THE HONOURABLE EDWARD LOWASSA (MP)
MINISTER OF STATE (VICE-PRESIDENT'S OFFICE) OF
THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
26TH-30TH JUNE 2000
Mr. Secretary General,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please allow me on behalf of the
Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, to express our sincere gratitude
to the people and Government of Switzerland for playing the perfect host and
the excellent arrangements made for the Summit. Mr. President, I also take this
opportunity to congratulate you and other members of the bureau for your election
to steer the work of this meeting. My delegation is confident that under your
wise guidance our deliberations will be crowned with great success.
Mr. President, we are gathered here
today to take stock of experiences gained in the course of implementing the
Copenhagen Platform of Action, endorsed during the World Summit for Social Development
in 1995. For us in Tanzania, the Copenhagen Platform of Action has acted as
a tonic to rekindle and rejuvenate previous initiatives in the area of social
development and social integration in our development endeavours.
Despite the existence of formidable
challenges, Tanzania has recorded signif icant achievements in the area of social
transformation and development since 1995. For example, the GDP growth rate
has increased from 3.6% in 1995 to 4.7% in 1999. Per capita GDP has also increased
from US$170 to US$252 in 1999. The rate of inflation has declined from 27.4
in 1995 to 7.8 in 1999. Net primary education enrolment ratio has improved from
55.4% to 57% and the infant mortality ratio has improved from 88 per 1000 in
1995 to 86 per 1000 in 1999.
Mr. President, Tanzania believes
that providing social services such as education, safe water and health, including
reproductive health services to the population is a fundamental obligation of
the state and is a human rights issue. However, access to these services is
strongly related to regular income generation that in the process leads to poverty
reduction, employment promotion with greater equity and equality and consequently
contributes to enhanced quality of I i f e. Over the years, the government has
taken action to create an enabling environment for economic and social development
through assuring access as a matter of rights to provision of equity and equality
of social and economic opportunities while extending broad participation in
decision-making process. Similarly action has been taken towards enhancing gender
equality and elimination of all forms of discrimination against the disadvantaged
groups in society. I am pleased to inform you that the adoption of macro economic
and sector policies as well as the restructuring of public sector institutions
is already having positive impact on the provision of services, enhancement
of economic growth and creation of employment opportunities.
Mr. President, Tanzania is grouped among the least developed countries with a per capita GOP of about US $250.
About half of her population lives below the poverty line of US $0.65 a day. A big proportion of these live in abject poverty spending less than a dollar on consumption a day. The Tanzania government has identified a number of priority areas for intervention in addressing poverty. These' include strengthening basic education especially of the girl child, increasing transparency and promoting consultative fora for exchange of ideas among all stakeholders. Besides, a number of measures have been taken to address poverty and related issues. These include mandating the Vice President's Office with the overall coordination of poverty eradication initiatives as well as adopting a multi-dimensional National Poverty Eradication Strategy. The strategy has targeted the years 2015 for reducing abject poverty by half and 2025 for total poverty eradication. A "Poverty and Welfare Monitoring Indicators" handbook has been developed for guiding performance and monitoring achievements.
Mr. President, among the major opportunities
that Tanzania has in fighting poverty, include the peace and tranquillity that
the country enjoys, enhanced democratisation, increased communitybased ownership
of programmes and the actions being taken by government to enhance governance.
Nevertheless, Tanzania is learning through bitter experience that insecurity
in the Great Lakes countries is greatly undermining her internal security. Tanzania
is a home of refugees from civil strife in warring neighbouring states. While
protection for human rights for the refugees is essential as stipulated in the
UN Conventions, the persistent influx. of .refugees in the country is a threat
to peace, environmental protection and social development in the receiving regions
of the country. It is therefore imperative for the international community to
work for peace in these states and participate in rehabilitating social services,
economic infrastructure and the environment, as a way of consolidating peace
in .areas of conflict, and assisting poor refugees hosting states.
