The Government of Finland has provided a grant of 28.8 million euros (approximately 75 billion/-) in support of government efforts to improve  governance, innovation and forestry. The agreement was signed in Dar es Salaam yesterday by the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dotto James, and the Finnish Ambassador to Tanzania, Pekka Hukka.

The PS said the grant will be useful in boosting sustainable development and poverty eradication in Tanzania by strengthening  leadership and administration capacities to make accountable decisions on economic growth. “Specifically the grant will be sent on the UONGOZI Institute (9.90 million Euros), the National Innovation System (8.95 million Euros), and the Forestry and Value Chains Development Programme (9.95 million Euros),” he explained .

According to the PS, the innovation is aimed at providing a functioning national innovation system that can contribute to increased competitiveness among local companies, and increased access to new markets and job creation opportunities. It will enable young innovators from local universities, the public and private sectors to visit Finland and learn more about how to use their talents to create employment and promote economic growth, he said. “The grant also aims at increasing forest-based incomes and livelihoods for sustainable development”, James added.

According to Ambassador Hukka, the support especially for UONGOZI Institute aims at improving public sector performance in particular, in terms of economic governance. He said UONGOZI Institute plays a key role in supporting Tanzanian Institutions and their leaders to address challenges faced by the country. “Leadership skills can really make a difference. A recent impact evaluation demonstrates that the majority of leaders trained at UONGOZI Institute apply the skills they have acquired, and the changes brought by them are also perceived within their institutions,” he added.

He furthered stressed that affective and inclusive institutions, alongside a well-functioning public sector, are important inorder to achieve sustainable growth, poverty reduction and protect the rights of the citizenry. “Transparency, equality and goal orientation are a few of the qualities that leaders in Finland are often applauded for. We hope that our continued collaboration will further contribute to embedding these values also here in Tanzania,” Hukka said.

On the Forestry Value Chains Programme, he explained that the private sector together with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism will now be able to play a prominent role in engaging entrepreneurs in forest and non-forest products harvesting, processing, transport and marketing. “Experience tells us that if managed right, forests can provide livelihoods and restore the environment at the same time. Both in Tanzania and Finland, forests have a special role in promoting sustainable development,” he stated.

(This article was originally published on the Guardian, 30th November 2017)