the resignation of Edward Lowassa.
He quit as prime minister over a probe into a contract, and parliament endorsed his successor, Mizengo Pinda, on Friday.
Until his appointment, Mkulo was a deputy minister in the Finance Ministry. He replaces Zakia Meghji, who lost her place in the cabinet.
Bernard Membe has kept the foreign affairs and international cooperation portfolio.
The new cabinet will have 26 ministries, down from a previous 29. It will also have 21 deputy ministers, as opposed to 31 previously.
"After two years we did an evaluation and saw that we could improve on our current system to help us become more efficient and to reduce costs," Kikwete said.
Tanzania State House said the new cabinet would be sworn in on Wednesday


February 2008
Daniel Said Dar es Salaam
While the Tanzania government is investigating and tracing the US$131 million External Payment Arrears (EPA) funds which were stolen from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), it's now clear that five major banks colluded and participated in money laundering.
The banks, both local and international, are hiding behind the letters of BoT confirming the transfers to be legitimate, but they violated their own internal code of conduct and international financing regulations.
Banking experts have it that the government should charge major banks with money laundering, capital flight by opening offshore accounts for EPA companies, shareholders and for causing great economic harm with the transactions, increasing inflation and causing the shilling to devalue 30% in four months due to illegal buying of the US dollar from the markets.
They urge the Tanzanian government to report such banks to the International Monetary Fund as well as central banks in their own countries.
Following this discovery, Mr. Juma Reli, the BoT deputy governor, told East African Business Week last week, "The banks are being investigated in order to establish how they dealt with money transfers." "The Presidential Committee formed by President Jakaya Kikwete will among other things look into how the process of money transfer was done between BoT and other commercial banks," he said.
The Committee's chairman is Mr. Johnson Mwanyika, and is also graced by the Attorney General, Dr. Edward Hosea, Prevention and Control of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) boss, and Mr. Said Mwema the Inspector General of police. The major international banks received billions of shillings from BoT, but they had a prudential duty to know their customers. Failure to do that and giving chance for transfer of funds abroad was illegal and punishable by law.
At the centre of controversy was the fact that since most companies were not even open for a few months and some were not even companies but simple business names, it should have raised suspicions from the bank's managing directors and their Internal Credit managers.
Such volumes of transactions can only be done with an approval of the banks' managing directors.
East African Business Week can reveal that some banks confirmed with BoT when recipients came to collect funds in cash from those banks. BoT confirmed such letters but nevertheless, banks remained in violation of national financial regulations by changing Tanzania shillings into US dollars and opening more accounts at branches for the same recipients to deposit the same cash.
A source from one of the banks told East African Business Week last week that since the amount of US dollars available in the market is limited, and EPA culprits were looking for US dollars, banks requested and received millions of dollars from BoT for the same EPA funds to change into dollars. Large funds were transferred to many accounts off shore.
It's estimated that about 70% of the $131million swindled from the EPA account is starched in foreign banks. The remaining 30% was used to buy plots of land in prime areas in Dar es Salaam city, houses, cars and other fixed assets. He said in order to ease the deal, banks coordinated with forex bureaus by giving out cash to do transfer because bureaus do not have funds of this type.
In some instances, an international banks opened off-shore accounts for EPA culprits and sent funds through such forex bureaus. "About four foreign banks in Dar Salaam managed to transfer over $25 million. One of them was a direct recipient of EPA funds through shareholding in one company," he said adding that one international bank set up an office for the private banking arm in the bank premises and later at an international hotel to serve such clients thus causing capital flights.
In Tanzania, US dollars are only accessible to people and companies involved in the import trade against invoices, but major banks continued to give US dollars to EPA culprits against these regulations. Most surprising, the source said, is the fact that even when the government ordered that accounts of these companies be attached, the banks continued operating and holding accounts for the same shareholders in different names and transferring funds into their associate companies.
"In some instances, the banks informed the shareholders to draw cash quickly or assisted in transfers while knowing President Jakaya Kikwete had ordered the investigation and possible prosecution of the same people," he said.
Recently, a special audit by Messrs Ernst & Young discovered that more than $131 million was improperly paid to 22 local firms through the BoT's External Payment Arrears (EPA) Account.
It discovered that payments to firms were made without observing rules and procedure and in some cases fake documents and forged records were used.
Although president Kikwete has directed that further investigations be conducted in order to get more evidence for possible prosecution and that all culprits accounts be frozen, a lot of funds are said to have been transferred abroad mainly to Dubai and Swiss banks.