Tanzania has made significant strides towards freedom in the last two decades, after its breakaway from socialism in the 1980s. Economic liberalization and structural reforms have helped to spur economic growth and poverty reduction, but the East African nation still has significant obstacles to overcome. Atlas Network’s partner in Tanzania, the Uhuru Initiative for Policy & Education (UIPE), is proving to be an energetic and promising organization that aims to help Tanzania leap past its economic and cultural hurdles and sprint toward freedom and prosperity.
UIPE held its first annual Economic Freedom of Tanzania Conference in Dar es Salaam on April 7, bringing together members of parliament, journalists, and businessmen to debate and analyze the roadblocks that have hindered international trade and economic freedom. Presenters included Fred McMahon from the Fraser Institute in Canada, representatives from the Tanzania Revenue Authority, the Institute of Tax Administration, the Tanzania Trade Development Authority, and the Mozambique-Tanzania Centre for Foreign Relations.
“We discussed how to achieve a free-trade area in East and Southern Africa by removing roadblocks that exist, such as non-tariff barriers and achieving a single custom union within the region,” said UIPE Executive Director Isack Danford. “However, the major limitation to the envisioned free-trade area are the controls on the movement of people and capital, something which has to be worked on.”
Also discussed at the conference was the potential for the Dar es Salaam Port, which is currently plagued by mismanagement and corruption, to become a major trade hub for East Africa. Tanzanian Minister of East African Co-operation Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe was interviewed on the sidelines of the conference by the The African, which paraphrased him as saying that, if the port is properly managed, “it can transform the country’s economy and contribute half of the national revenue in the next three years.”