The US government will provide 7bn US dollars for the project that will involve provision of Energy to Africa. Mr Obama said that “Africa will not be the continent of darkness but rather the continent of light.” Africa needs to thank the US for its heart-felt initiative.
Tanzania stands to benefit immensely from the US offer. The plan will also benefit Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda and Mozambique. Provision of adequate electricity to the Wananchi is a welcome initiative. It is also a boon in national economy.
But there are numerous other areas that must be tackled, not necessarily with help from the US government, but with homegrown endeavours. Poverty is one of the most profound problems that afflict the Wananchi. It is a nettling affront. The conundrum here is that there seems to be no panacea for the problem.
The population boom, for example, is one of the ominous factors that hinder efforts to alleviate poverty. Joblessness in towns and hostile climate in villages are other hitches. A few months ago President Jakaya Kikwete said that Tanzania is headed for a bleak economic future if the current population growth rate is allowed to escalate unchecked.
The galloping national population stands at about 44 million people at the moment. Given the current population growth rate the national head count will stand at 51 million in 2016 and this will be a huge burden to national economy and society in general.
The president said it will be quite difficult to cater for such a huge population. The government, he said, must come up with clear-cut strategies that will help check the population boom. Well, the president was right. The already alarmed government should reverse all policies that encourage or accept large families.
So, Tanzania has close to 45 million people. This is something akin to a population explosion. Knowledge of the population is highly critical to national development. This figure will aid economic growth, development and adequate provision of social services.
If we don’t know what the nation’s population is, the government cannot budget properly and ensure effective provision of services. So, there would always be a shortage of everything – electricity, water, transport, roads, education and health services.
If demands are higher than what the government can provide, schools will not cope, hospitals will fail, there won’t be enough housing and not much will be done to steer forward economic development. Nevertheless, we salute President Obama.