Development Aid Programme: Discussion.

This meeting has been convened to review the work of Irish Aid in Tanzania. I welcome Her Excellency, Ms Anne Barrington, Irish ambassador to Tanzania. She is accompanied by: Mr. Ger Considine, Irish Aid's head of development in Tanzania; Mr. Damien Cole and Mr. Garvan McCann, both of whom work in the Irish Aid branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs; Ms Wendy Dorman-Smith from the political division of the Department; Mr. Jim Clarken, chief executive officer, Oxfam Ireland; and Ms Niamh Carty, head of Oxfam Ireland's overseas programme.

This is the fourth in a series of meetings being held by the sub-committee to examine each of Ireland's programme countries. I am sure everyone knows the drill. After the delegates have made their presentations, I will open up the meeting to the members of the sub-committee. Before I do so, from my standpoint, having gone through the brief the delegates prepared, I was struck by the appreciable improvements made in Tanzania in every respect. Since I was elected to the Dáil and eventually appointed as Chairman of the sub-committee, I do not think I have come across such an positive example. Tanzania has been one of Ireland's programme countries for 31 years, since 1979. Through its financial and other involvement in Tanzania, Ireland has been part and parcel of the improvements now evident in that country.

Irish people often ask why this country spends so much money on aid in Africa. The progress made in Tanzania is a perfect example of why we should be involved in programmes of this nature. If one goes through every sector identified, one will be able to say with one's hand on one's heart that Ireland is responsible for the improvements taking place. I have learned from the briefing document and the statistics contained within it that, although Tanzania had terrible problems 30 years ago, it is getting out of them. I would like that story to come out of this meeting. I have not yet asked any questions. Perhaps I should not pre-empt what the officials are about to say but the documentation I have seen is shouting at me that progress is being made. The public sometimes needs to be reminded of why Ireland is involved in the aid business.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

I thank the sub-committee for giving me an opportunity to make a presentation on Ireland's development programme in Tanzania. I thank the Chairman for his kind words about the programme. We had the honour of hosting members of the sub-committee during their visit to Tanzania in July 2008. They are familiar with the work of the embassy.

I would like to put Ireland's engagement in Tanzania in context. Ireland and Tanzania have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations for over 30 years. That was demonstrated by the sub-committee's visit to Tanzania, as well as the more recent visits by the Tanzanian Prime Minister, Mr. Mizengo Pinda, to Ireland and by the Minister of State, Deputy Peter Power, to Tanzania. Prior to independence in the 1960s, Irish missionaries were engaged in providing health and education services in Tanzania and they continue this good work.

Since independence Ireland and Tanzania have shared a common foreign policy approach favouring the peaceful settlement of disputes, a rule bound international order and support for the United Nations. We both supply troops to UN peacekeeping operations. Tanzania has taken the lead in pushing for the United Nations to deliver development aid as one. Ireland is supporting this system wide coherence effort, both at UN headquarters and in Tanzania.

In the region the east African community has emerged as a contributor to greater stability. As a one time host to more than 1 million refugees, Tanzania, while remaining a peaceful nation and emerging as a democracy, has paid a significant price for conflicts outside its borders. Its decision to naturalise more than 160,000 Burundi refugees, a process that is nearly completed, is unprecedented in the scale of its generosity. Ireland has supported this process.

Tanzania has had some notable development successes recently, with real GDP growth of approximately 7% per annum. This has occurred in a stable macroeconomic environment and inflation generally has been kept in check. Mortality among children aged under five years has declined by nearly 40% since 1999. Tanzania's national adult HIV prevalence has declined and malaria and tuberculosis are being successfully tackled. Primary education enrolment, with gender parity, is in excess of 95%. However, very real development challenges remain. In the 2009 UN human development report Tanzania was ranked 151 out of 182 countries. Life expectancy remains low at an average of just 55 years. Population growth at 3% per annum places huge pressure on fragile social services and periodic drought has led to food insecurity. In addition, despite impressive growth rates, poverty levels have fallen only slightly from 35.7% in 2001 to 33.3% in 2007.

Achieving more poverty reducing growth requires accelerated efforts and will be the overriding objective of the new national strategy for growth and the reduction of poverty, known as MKUKUTA, due by the middle of this year. Ireland's aid programme in Tanzania is responding to these challenges in partnership with the Government of Tanzania and other development partners. Aligned with the current MKUKUTA, Irish Aid focuses its support at sectoral level on rural livelihoods and growth, health services and good governance, particularly at local level. HIV-AIDS and gender are also addressed. As members will be aware, progress on gender equality in Tanzania is fundamental to achieving the millennium development goals. Among development partners, Ireland leads on gender based violence. Our aid programme further assists the realisation of MKUKUTA outcomes through supplying general budget support, GBS. National level dialogue with the Government of Tanzania and close co-ordination with other donors are hallmarks of the way we work. Tanzania is a leader in implementing the Paris principles.

As members have been provided with a briefing on our programme, I will confine myself to highlighting one key sectoral area, namely, agriculture. Agriculture holds the key to reducing poverty in Tanzania and achieving the millennium development goal of reducing poverty by one half by 2015. The sector employs up to 80% of the labour force and more than 56% of farmers are women. However, like elsewhere, agriculture has been neglected both by the government and the international community for decades. Recently, however, the Government of Tanzania has placed renewed and welcome emphasis on this vital sector. Nonetheless, challenges remain. Agriculture is predominantly rain fed and at subsistence level, with limited use of technology and poor access to markets. Nearly all of the 5 million smallholder farm households still rely on the hand hoe as their sole farming implement. The vulnerability of small farmers has been highlighted by the drought that has hit Tanzania and the east Africa region for the past three years. This has resulted in 1.5 million people facing serious food shortages in Tanzania alone. Annual food inflation increased to more than 18% last year. The Tanzanian Government stepped in and provided nearly 57,000 tonnes of grain as food relief between November 2009 and January 2010.

