Tanzania’s finance minister and chairman of the Board of Governors, Mustafa H. Mkulo, visited AfDB this week and briefed an informal Board meeting on the state of readiness for the Annual Meetings in Arusha in May.
He later also had talks with AfDB president Donald Kaberuka on various issues, including the performance of the portfolio in Tanzania.
Mkulo said: “I am satisfied with my meetings which were useful and successful.” On the theme of this year’s meetings, he said: “If we could succeed to agree on pushing the agenda on developing infrastructure, we shall have made a milestone that will make a big difference with other annual meetings we have had in the recent past.”
Question: What is the purpose of your current visit at the Bank and its aims?
Answer: I was glad, with my delegation, to attend an informal meeting of the Board of Directors to present a progress report on the preparation for the Annual Meetings. We presented the report and reviewed the arrangements with Board members. Board members were happy with the preparations and we had fruitful discussions.
With Mr Kaberuka, our discussions focused on global issues and Tanzania’s portfolio management. Tanzania’s portfolio is big and is performing well. The current portfolio consists of 23ongoing operations. This includes 15 national projects, two private sector operations and six multinational operations, amounting to a total commitment of UA 609.9 million. According to the Bank’s 2011 country portfolio performance review, the performance of the portfolio is rated satisfactory.
Tanzania is endowed with natural resource wealth that offers significant revenue potential. The overall economic outlook for the country remains positive, despite the medium-term fiscal challenges. Tanzania has attracted foreign direct investment in tourism, mining, agriculture and services over the last decade. The government has taken several initiatives to further improve the country’s investment climate. In terms of public-private partnerships, the government has mobilized all departments and parastatals to identify numerous projects suitable for investment with the private sector. My visit to the Bank was useful and successful with regard to the Annual Meetings preparations and discussions on the portfolio. I would like to thank Mr Kaberuka for inviting me.
Question: As the chairman of the Board of Governors, what are the main issues you plan to focus on during this year’s Annual Meetings?
Answer: We have agreed on certain issues on the agenda such as the potential of our youth and regional integration. How can the African Development Bank help regional member countries to create opportunities for young people and ensure their future? How to achieve this objective by involving the youth? With the African Development Bank, we plan to invite the youth, to see how we can promote their potential in contributing to development and ensuring a bright future for them.
We also recognize infrastructure as the engine of growth for African countries in the drive to reduce poverty and foster economic development and regional integration. Africa cannot develop without infrastructure integration. This will also be part of the key issues on the table during the annual meetings.
Question: Every year, the Bank’s Annual Meetings take place but are never alike. What, according to you, should make the difference to the meetings in Arusha? In other words, what can we expect in terms of new strategic decisions on Africa’s development?
Answer: What I believe is important for the continent today is to get a consensus on infrastructure integration of Africa. If we can succeed to agree on pushing the agenda on infrastructure, we shall have made a milestone that will make a difference with other annual meetings we have had in the recent past.