SADC effort not a day too early
Tanzania is looking to benefit from the new, strong Southern Africa tourism marketing strategies in a joint marshall plan to create a regional tourist package.
The marketing plan which is under implementation will be working to incorporate 14 member states of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) until the year 2002 when assessment will be made to determine the region's achievements in tourism industry.
Chief executive for the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) Shepherd Nyaruwata, said Tanzania has been put on top list in tourism marketing plan because of its promising position in tourism growth of 13 percent per annum. Mr Nyaruwata visited Tanzania to assess its tourism development and its present position within SADC marketing framework.
" We are now looking at new marketing strategies which would see the Southern Africa region compete with other international destinations and creating other possible markets in the world," Nyaruwata said.
In total, SADC member states receive 55 percent of tourists visiting African continent every year. This year over 10 million tourists are expected to visit SADC regional member states, with South Africa and Zimbabwe taking a lead. South Africa is expecting to receive about 6 million tourists and Zimbabwe about 2.1 million tourists.
South Africa is expected to gain over US Dollars 3 billion from tourism during the same year followed by Mauritius US Dollars 504 million) and Tanzania ( US Dollars 500 million), respectively. Tanzania's position in both Eastern and Southern African economic bodies has been attributed to the rapid growth of its tourism business.
Mr Nyaruwata said a new tourism marketing brand ( logo) is being designed to market Southern Africa region as a single tourist destination indicating each member country's unique attractions. Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro will highlight Tanzania in SADC tourism marketing logo and the Victoria Falls will market both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
South Africa will be represented by its unique features including the Table Mountains, wildlife and the Cape of Good Hope while Botswana and Namibia will be featured by the famous Okavango Delta. Swaziland and Lesotho are prominent with their unique African cultures all to be featured in the SADC marketing brand.
Marketing campaigns to sell tourism in SADC member states have been directed at primary and traditional European markets of Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and France. The United States of America and South Africa are the other potential market sources for the SADC regional tourism.
Tanzania's Director of Tourism Mr. Salehe said more efforts have been directed to promote the less developed Southern Tourist Circuit comprising the newly gazetted Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Mikumi, Ruaha, Selous wildlife parks, cultural and historical sites available in the circuit.
Tanzania's southern tourist circuit is the target area to attract tourists visiting other SADC countries. South African tourists are the most expected visitors to Southern Tanzania's tourist circuit which is easily accessible by a modern road and the Tanzania - Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) which connects the SADC states.
Development of tourist infrastructure and accommodation facilities are the most needed investments in southern tourist circuit. Apart from the 50-room Mikumi Wildlife Lodge inside Mikumi national park, the rest of parks and other sites have no permanent accommodation facilities.
About 140 tented camps offering 262 are the only available in Southern tourist circuit and the 800-kilometre Indian Ocean coastal stretch. Less than a dozen tour operators make their business in the southern circuit. Poor roads and lack of accommodation services have been identified as potential hindrances to tourism development in the area.
The five-year US Dollar 100 million World Bank financed Tourism Infrastructure Project (TIP) and the ten-year (1996 - 2005) $ 400 million European Union (EU) funded Integrated Tourism Masterplan have been established to develop the country's tourist industry mostly in southern circuit.
Implementation of the first phase of the Tourism Master plan has started this month. Tourism is the potential economic sector with an average growth of six percent per year, comprising 25% of the country's export earnings and over 7.5 % of the Gross Domestic Product. Any effort, be it national or regional, to boost tourism is welcome.
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Analysis - By Courtesy Findings, published by World Bank
Towards inclusive and sustainable development in the Democratic Republic of Congo
IN early 1998, the World Bank prepared a paper on the decentralization and participation policies outlined but not fully implemented by the Congolese government in the early days of the third republic. If the country has since receded into war, it is perhaps in part because these ideas were never properly put into practice. Rather than de-legitimizing them, the renewed war makes it even more important that these ideas he heard.
Legacies from the past
Centralization has a long history in the Congo. Though with different justifications and characteristics, central government dominated decision-making and execution during both the colonial period and the second republic.Regarding decision-making, "everything came from above without any explanations". (Various statements and comments by government representative and citizens garnered through field visits are quoted verbatim in order to more accurately reflect local ideas).Though local authorities had certain powers, these were more often than not abused rather than used in the interest of the population.
Infrequent contact between central authorities and the population resulted in many provinces and territories being, and remaining, enclaved without access to neighboring regions, much less to the outside world.
