Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Book Launch: Tanzania in the Age of Change...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Fraught with Land Acquisition Risks: LNG Project

Tanzania`s LNG Project Fraught with Land Acquisition Risks

There are indications that the government, and the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project consortium, are determined to explore ways to take the (delayed) $30 billion project forward, after nearly four years of limited activity. The slowdown was due to multiple factors - global and national, such as contentious land acquisition process for the project, low oil price, leadership transition within the national oil company (TPDC), limited negotiation capacity, and the general election in 2015, and its aftermath, especially Acacia`s copper concentrate issue. 

Notably, what started as a row over concentrates in March 2017, evolved into a broad scrutiny of the mining sector, symbolized by multiple investigation committees, and culminated into significant policy changes in July, 2017.

Reportedly, the government has not yet reached a final agreement with Barrick – Acacia`s parent company, but this seems not to be a distraction anymore. At least not to the government, given its renewed interest in the LNG project, as signalled by the decision to “prioritize”it in the 2018/2019 budget. The (ultimate) objective is to improve energy supply, which is central to achieving the fifth phase regime`s central agenda – industrialization. 

Apart from industrialization, rural electrification is expanding demand for energy, and thus straining available capacity. Another notable action that points to government commitment is the decision to hire a consultant to support its Negotiation Team (GNT) as it seeks to work out a framework for the project. This is strategic and, if done well, will not only enhance government stake, but also shorten the turn-around time, which has been a challenge in the past.
Graph shows Percentage Distribution of Households Connected to Electricity.
Source: NBS, 2016 – Energy Access Situation Report.

Commitment signals, as highlighted above, will not be sufficient to reassure consortium partners, after a tumultuous period of reform. Oil and gas companies prefer “stability” (interpreted as maintenance of terms that protect and guarantee their interests) and concerns arising from last year`s legislative reforms will likely feature in the LNG negotiation. 

As such, companies will, undoubtedly, seek to obtain significant guarantees through the project agreement and may, in the process, deliberately depict the government as a sole player responsible for ensuring policy stability. Fortunately, experience from the row over concentrates has shown us that this strategy works, but only for a “short” while.

Government policy tends to depend on “public” opinion. Moreover, public opinion shapes and is shaped by national and sub-national political dynamics, i.e. the status of the ruling coalition, the influence of the (political) opposition, orientation of the masses (political culture) etc. This level of interdependence limits the ability of the government to guarantee policy stability. In other words, the government is not the sole guarantor of (policy) stability – there are other “environmental” factors, public demands included. 

As such, companies` ought not to rely, totally, on what the government offers to the public. They must strive to push the boundaries in ways that seek to improve the (overall) policy environment, because it is in their interest. An important question is, when to do so? While the Final Investment Decision (FID) has not yet been made, companies are certain about their interest in the LNG project. As such, they should pay attention to any potential risks, current or future, since, the project, if implemented, is likely to outlive several regimes.

So, what are the risks associated with the LNG?

One of the key areas of concern is land acquisition for the project. For instance, the national oil company (TPDC) announced acquisition of land for the LNG in late 2015 and noted, in early 2016, that it was undertaking a confirmatory exercise before paying compensation. Reportedly, valuation had been undertaken more than a year earlier by the Ministry of Land, Housing, and Human Settlement Development. 

This is to say, the Project-Affected People (PAP) have been waiting for compensation for more than four years now. Unfortunately, the uncertainty arising from the delayed acquisition means that these people are unable to think about long term development. They, instead, focus on surviving, and struggle to access credible information about when their plight will end.

Compensation standards is another important dimension of the land acquisition aspect. The national oil company (TPDC) stated in its 2016 press release (cited in the paragraph above) that compensation would be paid based on national laws. However, research has shown that such standards are not always applied consistently, they are inadequate ,and may lead to an outbreak of conflict. 

Moreover, the Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, is on record telling the parliament how disastrous similar standards have been in the past. It is unclear if the LNG consortium has decided to accept these risks or ask for application of better standards.
Source: Must, E (2016) - `When and How Does Inequality Cause Conflict`? PhD thesis, LSE. 

Recent evidence suggests that concerns over “land grabbing”, especially “sale of land rights to foreign companies” played a key role in the outbreak of the 2013 riots in Mtwara (see graph above), and that the southern part of the country – Lindi and Mtwara – has strong sentiments related to land rights issues dating back to Ujamaa days in the 1970s. 

There is, obviously, a strong case for handling land acquisition for the LNG cautiously. This is an example of a key issue that companies can, and should influence. Another key issue is that of “host community’s” benefits, which has been described by Nape Nnauye (MP) as a “big bomb.” The time to act is now, before the tide of public opinion turns.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Introducing the New Owner & Host of Udadisi Blog

From this 27th day of April 2018, Takura Zhangazha (@TakuraZhangazha) of Harare, Zimbabwe (pictured above) will be the owner and host of Udadisi Blog. As for matters concerning this blog, he can be contacted via udadisiblogu@gmail.com. Guest submissions of blog posts on matters of relevance to Africa and Africans in the continent and its Diaspora are warmly welcome.

Public Lectures by Joseph Stiglitz and Kaushik Basu

Sexuality 101: From Horrible Sex into Viben10 Affair

From Horrible Sex to Viben10 Adventure

If you are women you know how sex sucks – most of the times; and if you are men you know how many times your wife/partner has made sill excuses not to have sex with you. Let me get one thing right here: By 'sex sucks', I don't mean not attaining the pleasure of doing it – 'orgasm'; I mean pain, serious pain and massive discomfort. 