Mr. President, although Tanzania
has scored some achievements towards the implementation of the Social Summit
Goals, there are a number of obstacles which have impeded our speed and even
put some inertia on our efforts. First and foremost, in the course of implementing
poverty reduction measures Tanzania, like other less developed countries, is
constrained by the debt-servicing burden, which reduces our ability to allocate
more resources to social development. On the average, since 1995, the government
has been spending about forty percent of her domestic revenue in servicing debts
per annum. In an effort to address the problem the government launched a Multilateral
Debt Relief Fund (MDRF) in 1997 to which a number of bilateral donors have generously
contributed. Recently, Tanzania has qualified for debt relief under the Enhanced
Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. A poverty reduction strategy
that will direct the gains from this initiative to poverty reduction related
activities are currently being finalized. As we have repeatedly stated in many
other international f ora, the debt problems facing the least developed countries
require urgent solutions. While appreciating measures so far taken it is regrettably
noted that these measures have not proven to redress adequately this devastating
handicap. Taking into account the international consensus that extra measures
are urgently needed to assist the developing countries to extricate themselves
from the debt trap it is our expectations that this summit will make a firm
commitment to the request for the cancellation of both bilateral and multilateral
debts of highly indebted poor countries.
Mr. President, secondly is the problem
of inadequate domestic resources coupled 'with the decline in resource flows
from our collaborating and development partners: , In the light of declining
external assistance, Tanzania has developed a strategy (TAS), which outlines
a homegrown development assistance 'strategy for the purpose of optimizing aid
Mr. President, implementation of the reform agenda and the deliberate policy'of government to eradicate poverty have resulted in the increase of resource allocation to social sectors. The share of budgetary resources allocation to the social sectors has been increasing gradually from less than twenty percent in 1995 to thirty five percent in 1999. Nevertheless, we are in a situation in which more is not enough.
For successful implementation of
our reform agenda more collaboration with our development partners is essential.
Mr. President, in the present environment
of an increasingly globalised world economy no country is isolated from the
other and the impact of development in one part of the world is felt all over.
The consequences of financial or economic turbulences are particularly severe
for developing countries. It is therefore essential, that national efforts be
supplemented through international cooperation. The need is for new and additional
resources flowing from the developed countries to assist others. Creating of
a just, equitable, and non-discriminatory international economic environment
that is conducive to social development and sensitive to the needs of the poor
is urgently required.
Mr. President, since the emergence
of the HIV/AI©5 pandemic in the world about two decades ago a number of
setbacks have accrued through the weakening, reduction and deprivation of the
much , needed labour force. By December 1998 , Tanzania was estimated to have
over 1.6 million people infected by HIV and the epidemic was spreading steadily
throughout the country. The infection rate is ranging from 20-24 percent in
some urban areas and about 7-10 percent in many rural areas. Therefore, the
need to fight this disease with full force cannot be over emphasized. In Tanzania,
all efforts are being made to reduce the spread of this, killer disease on many
fronts. To that effect a highpowered National Advisory HIV/AIDS Committee to
compliment the. National Aids Control Programme has been formed. HIV/AIDS is
no longer considered as an issue exclusive for the health sector but a multisectoral
concern. A Medium Term Programme has been developed for the control of the disease.
All sectors of government and other agencies are involved in the fight and domestic
funding has been greatly increased. Nevertheless, as the spread of the disease
is gaining more momentum we are realizing that as a country we need to do more
to fight the spread. The international community also needs to redouble its
efforts in the control of the epidemic.
Mr. President, these existing limitations
do not in any manner alter our commitment to the Platform of Action. In this
regard, Tanzania will continue to promote the public and private sector partnership
for sustainable programming and development; continue restructuring public service
institutions for enhanced efficiency and cost effectiveness. Furthermore, Tanzania
will continue taking stepped up measures towards poverty eradication.
Mr. President, before I conclude
my statement may I make an observation that the state of the world social development
is in a crisis. The crisis is more severe in the developing countries in which
past gains in social development are at a threat of being eroded and reversed.
As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider. This Summit
should bear in mind the fact that we are all in the same boat, and therefore
we have a common. destiny: It is impossible, in the long run, to maintain high
levels of social development in one region while widespread and deepening poverty
and human degradation prevail in others.
Mr. President, it is our high expectation
that the results of this summit will rekindle the-collective commitment made
in 1995 and provide the means to effectively support the further implementation
of the programme of Action with clear objectives, strategies and targets.
I thank you all for your attention.