Meaning of decentralization and participation
“Kinshasa is far removed from the real problems and less concerned with finding interventions addressing these problems.” This is a recurrent theme about decentralization. Behind this statement lies the conviction that the Congo is too big a country to be controlled by central authority alone. Recognizing this limitation, “government should make the priorities of its people also its priorities.”
Indeed, "making grassroots responsible for development would be the best approach for the country.”
On a fundamental level, participation requires a self-conscious citizenry whose rights are protected, including “the right to be from somewhere, the right to being respected by government, the right that government responds to my needs, and the right to express my opinion and to being listed to.” These rights “give confidence that l am, that l can influence decisions that affect me”, in other words that it is worthwhile to participate.
The legacies of the neglect of the right to participate are manifold and overcoming them is challenging indeed. It requires that current leaders “show respect towards the population, respect criticism if something does not work,and do not start with a preconceived opinion about the people’s needs”. It also requires open communication and listening to the people,”who have important things to say”.
With the administration thus responsive to the population’s needs, “the people will respect authority,will gain confidence in this authority, and will be willing to enter into a partnership of trust”.By sharing responsibility with the people the people, there will be less pressure on the authority if something goes wrong”.But “if the population does not participate,the parameters of development are incomplete,and the people will have no commitment to maintain” whatever is being done on their behalf.
A critical question relates to the way such participation should be institutionalized to increase accountability and responsiveness.
In the current context, adequate representation by all population groups appears to be the most suitable guiding principle.For that reason. “local negotiations are more appropriate than winner-takes-all elections”.Such consensus building would help to manage diversity better and “to avoid further polarization.”
Economic and social policy direction
The present government, soon after coming to power, initiated preparations for a national reconstruction conference and a territorial conference to rebuild the economy and state.
The objective of the national reconstruction conference was the formulation of reconstruction strategies and policies from the longer-term perspective,within a participatory approach that consists of mobilizing the different segments of Congolese society around the ideal of national reconstruction.
Whereas efforts under the earlier dispensation had mostly proven futile, preparations for the national reconstruction conference for the first time fully involved the population,who in turn responded enthusiastically to the chance of participating in the shaping and building of a new state.
Provincial conferences were held in late 1997/early 1998. Many local authorities actively participated in the process. They ensured and accurate representation of views and facilitated the participation of the population.
In other instances,the process was more controlled at the provincial and territorial level and openness of views was limited as a result.
By and large, however, the preparation process for the national reconstruction conference proved to be an important tool for making people conscientious of their role in development.
The national reconstruction conference,planned for mid-February 1998,was canceled at short notice for reasons which remain unclear. This cancellation has done much damage to the image of the process,and this damage has been compounded by the fact that the results of the provincial conferences have not been openly communicated or discussed. Nevertheless,the approach taken for organizing the national reconstruction conference warrants consideration for institutionalization.It has been indigenous,by building on a civil society that has become a potent factor for people-centered development; inclusive,by reaching out to citizens from all walks of life; and responsive, by listening to the needs of the people at the grassroots level.
The objective of the territorial conference was to restore the state nation-wide by increasing the role of the territory.The conference, held from February 12-14,1998, was also intended to reinforce national reconstruction efforts.
The territorial conference shared many views with the national reconstruction process about rebuilding the state.Recognizing that “making grassroots responsible for development would be the best approach for the country”, the territorial conferences introduced consultative councils and the territorial level with representation from civil society to foster the participation of the local population in grass roots development, much like the territorial fora of the provincial reconstruction conferences had done.
Making decentralization and participation work
The year 1998 witnessed the organization (and subsequent cancellation) of the national reconstruction conference and the implementation of the territorial conference. Both have left their mark on the future socioeconomic development of the country, the former through the bottom-up identification of needs and interventions using territorial fora,the latter through its imprint on the 1998 decree-law which includes the creation of consultative councils for guiding local affairs.Any operationalization of the concepts of decentralizationand participation needs to build on the lesson of these efforts.Yet it also depends on prospects for lasting peace and ownership of this peace by the population.It turn, through participation also in the political decision-making process, the population can help central authorities to find such lasting peace.
Any structure devised to meet this end should be “simple and understandable to people”. It also should be inclusive of local government and the local population. The population is very much aware that “if the administration were left out, it could easily create problems and block decisions”.
The structure would, therefore, have to establish a mutually beneficial partnership between administration and population around tangible results, while at the same time avoiding the creation of a parallel local government.
Another critical element for the successful functioning of this structure is the recognition that the process of decision-making is no less important than its result.
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