Why we need leaks: transparency and whistleblowing in gas contracts

It’s good to see the Statoil gas story continues to make headlines in the Tanzanian press. Today (Monday) saw The Citizen lead with the story, asking some very pertinent questions about the contract and TPDC’s response to it.

Citizen 140714

The article quotes me at length, along with a statement released by TPDC (Swahili, pdf) over the weekend, which argues that the deal is a good one for Tanzania.

I disagree with the TPDC statement, which I feel continues to misunderstand the issue. They are still not engaging with the key point: that the terms of the signed PSA (the leaked document) are significantly worse for Tanzania than the terms of the model PSA.

But it’s actually a different point I want to focus on here: transparency. Continue reading

The best of the gas cartoons

I’m claiming some credit for the first one, by Masoud Kipanya in todays Mwananchi:

Mwananchi, 9/7/14

Kipanya in Mwananchi, 9/7/14

And here’s why I’m claiming that credit:

Continue reading

DFID turns to “Payment by Results” for rural water supply in Tanzania

Turning money into water has always been the goal of water sector donors. They have money, and they want to use it to improve access to clean and safe water. Sounds simple enough.

But as my colleagues at Twaweza found in a recent policy brief, not much progress has been made on rural water supply in Tanzania, despite a massive increase in spending in the sector. Money flowed, but water only trickled.

Turning money into water? (from WaterAid, around 10 years ago)

Turning money into water? (from WaterAid, around 10 years ago)

In truth, it’s far from easy. Getting the engineering right is only one part of the challenge – managing funds correctly, avoiding corruption, deciding which communities should be prioritised, and maintaining newly water constructed waterpoints all add to the difficulty. This blog has documented many of these challenges over the past few years, particularly the struggles of the $1bn Water Sector Development Programme.

So the folks at DFID have come up with a new approach, called Payment by Results, or PbR, which they are about to start applying to rural water supply in Tanzania. And they’re backing it with big money: £150m (Tshs 400bn/-) over 5 years. Continue reading

Statoil gas contract: Tanzania’s media picks up the story

For background on this post, see my previous posts on the topic:

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Majira 7/7/14

Majira 7/7/14

Over the weekend, the Tanzanian press finally began to pick up the leaked Statoil PSA story, prompted by Zitto Kabwe’s comments on the issue (in English and Swahili).

The Guardian made the story its front page lead on Saturday (5/7/14), while other papers caught up on Monday (7/7/14): This Day (front page lead); MwananchiNipashe and Mtanzania (second or third on front page); and Daily News - see slideshow below. Majira had a cartoon today (see above), as did The Guardian on Sunday (see bottom of post). This Day also printed in full my piece in African Arguments last week.

Continue reading

The sound of silence, breaking?

elephant in the room

The leaked Statoil contract (see here for background) is a big deal. Tanzania could well lose out on several hundred million dollars a year from just this contract (compared to the terms of the model contract). It should be the big political story of the moment, perhaps of the year.

And yet:

When the parliamentary committee on economic affairs, industry and trade noted the bad deal in a report (pdf, Swahili), it led to zero coverage in the media.

When the World Bank launched their latest Economic Update on Tanzania, two weeks ago, the Statoil contract was apparently the hot topic on the meeting sidelines. The media still said nothing. Continue reading

Chart of the week #16: Who supports CCM and Chadema, by level of education

A few weeks ago I looked at levels of support for CCM and Chadema by age - roughly speaking, Chadema’s support was found to be stronger among younger people than older folks.

Now, using the same data source (Afrobarometer data from 2012), how does support for these two parties vary among people with different levels of education?

Source: Afrobarometer 2012

Source: Afrobarometer 2012

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Chart of the week #15: Getting a good deal from natural gas?

Kipanya in Mwananchi, June 2014

Expectations: Kipanya in Mwananchi, June 2014

Natural gas is a game changer in Tanzania, both economically and politically. The latest reports suggest that there may be as much as 51 trillion cubic feet available, not huge by global standards, but enough to have raised expectations sky high – see cartoon. The public and policy makers are excited, and it’s already having significant effects on both local and national politics.

Zitto Kabwe wrote recently:

“One Minister stated in the Parliament that “with the natural gas reserves Tanzania has, poverty will be history”. How I wish it was that simple! A plus and minus equation. Unfortunately the reality is opposite. There are chains of evidence that resources, due to many factors engraved within a ‘lesser’ leader, may lead to curse.”

Continue reading