British M.P. Calls For Debate On Dangers Of Investing In Tanzania

Top Quote President Kikwete of Tanzania addressed the Commonwealth Busines Forum in Perth, Australia this week espousing the benefits of investing in Tanzania to Commonwealth Countries. As he did this calls were being made in the UK Parliament to debate the dangers of such investment. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) November 01, 2011 - Speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Perth, Australia this week President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania said that Africa had all the qualifications to be a global economic powerhouse in the 21 century if the potentials in the continent were effectively developed.

    The President emphasised the need for agricultural development stating "this needs huge investments by governments and the private sector in modern equipment, irrigation, use of quality seeds for higher productivity, use of pesticides and fertiliser."

    Whilst President Kikwete espoused the benefits of investing in Tanzania a British M.P. called for a parliamentary debate on the dangers of such investment referring to British nationals Stewart Middleton and Sarah Hermitage, investors in the agricultural sector in Tanzania forced to flee the country in 2008 due to harassment and intimidation facilitated by the State with the loss of their entire investment together with the loss of 150 Tanzanian jobs.

    Roger Gale posed the following question to the leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young at Parliamentary question time on 27th October:

    "Speaking in Australia this week, President Kikwete of Tanzania urged investors in his country to reinvest the profits from their companies in his country. Unfortunately, as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office well knows, he is the same President Kikwete who is in thrall to the media baron Reginald Mengi and who has done nothing to give satisfaction to my constituents Sarah and Stewart Hermitage, whose farm in Tanzania was stolen from them by Mr Mengi's brother. Could we have a debate in Government time to discuss not only the joys but the dangers of investing in Tanzania"?

    Sir George Young replied:

    "I am sorry to hear about that loss of property on the part of my Hon. Friend's constituents. I shall certainly raise the issue with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-the FCO Minister for Europe, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), is in his place at the moment-and see whether there are any representations it can make to get justice for the people whose property was confiscated."

    The Commonwealth Business Forum was run concurrently with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at which Australian Prime Minister Ms Julian Gillard took over the throne as chair of the Commonwealth stating "Commonwealth countries share values of the rule of law and democracy".

    Roger Gale's question does not sit comfortably with President Kikwete's commitment to Commonwealth ideals and necessarily casts doubt over Tanzania as a safe place for foreign investment.

    Mr. Gales question can be read at the Parliamentary Hansard reports at the following link:

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