Ireland, together with just four other donor partners, is working in partnership with the government through the agriculture sector development programme to address these vulnerability challenges. The key objectives of the programme are to generate higher agricultural productivity and improve farm incomes. The programme is expanding the area of agricultural land under irrigation, improving advisory extension services which currently reach only 35% of farmers and increasing the availability of improved seeds, fertiliser and mechanisation. In its third year it is beginning to show results. Its aims and objectives fit very well into the framework of the White Paper on Irish Aid and recommendations of the hunger task force. In excess of 40% of our programme in Tanzania is involved in implementing the recommendations of the task force in the areas of food security, agriculture and nutrition.

Complementing our work with the Government of Tanzania in the public sector is our support for the private sector. Increasing productivity requires a market if income is to grow. We are working with the NGO, TechnoServe, to help 3,500 smallholder cocoa farmers to boost their incomes by up to 60% per annum. When I asked one farmer last October what she would do with the extra money she expected to earn from her crop, she replied that she would pay the school fees for her children, buy some meat for her family to eat and buy herself a new kanga or traditional dress. These are modest ambitions, yet they are hugely significant for the farmer in question and her family. Helping small farmers to upgrade their cocoa product and link it with international standards and markets is enabling families to achieve their ambitions.

Through the agriculture sector development programme an optimal policy framework is in place for Tanzania to increase its agricultural production. The challenge is to ensure adequate investments are made in the sector. Recognising this, the Tanzanian Government launched a new drive, known as "Kilimo Kwanza" or "Agriculture First", to promote private sector involvement and investment in agriculture. This new initiative is complementary to the agriculture sector development programme and will place greater emphasis on increasing financing, commercialisation, agri-processing and marketing. Ireland, through its current role as chair of the agriculture donor group, is playing a key role in engaging government and development partners on this initiative. We have advocated for continued priority to be given to small farmers. During the annual budget support review we led on the formulation of a joint government-donor partner discussion paper on Kilimo Kwanza and pro-poor growth.

Ireland is playing a key role in advocacy on pastoralism. I am pleased that Oxfam representatives, with whom we work closely, are present to provide details of the excellent work they are doing in this and other areas in Tanzania. Pastoral communities provide livelihoods for approximately 1.5 million people in Tanzania but, like other vulnerable communities in Africa, they face challenges in gaining access to resources and seeking recognition for their way of life. Ireland has leveraged its role in national level dialogue with the Tanzanian Government to highlight the position of pastoralism in Tanzania. With the NGO, Care International, we have a programme which builds the capacity of pastoral communities to advocate for and seek their rights.

I have used agriculture to demonstrate how Ireland works to support government and, at the same time, supports a number of non-governmental organisations in the private sector to achieve the millennium development goals. The model we use in agriculture mirrors our engagement in other areas.

With a significant proportion of our funding in Tanzania channelled through Government systems, the question can be asked as to how we ensure accountability. While we are aware of the risks, we have been extremely active, in partnership with the government and other development partners, in mitigating them. Not only are we engaged in ongoing dialogue with the Government at a policy level, but we are also active in supporting domestic accountability systems. Tanzania's system of domestic accountability has been greatly strengthened in recent years. For example, the parliament has become very active in holding the government to account. In 2008 a Prime Minister and two Government Ministers were forced by the Parliament to accept political responsibility for their actions and resign. Parliamentary committees, of which three or four are chaired by opposition members, are scrutinising public accounts and holding accounting officers to account. Sub-committee members may recall that the chair of the public accounts committee in Dodoma explained that his committee acted "as an insurance policy for the Irish taxpayer" and Tanzanian citizens. The office of the comptroller and auditor general has been strengthened and its independence assured. The media and civil society organisations are taking lead roles in holding those in authority to account.

Ireland supports all of these efforts through our programme, strengthening parliamentary oversight, the media and civil society. Our full-time auditor participates in a broad range of processes ensuring accountability mechanisms will continue to be strengthened. We chair the accountable government development partners group. The anti-corruption bureau has been significantly strengthened and its work is yielding results. It is fair to say the opportunities for grand corruption are being closed off systematically in Tanzania and this drive is coming from the very top. President Kikwete and Prime Minister Pinda are leading the way. Corrupt officials are being pursued, with a total of 17 grand corruption cases making their way through the courts.

This is a short outline of our programme in Tanzania. My team and I will be happy to answer any questions members may have.

Mr. Jim Clarken

Oxfam Ireland thanks the sub-committee for giving it this important opportunity to share knowledge of its work in Tanzania. In common with Irish Aid, we have designated Tanzania a priority country in our overseas programme.

Oxfam has been working in Ireland for over 50 years. Oxfam Ireland is one of 14 independent members which comprise the global Oxfam confederation and we work together on issues of long-term development and rapid onset and long-term humanitarian work, in addition to campaigning and advocacy on issues that affect the lives of people in developing countries.

