TURNING THE VISION INTO ACTION: DIASPORA ENGAGEMENT IN SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

There has been, for the past nearly 15 years, an increasing awareness on the role of Tanzanian Diasporas in stimulating national social and economic development. This awareness has been translated into action by increasing efforts on the part of the government to engage Tanzanian Diaspora to take part in social and economic development. To ensure these efforts are fruitful, Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar have been taking affirmative actions to create enabling environment for Tanzania Diaspora to take part in national building through various ways. It is evident that there has been increasing awareness among the Diaspora of their role in social and economic development which can be evidenced through various social and economic activities which Diaspora are undertaking in the country today. This topic therefore sets the motion to highlight the interplay between government, Diaspora and other stakeholders in harnessing Diaspora potential and entice the later for their continued engagement and participation in the available economic and social opportunities in the country. This discussion is therefore expected to ultimately accelerate the process of effective integration and mainstreaming of the Tanzanian Diaspora’s contributions in the development agenda.

INVESTMENT AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FOR TOMORROW

The topic carries the theme of the conference. The aim of this topic is to stimulate discussion on how Tanzanian Diaspora can participate extensively in tourism sector as a means to hasten investments in the country. As it is well documented today, tourism is becoming more and more important source of income to most countries in the world.  For many developing countries like Tanzania, tourism plays an important role in the economy primarily as a key source of foreign exchange earnings, creating job opportunities and stimulates other sectors of the economy. According to the 2015 Report of the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism industry created 7.2 million jobs and contributed $7.2 trillion to the gross domestic product last year. The Report shows the industry grew by 3.1 per cent and contributed to 9.8 to the global GDP. Likewise the report indicates that the industry is expected to grow by 4 percent annually over the next 10 years.

In Tanzania, the sector is one of the main source of foreign exchange earnings as well. For example, in Zanzibar, it is a lead sector of the economy which contributes about 80 percent of her foreign exchange earnings and 27 percent of GDP and as well as over 68 percent of investment inflows. The role of Diaspora in developing tourism sector in their countries of origin cannot be over emphasized. To Tanzania, Diaspora are expected to play various roles in promoting investment in tourism sector as investors, investment promotion agents as well as ambassadors to endorse Tanzania tourism potential. It is also expected that during discussion issue of Diaspora populations’ significant role in opening markets for new tourism destinations as well as markets for goods produced in and associated with the cultures of their countries of origin can be featured.

FRAMMING TANZANIA AS INDUSTRIAL NATION

Industrial development has been an integral part of Tanzania’s development strategies since independence. There have been ups and downs of the development of industrial sector in Tanzania which not only impacted sector’s development but also have overall been affecting the national development process. Recent statistics indicate that the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached 25 percent in 2015 from average of 8 percent in 1990s. Tanzanian’s Industrial policy mission is to contribute to the attainment of long term development goals as identified in the national development vision. The policy objectives target economic growth, human development and creation of employment opportunities as well as attain equitable development. The 5th Phase government of H.E Dr. John Pombe Magufuli and 7th Phase Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar under Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein have demonstrated their political will to turn Tanzania into an industrial nation. The question now is how can we go about it? What role do Diaspora can play to achieve this national endeavor? It is therefore expected that panelists and conference participants will centre their discussion by   dwelling on some critical questions that can lead Tanzania move from the current state of industrial inefficiency to vibrate industrial nation.

BUILDING A BRAND FROM OUTSIDE IN

Tanzania, like many developing countries, has put a lot of efforts to bring back its Diaspora to join hand with their brothers and sisters in national building. It is in the interest of Tanzania leadership today to see to it that Diaspora return home with their expertise and wealth of experience to support development process. It is no secret that among Diaspora, are many talented, well educated, highly skilled and well experienced experts who can bring change to the country. Among the countries which Diaspora who have proved that they can significantly bring about rapid transformations in their countries’ economies are from Republic of Korea, Philippines, China and India. Through persistence efforts by our leaders, there are substantial numbers of Tanzania Diaspora who have wholeheartedly embraced the call to come home and participate in development process. Among Tanzania Diaspora returnees are entrepreneurs and industrialists as well as those who have brought expertise and experience in various fields. In this session, we have selected some Tanzanian Diaspora returnees who will act as role model to other Diaspora to prove that there are always opportunities to grow and prosper within our country.            

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