Theme: Partnering with Media in Debt Management for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Africa

  1. Introduction

The African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) is a pan African platform and organisation for lobbying and advocating for debt cancellation and addressing other debt related issues in Africa. To date AFRODAD remains committed to contributing towards the long-term development of the continent through its contribution to the sustainable solutions to Africa’s challenges in debt and resources management and financial development.

Therefore, AFRODAD in collaboration with TCDD will conduct a Media Training on Debt Management and Launch the African Borrowing Charter on the 12th and 13rd of November 2020 in Tanzania the theme: Partnering with Media in Debt Management for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Africa. The training is aimed at sensitising media practitioners on the implications of public and publicly guaranteed debt on human rights, poverty, inequality and macroeconomic performance. The trained media practitioners are expected to become champions in reporting on debt management and related issues. Increased media reporting on debt management and related issues particularly debt contraction, debt records and analysis is vital in raising informed voice and demand for accountability among the citizenry. A one and half day training workshop will be held for selected journalists from various private and public media houses. AFRODAD will establish an alumni of journalists post the training workshop for sustaining continuous feedback and information supply for their informed reporting on debt management and related issues. The trained media practitioners are expected to increased media reporting on debt management and related issues particularly debt contraction, debt records and analysis is vital in raising informed voice and demand for accountability among the citizenry.

Launch of the African Borrowing Charter

The second day of the workshop will see the Launch of the Charter with the media and other participants. The African Borrowing Charter is a valuable guide for any Government that desires to sustainably balance public debt levels while accelerating inclusive development and enhance public service delivery in the specific African country. The Borrowing Charter aims to sustainably balance public debt levels with the necessity to accelerate inclusive development and enhance public service delivery in Africa. It also aims to contribute to improvements in the transparency of the political, institutional and administrative processes used; and the accountability of the State actors involved in:

  • the contraction and management of public debt;
  • the issuance of public guarantees;
  • the selection and implementation of debt financed projects; and
  • the formulation and execution of overall fiscal policy, within the context of strengthened legal frameworks and the rule of law.

All the actions and expected commitments set out in the Charter are in pursuit of the African shared vision of “The Africa We Want: Agenda 2063” for “A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development”.

  1. Background

AFRODAD’s mission is to contribute to Africa’s inclusive economic growth and sustainable development through influencing policy change on debt management and development finance anchored on a right based approach. Since TCDD established in 1998, media has been very important partner in advancing a pro-poor development agenda and a powerful force for change in loan contraction and debt management in Tanzania. It has helped amplifying the debt massage to the community and raise awareness on various social issues, enabling citizens to hold the government to account. Despite of the important contribution media and journalist has in TCDD work and country’s development still FRODAD/TCDD has realised the debt literacy gap amongst the journalists and that it is key for this stakeholder to be conversant with debt management issues so that they spread accurate information to as many citizens as is possible. Given the apparent inclination of the State towards deliberate disinformation and underreporting of critical public finance management issues, objective and accurate reporting by informed journalists becomes very important.

3.0 Context

Tanzania has enjoyed strong national income growth over the past decade at round 6%-7% annually. On July 1, 2020 the World Bank announced that Tanzania’s gross national income (GNI) per capita increased from $1,020 in 2018 to $1,080 in 2019, exceeding the threshold for lower-middle income status. The country’s broad vision of its development goals as a middle-income country in 2025 are set out in the Tanzania Development Vision 2025, characterized by high-quality livelihoods; peace, stability, and unity; good governance; a well-educated and learning society; and a competitive economy capable of sustainable growth and shared benefits. Increased GNI per capita is impressive but not enough to reach these goals. Investing in both human development and physical capital is key to achieving these broad goals and improving the quality of life for all Tanzanians. 

Tanzania national debt stock recorded at the end of June 2019 was USD 28,432.12 million (48.7 per cent of GDP in nominal terms). Out of total national debt, External debt (public and private) was USD 21,920.9 million, equivalent to 37.52 percent of GDP in nominal terms and Domestic debt was 11.16 percent of GDP. The stock of national debt increased from USD 27,071.47 million recorded at the end of June 2018, equivalent to an increase of 5.03 percent. The structure of external debt by creditor category remained unchanged with debt owed to multilateral institutions continuing to account for the largest share of 47.5 percent, followed by debt from commercial sources at 32.4 percent.(Source: Ministry of Finance and Planning, and Bank of Tanzania)

As of 1990s, most of SADC Member States experienced high levels of external debt. At US $62.12 billion in 2001, external debt was greater than 100% of the GDP in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. Now these countries including Tanzania moving back to what is called debt crisis/distress putting much pressure in social service provision due to limited budget allocated and debt servicing. According to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, United Republic of Tanzania 2018/2019 budget, the government allocated Tsh.1.41 trillion equals to $ 434.9 million for payment of domestic interest. As to April 2019, tsh.1.04 trillion payments were made which is equivalent to 75.18 per cent of the target. The government set aside tsh. 689.67 billion equivalents to $ 296.6 million for servicing interest raised by foreign debts, and Tsh.588.30 billion was paid as by April 2019 equals to 85.30 per cent of objective. Debt servicing budget is higher than the Ministry of water, Agriculture and education budget. The Ministry of water was located Tsh.702 billion in 2017/2018; Agriculture Tsh.143.33 billion in 2018/2019;

Debt Management training to the Tanzania media will be an eye open training to journalist. Though the country is not yet in debt crisis but its rapid increase is quiet threatening. Journalist will able to understand where the country was before HIPC, and how much was achieved during the HIPC campaign and the current debt trends comparing Tanzania with fellow SADC countries as well as other East African countries.

  1. Objectives
  • The objectives of the Media Training on Debt Management are:
  • To engage and increase media participation in the campaign for sustainable debt management in Tanzania
  • To build media professionals’ knowledge and understanding of Debt Management
  • To create a network of journalists who can adequately report on Debt Management and related issues.
  • To build and exchange innovative and effective techniques for monitoring and reporting debt management and related issues in Tanzania and reaching grassroots communities
  1. Intended Outcomes

The intended outcomes for the meeting are:

  • An increased understanding, uptake and dissemination of debt information amongst Tanzanian citizens;
  • Improved reporting of debt and public finance management issues in Tanzania media;
  • An increased demand for transparency and accountability on the use of tax payers’ money by citizens from the solution holders at both local and national levels; and a database of journalists committed to report on Public Private Partnerships for economic development, AFRODAD and its partners work in the region.
  1. Targeted Stakeholders

The capacity building workshop is targeting 40 business journalists from print, radio, television and online media houses from the various provinces of Tanzania. AFRODAD will also bring to the platform Community Radio practitioners that link the role of the media and financing for development to benefit from this training and also share their experiences.

  1. Capacity Building Workshop

A one and half day workshop will take place in Dar es salaam and is scheduled for 12th  to 13th November 2020.

  1. Content and Structure

Adult learning approaches and participatory methods of learning will be used. The workshop will include interactive sessions, group discussions, as well as presentations by lead experts. The sessions will include the following:-

  • General concepts (theory and practice)
  • Comparative analysis of current situations (nationally, regionally and globally)
  • Case studies
  • Policy discussions/group work and conclusions
  • Follow ups with individual participants

Modules

  • The role of the Media in Debt and Public Finance Management (AFRODAD)
  • Understanding Public debt and its Centrality in Macroeconomic Performance (TCDD)
  • Human Rights and Public Debt Management (TCDD)
  • Accessing Debt Information and Debt Transparency (AFRODAD)

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