Oxfam Ireland established a field presence in Tanzania in 2003 and in the interim has built a programme of support that focuses on sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers and pastoralists and that aims to reduce the spread and mitigate the effects of HIV-AIDS on particularly marginalised groups such as women, orphans, vulnerable children and youths. We are piloting a programme of support aimed at building the capacity of artisans, from whom we source craft goods for our Fairtrade shops in Ireland. Our principal way of working in Tanzania is in partnership with local civil society organisations working in these key sectors. In this way, our support not only enables them to maintain programmes at grassroots level but also enables us to contribute to the strengthening of civil society in Tanzania. We do this in the belief that a strong and vibrant civil society is critical if real and sustainable progress is to be made.

We work closely with other Oxfam affiliates which are present in Tanzania. In the past five years we have played a key leadership role in this regard through our management of joint initiatives in our priority sectors of livelihoods and HIV-AIDS. This joint work is the core foundation for a planned move to a single management structure in Tanzania in line with global developments within Oxfam International. In that context, Oxfam Ireland is leading on the development of a single Oxfam country strategy for Tanzania and will assume the management role when the new structure is rolled out in April 2011. In other words, Oxfam Ireland will manage the entire programme in Tanzania on behalf of the global Oxfam International confederation.

The move to a single management structure in all programme countries is central to Oxfam International's response to the ongoing and critical debate on aid and development effectiveness. The decision to implement this major institutional change is rooted in our belief that it will ultimately make us more efficient and effective, thereby enabling us to have a greater positive impact on the lives of poor people. One might be interested to know that Oxfam Ireland is playing a key role in this global change process and that we are one of four global Oxfam bodies involved in the leadership group within the confederation.

Informed by previous experience and an updated country analysis and cognisant of our own competencies, in the next three to five years our programme in Tanzania will focus on agriculture, pastoralism, gender, education and governance. In agriculture we will continue the work of strengthening farmers' organisations, with particular reference to district level development planning. We will also work on value chain development, including innovative approaches in the form of public-private partnerships. Our work in agriculture focuses on food security which clearly resonates with the Irish Government's commitment to alleviating hunger. In keeping with our commitment to put women at the centre of everything we do, we will maintain and further develop a specific focus on women farmers.

We have provided significant support for Tanzanian civil society partners for campaigning and advocacy work in the context of ongoing negotiations on economic partnership agreements between the European Union and the east Africa region. In regard to pastoralism, we have done significant work to strengthen pastoral civil society to ensure this most marginalised population group has a voice and can participate in processes and decisions that impact directly on it. We continue to support pastoralists to engage in securing village land tenure and effective land-use planning. Increasingly we will seek to support efforts by pastoralists to adapt their livelihoods in the context of ongoing and worsening climate change. This includes introducing faster growing breeds of livestock, improved marketing and processing of livestock products, mobile savings and credit services, improving water supply and forage conservation, animal health services and village grain banks. We will also respond to pastoral communities which are requesting support in order that their children can receive an education and training for a changed economic world. Our work on pastoralism is part of a regional approach, including in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, all of which have significant pastoralist populations and shared challenges. The learning and experience enabled by this regional approach brings significant added value to our work on pastoralism in Tanzania.

Oxfam Ireland is committed to ensuring women are at the centre of our work. Even in a country such as Tanzania in which there is strong official commitment to gender equality, the process of tackling deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes is a complex one that requires long-term investment of time and other key resources. We have previously worked to ensure our programmes in Tanzania are sensitive to the needs of women and the roles they play in their households and communities. We will continue to do this. In addition, we are developing specific interventions to address gender-based violence, ensure opportunities for women to assume leadership roles at every level and promote the economic empowerment of poor women.

Oxfam believes a strong and vibrant civil society is essential in ensuring effective governance. Our work in this sector cuts across all areas of our programme and focuses on supporting civil society partners and their constituencies to demand accountability and transparency of their leaders from community through district levels to national level. One way in which we do this is by supporting work done by partners on public expenditure tracking systems, particularly at community level. For example, our partner Hakikazi Catalyst supports community notice boards, whereby planned expenditure for a particular village is displayed and community action groups can compare what actually happens with what has been budgeted for. Hakikazi Catalyst then helps to organise interface meetings between the local government officials, duty bearers and the community action groups to discuss these issues.

Oxfam will continue to promote efforts to ensure quality education, with a particular focus on teacher training and curriculum development. As with all our work, we will specifically tailor our interventions to ensure girls have equal access to quality education and, in keeping with our commitment to promote good governance, will work to support effective public expenditure tracking specific to the education sector.

Oxfam Ireland has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Irish Aid which has provided a framework for financial support for our programme in Tanzania. We are in receipt of a block grant from the civil society fund and planning for inclusion in the multi-annual programme scheme, MAPS, from 2011 onwards. We have over time developed a strong collaboration with Irish Aid in Tanzania, from which we see many mutual benefits accruing in the country. Our on the ground experience feeds into discussions at both donor and Government levels, thus ensuring the real issues affecting the communities we support inform policy dialogue. For Oxfam Ireland, there is synergy and complementarity between our work and Irish Aid's role in Tanzania. We welcome the renewed focus that the Tanzanian Government is placing on agriculture through its Kilimo Kwanza initiative and believe Irish Aid is playing a key leadership role within the donor community in its support for agriculture and seeking to ensure the approach to agricultural growth is focused on poverty reduction.

