Tanzania to receive £19m aid from Ireland

 

TANZANIA is to receive almost £19 million in aid from Ireland over the next three years under an agreement signed here by the Minister of State for Overseas Cooperation, Ms Joan Burton.

The deal is one of the largest such agreements ever concluded and confirms Tanzania as a priority destination for Irish aid.

The equivalent of more than £41 million in support has been provided since the bilateral aid programme was established in 1974. The Government has also committed itself to additional support for the East African republic, to be channelled through aid agencies, for study fellowships and, if required, for emergency humanitarian assistance.

Most of the funding agreed under the framework for co operation for 1997 to 1999 will go on existing rural development, education and health projects, as well as new projects in agricultural research, tourism and local government training.

The agreement was formally signed yesterday by Ms Burton and Tanzania's acting Minister for Finance, Mr Daniel Yona.

It follows the completion of a major review of Irish aid to the country, which found that substantial progress had been made in a number of projects. However, the review also complained of some "policy confusion and inconsistency" in Irish aid and called for greater clarity and consistency in a number of areas.

As a result, the new district programmes will the more focused on basic services and on sustainable development. This follows the experience of other European donors who found that many activities closed down once the flow of aid stopped. For example, in many areas up to 60 per cent of water supply projects had ceased operation only a few years after being set up.

Mr Yona said his government was committed to using the promised Irish aid effectively in the agreed areas. In future it would rely more on trade and in vestment, and less on grants, for developing Tanzania's economy, he said.

Ms Burton welcomed the emphasis of the current Tanzanian government which came to power after the first multi party elections in 1995 on improving economic management and combating corruption.

Since 1986, the government has been moving away steadily from a centrally controlled economy to a more mixed economy increasingly open to market forces. Although the new policy is starting to produce results, spending has been cut drastically in areas such as education and health.

Ms Burton and her husband, Mr Pat Carroll, also paid a visit yesterday to the University of Dar es Salaam, where they both taught for three years in the 1980s.

In the evening, they held a reception for the 200 strong Irish community at the new Irish embassy in the city.

Ms Burton travels to Rwanda later in the week, where she hopes to attend one of the trials in Kigali being held to deal with alleged perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.

Reuter adds from Arusha: The international tribunal on Rwanda's 1994 genocide sits today in this northern Tanzanian town hoping to hear evidence from witnesses for the first time.

The prosecution is expected to call witnesses in the trial of Mr Jean Paul Akayesu (43) before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), a tribunal spokesman said yesterday.

Mr Akayesu, a former mayor in central Rwanda's Taba commune, has pleaded not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity and genocide during the killing of a bout 800,000 minority Tutsis and political moderates of the majority Hutu tribe between April and June 1994.

His trial was adjourned last October to allow the defence time to prepare its case but will now restart at ICTR headquarters.

"This is the first time that we will see people who will testify `I saw this or I saw that or I saw someone giving orders to kill'," Mr Bocar Sy, a tribunal official, said.

Witnesses, likely to be fellow residents of the Taba commune who survived the genocide, were being brought to Arusha tight security, Mr Sy said.