DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – In his address to senior executives International Monetary Fund and Africa High Level Conference, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete expressed his worries over the future of Africa under the current global financial meltdown.
Mr. Kikwete, who chaired the two-day high level conference between African states and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which ended in Dar es Salaam mid-this week, said the world needed a strong regulatory mechanism of national and international financial systems to facilitate prudent global economic management.
President Kikwete said the global financial crisis currently poses danger to Africa’s recent economic history, since it threatens to reverse, even wipe out, hard won gains, asking the conference to serve as a signal to the G-8 summit scheduled for London in April.
The Tanzanian president said the country is lost through the global economic downturn, its tourist glory and observed dwindling tourist arrivals to a fall of up to 18 percent.
He said tourist arrivals were anticipated to fall, while there were reports that some tourist projects investors were either canceling or indefinitely postponing business ventures.
Mr. Kikwete told over 300 delegates to the conference that financial impropriety in the West had adversely impacted on many African economies.
“I fail to imagine what would have happened if an African country was to be the cause of this crisis … IMF would have immediately pounded on it with all sorts of conditions, threats and benchmarks,” he said.
IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the delegates that the world economy is likely to shrink to “below zero” this year.
“Even though the crisis has been slow in reaching Africa’s shores, we all know it is coming and its impact will be severe,” he said.
“We must ensure that the voices of the poor are heard. We must ensure that Africa is not left out,” he added.
“The IMF expects global growth to slow below zero this year, the worst performance in most of our lifetimes,” the IMF chief said.
He warned that the projection for three percent may be too optimistic.
He said the crisis threatens to unravel Africa’s economic and social success over the last decade and that millions of people will be thrown back into poverty.
Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan called for immediate assistance for Africa to ease the impact of the global financial meltdown on its people and economies.
“We face once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape global institutions in a fair and effective way that must give Africa and developing world a stronger voice,” Annan said.
He reiterated that Africa could be part of the solution to the economic crisis by being part of the global stimulus plan.
Taking the advantage of the ongoing International Tourism Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Tanzania will measure and assess the impacts of the global financial meltdown in travel and tourism sectors.
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) director of marketing, Amant Macha, said a team of delegates from 64 tourist and travel companies and government tourist institutions from Tanzania will participate the leading global tourist exhibition.
He said the Tanzanian delegation at the ITB will also take the opportunity to contact and consult key tourist stakeholders and global institutions to asses the impact of the ongoing financial meltdown on tourism.
“As we are preparing to enter the high tourist season, it is better we assess this financial crisis and set out best options that would help Tanzania to move ahead in its tourism,” he said.
He said while in Berlin, Tanzanian exhibitors will team up and form a joint plan to advertise and market the country’s less known tourist attractions in southern and western zones as well as cultural tourism.