Irish Aid continues to play a key role in supporting pastoralists and holding back the tide of social exclusion that they experience. We hope we will be able to continue to work closely with Irish Aid in supporting the efforts of pastoral civil society and the pastoral parliamentary groups in trying to redefine the agenda for pastoralist livelihoods in Tanzania.

Oxfam Ireland acknowledges the important support Irish Aid is giving to women's rights and tackling gender-based violence. One of the major challenges we face is in reaching out across a vast country to poor women in remote and rural areas in order that they can realise their rights. We need governments, donors and civil society all working together to ensure those most at risk know their rights and can be confident they will be protected.

Oxfam Ireland considers it critical to acknowledge the important development strides that Tanzania has made. In a region where conflict has not only limited potential but also destroyed development gains, Tanzania is notable for its peaceful transition following independence and for maintaining peace in the years since. This has helped to create an environment which is undoubtedly conducive to sustainable development. Tanzania's role in a region beset by chronic conflict should also be acknowledged. The country has demonstrated leadership in several regional conflicts, including the Rwandan civil war and genocide of the 1990s. Tanzania should be encouraged and supported to continue to play this role in the region and in pan-African fora.

However, Tanzania is a large and complex country and there is little doubt more needs to be done. Particular improvements could and should be made in the role of civil society and of the media in questioning government and responding to corruption.

I thank the sub-committee for its interest in Tanzania and urge open and constructive dialogue on how best to support the kind of innovation needed in development thinking in a context where climate change, conflict and poverty threaten the fulfilment of human potential.

Assante Sana. Thank you.

I thank the delegation for their presentations.

I also thank Ms Barrington and Mr. Clarken for their presentations. We appreciate the good work being done in Tanzania by Irish Aid and the non-governmental organisations. I visited Tanzania, while on holiday two years ago and saw at first hand much of the work that is going on there. It is making a major contribution to the marginalised.

While the 2009 budget for the programme was in excess of €35 million, will it be reduced this year? What impact would a reduction have on the people there? The ambassador referred to the reduction in HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria by 40%, but there are still major outstanding issues. How can this be further addressed? What are the Tanzanian Government and aid agencies doing in providing social supports for people suffering from these diseases who have no incomes?

What has been the impact of climate change and drought on Tanzania? While I accept we cannot create rain, how can the conditions for agriculture be improved? Will the ambassador inform us from where the economic growth, a positive development, is coming? Is it in agriculture or exploitation of natural resources? I know there are some valuable natural resources in the country but I am not sure the Tanzanian people get the benefit of them.

Some progress has been made in addressing the question of gender-based violence in Tanzania. How serious is the problem there? The ambassador mentioned Tanzania has taken in refugees from Burundi. Has it got many refugees from the Congo and Rwanda? Ireland accepted some refugees from the Congo who had spent time out in the open in Tanzania.

What is being done in co-ordination, co-operation and integration between all the different agencies working in Tanzania to ensure the maximum value for the money spent on the programme?

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

We are still waiting for the decision on our budget in 2010, so I do not have any information to give the Deputy on that one.

The ways AIDS, TB and malaria have been tackled in Tanzania are good but there are key issues outstanding. One third of all aid coming into Tanzania is through the HIV-AIDS window, which in a way distorts the aid system. With 5.7% of the population infected with AIDS, it is not necessarily the largest problem it has but still one third of the aid is for tackling HIV-AIDS. It is clear, however, that the aid coming in is having a big impact on the reduction of the incidence of AIDS. The statistics for mother-to-child transmittal of the virus show a marked reduction and positive effect of the programme.

The main issue is how to strengthen the health system. This is where our aid programme is working very hard in connection with many other donors. It is helping the Tanzanian ministry of health have in place strong systems at local level and in remote areas. The health system has only one third of the number of medical personnel it should have. Tanzania's total budget in 2008 was only one quarter of the Irish health service's budget. That is for a population of 42 million compared with Ireland's 4 million. One can imagine the massive problems with which it is faced.

When I informed the Tanzanian Minister for Health before Christmas that I was travelling to Ireland to defend the programme, he asked if he could come with me because he wanted to make the case for even more support in overcoming huge challenges.

The Tanzanian Government is examining every way possible to address the issues of the poverty of and social supports for sufferers of AIDS, TB and malaria. It was disappointed that a household budget survey from last year showed the level of poverty going down, but not quickly enough. From the middle of next year, there will be a new strategic plan and I have no doubt it will be much more focused on those areas that have worked in poverty reduction.

It is clear climate change will have a greater impact on the poorest of the poor. One can see this in certain areas and regions of Tanzania. The drought there has hit the pastoralist communities especially hard. The donor communities are working with the Tanzanian Government to do their best to solve this problem. The government has come up with an appeal for seeds which is being met. The agriculture sector development programme has also taken this on board. The outcomes are being shown and delivered at this point and if we can continue to support that sector programme, we will be going a very long way towards addressing the enormous problems Tanzania has in this area.

Regarding economic growth, agriculture has been underperforming, with between 4% and 5% of the growth coming from there. It should be higher, which is the reason behind this new focus on agriculture by the government, and that is very welcome in terms of gaining as much as possible from the potential of agriculture. The other areas of growth have been tourism and mining in particular, which account for about 10% of the country's growth.

