I will be speaking later today at the above event. My co-panelists will include Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy PM and Minister of Finance of Kenya, Hon. Syda Bbumba, Minister of Finance of Uganda, Hon Tandi Tobias-Pokolo, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of South Africa among other.
The theme of our panel discussion will be:
The Investors Roundtable or the IRT as we call it in Tanzania has been helpful in a number of important ways. It helped change the long held view that government policy formulation was a preserve of government officials. This was very important for a country that was still struggling with reforming its institutions after many years of socialist economic planning and management. The diverse experiences and knowledge that members of the IRT brought to bear on the IRT debates about issues facing the local economic and social environment was a welcome breath of fresh air and helped demonstrate especially to public officials the complexities of globalisation and why these could not be overcome by government efforts alone without enlisting the help of the local private sector.
Having said that, the IRT and its influence were resisted by conservative elements in the government right from the beginning and many efforts were made to hijack its agenda and make it more government-driven than a joint project of the private and public sectors. In the process some of the early momentum has been lost, the frequency of meetings has become erratic in recent years and the quality of the conversation when they happen has significantly degenerated. The tension between the differing expectations of the private and public sectors continues to to grow every day and only time will tell if the IRT will continue to be as positively influential in the future as it was intended to be.