While I am writing to share experiences from this part of the world, i.e. Tanzania, I know, experiences of women are more less the same worldwide. When you read widely or have honest conversation with women across the world, you will come to the same conclusion; sex sucks, to most, often. But hey, we need to do it!

I know you are now confused, why do we need to do it if, after all, it sucks? I was less confused growing up, because like many, I didn’t know better (sex education was not in the public domain) and I was made to believe sex is not for me, it is for him, to keep him happy and satisfied. 

Like any other girl in my culture, I was mentored and trained by the 'experts' - nyakangas in 'Unyago' (a traditional ritual to prepare girls before marriage). Believe you me, for 8 days was confined in a room with more than 60 women, roving experts coming in and out, teaching me how to be a perfect wife and how to have a perfect sex for him. 

No one, I mean no one, even accidentally told me how to enjoy sex. But I was warned "you have to give it to him, regardless; even when you are sick or angry, if not, he will go out and have it with someone else; make yourself available when he needs you and how he need you"

My experience might be one of the many reasons women perform sex despite being a nuisance or obligation. Some call it punishment. As one of my friend puts it, "girl, it’s a total courage to fake orgasm while you are actually in pain and upset, what a punishment!"

The good news is the world is changing fast. More women aspire for sexual satisfaction, partly because they are more informed now or they have the luxury to be adventurous  I should be clear here as this is limited to certain categories of women, mostly urban, exposed middle class. The unique thing is most of those women is that they are sending signals and some openly blame men for their inability to satisfy them. 

In cities men are now officially terrified, their sense of self-confidence is going down and they are now consuming all sort of ‘busters’, being it traditional or modern. To most men solution to their problem is either food, physical strength or medication, but today I want to suggest altering relations of power as the solution.

Let me give you bit of background. Where I come from most women cannot tell their men that they aren't good enough or they are not satisfied because men ought to be powerful. They are supposed to know better and women responsibility is to protect and polish their men's ego. Women are taught the do’s and don’ts. Telling your husband "this sex is flat and I am not feeling it" is a crime against ancestors. You will praise him no matter how polite he asks for honest feedback. 

Anyone who is close to me knows that I love talking about sex. One might not know why (I will reserve that for next blog) but they have become comfortable sharing their intimate stories. In that horizon of comfortability, one of my friend confirmed to me his confusion. He had opted to start an extramarital relationship with one woman who is mature and smart. The agreement was that their relationship was for fun, sexy, going out and so forth.

 The first day they had sex the woman felt annoyed and told him "this is a waste of time". My friend was confused because, back home, his wife praised him every time they had sex but she was never excited about it. He was torn between believing in his ability or questioning the ‘girlfriend’ who is more experienced than him. Even though her verdict on his sexual performance seemed true, as a man he should have been able to satisfy her, hence his confusion. 

As a concerned friend, I asked him to go back home and stop asking for his wife’s feedback after sex, but he should ask his wife what she wants, and how she wants it and he has do as instructed. It was odd for a couple of weeks but, to his surprise, after a few months, his wife was asking him to touch and do things they never did before. She felt happier and satisfied without saying it. Her husband seems happy too (I hope he has stopped having extramarital relations).

This case is not different to the emerging trend of Viben10. Anyone living in Tanzania would know that some older, well to do women are now going out with younger men, very young men – mostly good looking with good physique. Taking the lead are our celebrities and other professionals (especially single moms). The society is terrified, but men are more frightened because, not only are they blamed for not being good in bed, but also younger men are now the most wanted creatures, making the conventional men less important – oops – egos are bleeding. 
I sat with a couple of women who date younger men – Viben10. To do justice to their thoughts, I will phrase them as they are: 

A. "My dear, I can keep up with bad sex if you are paying for rent, buying me food and paying for kids' school fees; if I do all that myself, why shouldn't I find a man who can do me well? This young boy is good, I dictate what I want - having best sex ever"

B. "You know I work so hard, there is nothing that I haven’t accomplished, I have it all, if there is one thing I didn’t have is a man who will speak to my body and soul, I didn’t want a man to tell me about a sick aunt or construction site's problems, I want a man who will look me in the eye like he wants to eat me alive, who will tell me, I love you 10 times a day and who will do me like nobody’s business"

C. "This boy knows that he has one job and one job only, to satisfy me, if he can’t deliver, he is off – he got a performance plan, ha ha ha and I am appraising him every month, we are dating for two years, that means he has been doing well" 

D. The beauty of dating a younger boy is having that mother-son relationship, these young men, they can be all bossy outside, but when we get in, they take instructions, they do as we please"

E. "I am in that point in life where all I need is good sex, I don’t mind paying for it, so long as it is good. I am actually surprised that men are surprised that we are keeping young men for sex, they did that for centuries, that is all that African marriage is all about – women being sex toys for men because men are feeding the families. So, if that is the rule, they shouldn’t feel surprised, we are copying them, my boyfriend knows I have the upper hand in this relationship and I am enjoying it. 
There can be many interpretations of the quotes above, and some of them may seem radical – attempts to replace patriarchy with matriarchy. Nonetheless, it is clear that when women are in control of the relationship there are significant chances of them being sexually satisfied, which makes them happy and make their men even happier. Some men even told me that there is an awesome sense of pride and accomplishment when men feel when they know their women hit the climax. 

If that is true, why don’t we all explore this alternative? With a fair doze of power shift, it will save men money from buying all potency drugs and traditional herbs and it will make women satisfied and happier. Until then, let’s accept seeing more women with Viben10.

Karibu kwenye ulingo wa kutafakari kuhusu tunapotoka,tulipo,tuendako na namna ambavyo tutafika huko tuendako/Welcome to a platform for reflecting on where we are coming from, where we are, where we are going and how we will get there

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