We know gender-based violence is serious, but one of the key issues for us at the embassy is to identify how serious. As a result, we have supported the National Bureau of Statistics in a study that is due to be completed within the next couple of weeks or months. It will set a baseline for the first time on the prevalence of gender-based violence. As a result, we will be able to support interventions which will begin to address the problem. Everybody is working in something of a vacuum. We know it is a problem based on anecdotal evidence, but we really need firm baseline data to evaluate the extent of the prevalence and how it can be measured so that we can see an improvement. This is something we have been very much involved in and, hopefully, we will have the report soon when we will be able to go from there.

Tanzania's generosity in terms of refugees is remarkable. No sooner has one conflict area been resolved and the problem dealt with than another arises. Ireland took in 80 refugees last year who were based in Tanzania, having come from the Congo. These were particularly vulnerable people who for one reason or another could not be sent back to the Congo even if peace had been restored in their region. At the moment there are about 150,000 refugees from all over in Tanzania. The number of Burundi refugees is way down, from more than 200,000 about a year ago to a greatly reduced number now, mostly because up to 160,000 of them have been naturalised as citizens of Tanzania in an enormous gesture of generosity by the government. I am very glad to say that Ireland has supported that effort in the resettlement of former Burundi refugees who are now being naturalised as citizens in Tanzania.

On co-operation, co-ordination and integration it is fair to say that Tanzania is a leader in this field in terms of the division of labour and trying to get the donor community to align behind the strategic plan of the Government, to try to stop the duplication. There is still an issue, and the government faces big challenges because it does not know how much money is coming in to Tanzania. It is off-plan, off-budget or both. Therefore, it is very difficult for the Government to deal with this but, within the European Union and the United Nations system, and again, bilaterally, there is a very big movement afoot to try to bring all the partners together so that there is no duplication and we align ourselves with the Government plan and do not impose extra costs on the administration and its fragile systems that it should not have to deal with.

Mr. Jim Clerkin

I will not seek to address all the questions because some of them have already been answered very succinctly. Regarding the budget, not just representing Oxfam Ireland, but as a member of Dóchas, I have spoken here before about the dramatic effects the aid cuts have had. I do not need to go over old ground in that regard. Specifically in relation to Tanzania, our funding has remained fairly static. Obviously, we had great intentions for the growth and development of our programme and we are actually continuing to do that by way of redirecting funds, tightening our belts and compromising on other areas because we see this as an absolutely key focus for us. The work is critical.

It must be said, however, that the effects of the aid cuts on us have been substantial and have been detrimental across many programme areas. Nonetheless, we are doing our best to limit that and we are hoping that things will get back on track again.

As a sector, and as Oxfam, we are very disappointed that the delivery date for the 0.7% has been moved to 2015, as we now know, because many millions of euro will not be spent during that time and this will slow the development process. It would be remiss of me, I believe, not to take this opportunity to make that comment.

In relation to HIV and AIDS, our previous focus was on service delivery and working directly with people who are affected. We are continuing to do that but in the context of the broader health service provision that is required, as the ambassador mentioned. We are also seeking to mainstream the issue of HIV and AIDS in everything we do, to promote a high level of awareness in every aspect of our work. This is necessary so that people can understand the risks that HIV and AIDS represent for development and the progression of the various issues we are also trying to move forward.

Climate change is a very real issue and we see it every day in our work. We are working with communities to try to help them adapt as best they can to the effects. Again, the ambassador mentioned pastoralists and they have been particularly badly affected. We are working with them in a couple of different ways. We are working on immediate food security issues, which are happening right now. In the wake of all the understandable media interest in Haiti, many of these critical issues that are happening in east Africa have slipped into the background and we are anxious that people continue to remember there is a food crisis there. We are responding to it, and we need to continue to do so. From a longer term perspective, we need to work with communities to help them adapt to climate change and somehow find ways to cope with the changes in seasons, to deal with the absence of rain when it is due to fall, etc. Climate change is having an extremely dramatic effect.

As the sub-committee may know, Oxfam in Ireland and globally has had a strong role within the international NGO community in relation to lobbying and advocacy on climate change. We were very disappointed with the results of Copenhagen, and hopefully we will get back to that again. Certainly, as a key development issue, there is nothing stronger in terms of the devastating effects it could have on much of the good progress that has been made. That needs to be stated, and people need to understand this. Pressure needs to be put on the international community to ensure that developing countries are very much at the centre of plans around climate change and how the world community deals with it. In particular, sufficient adaptation funding must be put in place, which we maintain should be not independent, but separate from development assistance. This is about compensation for what it has done by the developed world and is separate from the development project. Obviously, it needs to work hand in hand with this, but that is an important point.

Regarding gender-based violence, we are working on that considerable issue. A point worth making is that this is not just about working with women's groups. It is about working with men, because they are at the heart of resolving the gender-based violence problem. Women are the victims. We will make real progress in this area together, and that is the way in which Oxfam has progressed on the problem.

I have no real comments in respect of the refugees, except to reiterate what has been said. Obviously, we work in those programme countries as well - Burundi, the DRC and Rwanda - and we are also working with refugees there. I was in the DRC a few months ago. We are working directly on the ground there. A country that is stable and is moving in the right direction, such as Tanzania, can be dramatically affected. Their generosity of spirit and camaraderie to the broader east African community needs to be acknowledged and supported. This has been given by Irish Aid.

Irish Aid has taken a lead role on co-ordination and co-operation within the aid movement. We should be proud of the work done in this area, specifically in respect of NGOs. Our global transformation process is feeding into that agenda to ensure that the work we do is harmonised and co-ordinated within our own structures, and with the broader aid community as well. Many positive results are coming from that, as well as lessons learned that we can share in other areas.

