The Chanzo’s Morning Briefing – June 13, 2021

From the death of Prof Baregu to Samia’s cryptocurrency remarks, here are the major news stories reported on Sunday
The Chanzo Reporter14 June 20214 min

Dar es Salaam. The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news in Tanzania which were reported on Sunday, June 12, 2021.

Tanzania on Sunday lost one of its most cherished intellectuals and democrats following the death of Prof Mwesiga Baregu who died at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) where he was receiving treatment, opposition party CHADEMA reported yesterday. Prof Baregu, former University of Dar es Salaam lecturer who also served as a member of the Tanzanian Constitution Review Commission, also served as a member of CHADEMA’s Central Committee. In its statement following his death, CHADEMA described Prof Baregu as someone who “fought for “justice, dignity, democracy and respect for African people.” Several other people sent their condolence messages to Prof Baregu’s family and Tanzanians in general following the death of the renowned intellectual and politician. These include the Minister of Industries and Trade Prof Kitila Mkumbo who in a Twitter post described Prof Baregu as “one academic who strongly believed that academics shouldn’t shy away from politics.” Mkumbo, who doubles as Ubungo MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM), said that one lesson that Prof Baregu taught him is that “[academicians] can do active politics without losing their intellectual rigour.” Zitto Kabwe, who is the opposition ACT-Wazalendo party leader, called the death of Prof Baregu “a heavy misfortune” in a Twitter post, calling him “a public intellectual and [a] competent lecturer.” As an intellectual, Prof Baregu was interested in politics and governance, peace and international terrorism as well as democracy. You can find some of the papers and essays published by Prof Baregu here.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan arrived in Mwanza yesterday where she went for a three-day trip in the port city on the shore of Lake Victoria. While there, during a function to inaugurate the Bank of Tanzania’s (BoT) building in Mwanza, President Samia issued a number of directives to BoT’s governor Prof Florens Luoga, including the need to place BoT “on stand-by” for the adoption of blockchain, cryptocurrency and other digital currencies that are getting increasingly popular globally. “We have witnessed the emergence of new currencies that are used digitally, that is blockchain or cryptocurrency,” said President Samia during her address. “I understand that many countries including Tanzania have either not accepted or have not started using those currencies. However, I’d urge the BoT to better start working on these developments. By just getting ready [and] getting prepared.” President Samia said she would not like to see the new development find Tanzania not prepared when the time for adoption arrives. “Because we may think that we are not ready yet but our people move ahead of us [on the use of the technologies],” she added with an emphasis. Given Edward, Tanzania’s innovator and follower of the global digital currency movement is one of those who reacted to President Samia’s remarks, saying its “very tricky” for Tanzania to adopt digital currency such Bitcoin given the currency’s finite and volatility nature. “We can manage its circulation,” said Edward, whose Mtabe App uses artificial intelligence to provide educational content to students who don’t have internet access. “But not adopt it fully and integrate.” Others, however, urged the BoT to first have frameworks in place to deal with the developments before their adoption in the country.

And, in agriculture, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa revealed yesterday that the government increased budgets of Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) and Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) from Sh7.35 billion (2020/2021) to Sh11.63 billion (2021/2022) and Sh5.42 billion (2020/2021) to Sh10.58 billion (2021/2022) respectively as part of the government’s efforts to boost agricultural production especially in the sunflower subsector. Majaliwa made the revelations during a sunflower stakeholder meeting which took place in Singida. Officiating the meeting that was called to discuss challenges and opportunities in sunflower farming in the country the Premier said that by the 2019/2020 financial year, sunflower production in Tanzania reached 649,437 tons compared to 561,297 tons produced in the preceding financial year of 2018/2019. Still, Mr Majaliwa said that serious challenges remain that prevent Tanzania from benefiting more from the cash crop. Some of these challenges include poor agricultural incentives like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and tools and equipment. Another challenge according to the PM is the lack of interconnection between sunflower growers, oil refineries and financial and agricultural incentives services providers as well as poor technologies.

Thanks for reading this briefing, just letting you know that The Chanzo receives both stories and opinions from independent writers and analysts respectively for publication. So if you want to have your say on our platform, please contact our editors at editor@thechanzo.com for further inquiries.

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