I thank the ambassador and the representatives from the Oxfam Ireland group. It is great to get an update on the progress. Having experienced the programmes at first hand and seeing how the field operations were working, I am very pleased that things are progressing all the time, even if we would like them to progress more quickly.

While agriculture is the key to success, there is no doubt it is the women that are the real key to success. It is so important that women's rights are respected and that we tackle domestic violence. There is such a deep rooted patriarchal society that it has to be done from two levels, because women are definitely the key.

We had a very interesting debate yesterday on the disaster in Haiti. The one thing that came through the debate was the issue of co-ordination and co-operation. The paper refers to a single management structure, which is a great initiative and it covers co-ordination and how it works. I would like to hear a little bit more on how that is working.

The other area coming through is the agriculture sector development plan. This is an initiative combining the private sector and the Government in how we process agriculture, through marketing food and so on. To what extent is that working? Ultimately, aid agencies will move on. This should be about how to get people on the ground up and running, so that we can move on. Otherwise, we will have an ongoing statement of what is happening without results. How long does it take to get these things up and running? I like to see movement and the people working for themselves. I never seem to see an end to the programmes. I want to see the people in Tanzania continue where the aid agencies left off. Much attention will be focused on Haiti, as so many people working for agencies in Africa will move in that direction. One needs to get things going and move on to the next project. The delegates might not have answers to these questions; I just wanted to think aloud.

Mr. Jim Clarken

I will take this question and then excuse myself. I apologise, but I will have to leave soon.

We have been working in Haiti for more than 30 years. We have a very large programme and we had more than 100 people on the ground when the earthquake struck. Sadly, two staff members were killed and everybody was affected. There was a very powerful interview on Channel 4 with our country director, who had just buried her mother before going back to work. These are extraordinary people working in an extraordinary scenario.

We have contingency plans in place for an emergency like this. We are prepared for such an eventuality, with stocks and support structures in place. Across the Oxfam International confederation, we have lead agencies in different areas that would deal with an emergency. For example, there was one Oxfam organisation in Haiti - Oxfam GB - that took a managing role, irrespective of who else was working on the ground on different long-term development projects. That organisation co-ordinated all the work. On the broader co-ordination issue, we would usually take the lead within the UN clusters on water and sanitation, because that is an area of expertise for Oxfam in major emergencies.

Oxfam Ireland was not intent on putting people on planes and flag waving. That is not the way we do it. We co-ordinate in the most effective way possible through the people who know how to deal with it and who will respond immediately. We would consider this to be an effective, efficient and rapid way of responding to such an eventuality.

Our work in east Africa has not been affected by all this. We are continuing at the same pace as before, and that is the way it should be. As a global confederation, we all have different areas of expertise. Oxfam Ireland's expertise in Tanzania has been acknowledged by the confederation and we are focusing on that area. We support the other Oxfam organisations in that type of crisis when it arises. It is all about efficiency, effectiveness and knowing what we are good at and working on it.

Thank you very much for coming in today.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

I support what Senator Ormonde said about women being the key to success in development. That is well acknowledged. Tanzania has a very good framework for realisation of women's rights, but implementation is the problem. The movement towards women's rights in Tanzania is being led from the top by President Kikwete. Last November, I attended the 16 days of activism on violence against women, which was launched for the first time ever by Prime Minister Pinda. He made a very powerful speech about all that needed to be done to tackle gender violence in Tanzania. He used a tool kit produced by an NGO whose funding had come from Ireland as part of the basis of his speech. We felt very thankful that issues raised by an NGO supported by Ireland had become national policy. The Senator is right in that both men and women have to vindicate these rights.

A question was asked about the extent to which Agriculture First, orKilimo Kwanza, was working. The agriculture sector development programme took about six years to put together, and is now only three years in operation. When it was being launched, people said it would take five years to show results. However, we are beginning to see results after three years, which is extremely encouraging. Part of the reason is due to the structure put in place, as 75% of the funding is going down to districts. It is not staying in the centre, but instead going to local areas. For the first time, the extension workers are finding that there is money to do things, such as vaccinating chickens or carrying out research into crops in local areas.

We had a review of the agriculture sector development programme in October 2009. It was interesting to see a very positive increase in production and productivity of crops, livestock and farm income, as well as the adoption of improved agricultural technologies. Irrigation and mechanisation of farm equipment are increasing and extension services are being improved, with improved transport and training in regard to extension services. In the past, for example, an extension officer in a remote area may have had an enormous area to cover and no transport. Now, he or she might have a motorbike so he or she gets around to many more areas. Farm field schools have also started, which is sending out knowledge through the community by teaching some farmers who then go on to teach others. This is all beginning to happen in Tanzania.

What is interesting is that, if one considers the statistics for agriculture in Tanzania over, say, 20 years, all the indicators were going down until recently. For example, there were only 850 tractors in Tanzania in 2006 and this was down on the numbers in the 1980s. It is a remarkable statistic. Now, however, through the agriculture sector development programme, things are beginning to happen. The agriculture sector development programme is the government's framework. The government, with the private sector, has come in with the Agriculture First programme, which, hopefully, will inject larger sums of money into investment in agri-processing, which is the key to added value and to increasing farm incomes in Tanzania. We are very hopeful in this regard.

I thank the delegation for attending. When I mentioned to my Seanad colleague, Senator Alex White, that I was coming to the debate, he reminisced about the 1970s, when he was fortunate enough to attend the honorary doctorate conferral of Julius Nyerere at Trinity College. One of the reasons we set up our aid programme there was that we were very much trying to help the father of the country to develop Tanzania. I know our involvement with Tanzania has gone back further than that and Prime Minister Pinda, when we met him, told us he was educated by Irish missionaries. I am glad to see we are continuing to do great work.

I am particularly interested to read in the presentation the comments on accountability and corruption. When we were there, we heard at first hand from the chair of the public accounts committee on the work his committee is doing to ensure that Irish money is well spent. We also talked with the office of the comptroller and auditor general. The message coming from those meetings was that they will prosecute people who are corrupt and try to divert aid money away from the purposes for which it has been provided, which was good news to hear. The message that needs to go out from this committee is that our money is very well monitored. From the presentation today, we see that there have been real impacts on the ground in regard to health, education and economic growth, which at 7% last year is in virtual tiger territory, which is great news.

Ms Barrington referred to the impact the agricultural sector programmes are having and she also mentioned tourism. On a private visit to Tanzania, I experienced the wealth of tourist opportunities in the country. For a start, there is Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti is nearby with its Masai people, the Ngorongoro crater must be one of the natural wonders of the world and there is also Zanzibar Island. Does Ms Barrington believe there is more that could be done to improve the potential for tourism to the east African area, in particular bearing in mind that the political situation seems to be very stable.

I would like to hear Ms Barrington's comments on the political situation because Tanzania is surrounded by countries that have recently experienced political turmoil, for example, Rwanda. I know the Rwandan trials are still continuing in Arusha and I would be interested to hear Ms Barrington's thoughts on their progress. Nearby, in Kenya, there was civil unrest just a couple of years ago. Will Ms Barrington comment on the overall political situation, in particular, stability, in the east African region, not just in Tanzania?

What has the embassy been doing to make the case for albinos in Tanzania? There have been reports that many members of the albino population have come under attack due to tribal practices of using bones from albinos. Many albinos have been murdered. What has our embassy been doing on the ground to try to curtail this practice?

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

With regard to accountability, the Prime Minister and the President are leading the way. Just last week, the Prime Minister suspended five officials who were accused of corrupt practices. It is an ongoing issue and major trials are going through the courts at present.

Did they get any convictions?

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

Not yet. It is three years since the first trial began. The authorities tell us that three years is a relatively short time, and I tend to agree with them, in particular with regard to major corruption. There has been plenty of petty corruption but three years is not a huge length of time to deal with major corruption, particularly as it involves very powerful people who are trying to appeal through the courts again and again.

We would not know anything about that.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

There is a wealth of tourism opportunities. However, if one examines the statistics on Tanzanian tourism, the maximum number of visitors it ever achieves is 750,000, which, by Irish standards, is a very small number. The potential is enormous, therefore. Unlike Tanzania's neighbour, Kenya, however, it has gone the high-end market route rather than the more middle-income, coastal region route. The cheaper holiday along the coast is not all that available, apart from Zanzibar.

I remember it being high end.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

That is the point. They have not used the coastline, apart from Zanzibar, although there is huge potential to do so. They have taken the more high-end safari route, which is rather expensive. There is enormous potential, as the Senator said.

It has been a very politically stable country and has been a beacon within the east African community. It has many similarities to Ireland in its foreign policy and it deserves great commendation for its efforts. The only issue is Zanzibar. The outcome of recent elections in Zanzibar has been problematic. However, in recent weeks there has been a major breakthrough in the reconciliation process between the opposition party CUF and the CCM party. CUF has now recognised the President of Zanzibar, which is a major breakthrough. As I understand it, talks are ongoing between the two parties and there is some significant hope that there will be a power-sharing agreement before the next election, which is due in October 2010. Much is happening in that area.

On the issue of albinos, it has been a great shock to many people inside and outside Tanzania that albinos should be murdered. The government - in particular, Prime Minister Pinda - has been leading the way in speaking out against this. Seven people have already been convicted of murders and a further 13 will come through the courts shortly. The issue is being tackled. When the Minister of State, Deputy Peter Power, was in Tanzania last July, he raised the issue with Prime Minister Pinda. Within the European Union, we have raised this issue on numerous occasions at all levels within Tanzanian society. Quite frankly, the Government is highly upset by this occurrence and is doing everything in its power to ensure that those who perpetrate such crimes will be brought to justice.

Ms Niamh Carty

I wish to respond to a couple of the issues raised by Senator Hannigan. On the issue of accountability, it is heartening to see the kind of developments that have been evident in Tanzania in respect of the institutions being in place and being strengthened, as well as the commitment on the Government's part to ensure that corruption is addressed. However, one cannot underestimate the importance of the role of the ordinary citizen in the accountability equation. This is an area in which Oxfam considers its work with its civil society partners in Tanzania to be critical and to be a good complement to the efforts of both the Government and other donors in addressing corruption. Efforts such as those discussed earlier relating to the tracking of public expenditure at community level, empowering citizens to hold their leaders to account and so on, are a critical part of that equation. While Oxfam is not the only organisation to address such issues, it is a positive way of working that complements well the other efforts being made at other levels.

On tourism, anyone who has visited Tanzania will know it is blessed from the perspective of its beauty and the wonderful places one can visit. Obviously, immense potential exists to further develop it but it must be done in a manner that respects the rights of indigenous people and local communities, who will then benefit from it. This can only be of benefit to both the tourism industry and the communities themselves and Oxfam's plea is that such development of tourism should be done in such a way that takes those interests into account.

The subject of tourism has come up repeatedly as the sub-committee goes through programme countries and has discussions with Irish Aid officials. It is clear that some programme countries are not yet ready for business links with Ireland to be developed to a reasonable level. Is Tanzania at the point at which Ireland can consider the development of relationships and its existing contacts for that purpose? On members' recent visit to Mozambique, our ambassador there made it clear that we are not ready and it may not be a place in which Irish investors should invest just yet as it will require more time to develop its governmental systems before people from Ireland can invest in tourism or whatever. On members' visit to Tanzania, they met representatives of the ESB, who had signed a major contract for approximately €25 million. Are we at the point at which Ireland can move this on and develop its relationship with Tanzania in order that the two countries can begin trading at an increased level?

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

Possibly. A number of Irish companies operate very effectively in Tanzania at present, including the ESB, the TDI Group and Tullow Oil. Given the current emphasis Tanzania's Government is giving to agriculture and agro-processing, now is the time we should be exploring the possibility of linking up Irish agro-processors with agro-processing possibilities in Tanzania. Part of the reason I am staying on for a couple of days after this meeting is to talk to a number of Irish agro-processing companies to ascertain what their interest might be or how we could help them to engage to an extent with Tanzania.

Are there specific areas in this regard?

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

This is what I am going to explore with the major agro-processing companies, such as Glanbia for example, in the next couple of days. I do not know whether they are ready.

However, the ambassador obviously knows the areas in which Tanzania has needs.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

The volume of trade between our two countries last year was approximately €10 million, €9 million of which was in one direction. It would be better to have more trade that was more balanced. Some of my colleagues within the European Union now realise that while their aid programmes are in place, they also have great trade with Tanzania. In fact, the European Union is Tanzania's largest trading partner and so theoretically there are no barriers to trade between Ireland and Tanzania. The only barrier is the lack of knowledge and information that must be shared between the two countries about possibilities that exist.

My other question pertains to the rate of AIDS and the percentage reduction in the rate of HIV-AIDS. Mr. Clarken mentioned that Oxfam incorporates training and education as to the dangers involved, prevention and so on into everything it does. The ambassador's brief mentioned that the money coming into the health sector is disproportionately allocated to the HIV-AIDS area, which may go a long way towards explaining Tanzania's low rate when compared to some African countries. Can other factors explain it? Members have visited countries recently, Lesotho being the worst example, in which the rate is at horrific levels of 23% or 24%. Similarly, it is expected that the rate in Mozambique will rise rather than fall. Can the ambassador explain the reason Tanzania has been so successful in reducing the rate?

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

First, the rate was never as high as in other countries. Second, there has been an acknowledgement from the outset at the highest levels in the political system that this issue had to be tackled.

This is the point I am getting at.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

When I came to Tanzania in 2007, I was struck by the fact that within a day or two of my arrival, a picture appeared on the front page of a newspaper of the President being tested for HIV and AIDS. While more people obviously need to be tested, good leadership has been provided in this regard. In addition, the NGO community and religious NGO communities have done enormous work in Tanzania on this issue and have been highly effective in getting the message out. "Safe Sex" is a slogan that people have taken on board. The low rate is as a result of this co-ordinated effort between political leadership, the NGO community and the systems themselves.

My criticism was not of the NGOs but pertained to some of the enormous amounts of funding that are coming in. It was to the effect that such funding really should be focused on budgets and on systems, which would help to further strengthen the health systems. The major issue for us in Tanzania is that the maternal mortality rate is 578 per 100,000 women, as opposed to an equivalent rate of one per 100,000 in Ireland. Why is that? As women who become pregnant evidently are having unprotected sex, the same risk factors exist as for HIV and AIDS. However, reducing the maternal mortality rate has proved to be an extremely stubborn problem because the health systems are so fragile.

The ambassador has hit on an extremely point, which also was noted in the brief, when she talked about "systems" versus "budgets". When one considers the different areas within the health sector it is clear, as the ambassador noted in the briefing provided, that improvements can be ascribed to flexible funding on a district level and the manner in which governmental systems have been set up.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

One must bring services down to the people.

The ambassador made this point in the briefing provided.

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

What has happened in respect of the areas of agriculture, health and local government is that funding is getting down to the districts in order that it trickles down to those who are most in need and those in the poorest areas. It involves using and strengthening the existing systems in order that the poorest and most vulnerable will be in a position to benefit. This is a key aim of what we are trying to do in Tanzania. It is to use and strengthen such fragile systems in order that the people themselves can demand and get the services they deserve.

I have a question about the statistics for road developments. Tanzania is an enormous country, even by African proportions. Who is building the roads?

H.E. Ms Anne Barrington

A combination of people. A great deal of money is coming from the Millennium Challenge Account, MCA; the African Development Bank, the European Union, China and India. Tanzania has a great ability to have and benefit from friends across the globe. It is making large strides in road development. As some 60% of all roads in the east African community are in Tanzania, it is critical that it sorts out its road network in order that goods can be transited in and out.

As I might be accused of asking questions for the sake of it, I will not go on. It is self-explanatory. Does Ms Carty wish to contribute?

Ms Niamh Carty


I, therefore, thank our guests for attending.

It was great to receive an update.

The sub-committee adjourned at 1.40 p.m. until 11.30 a.m. on Thursday, 29 April 2010.