AfDB Country Manager for Tanzania Patricia Laverley. PHOTO | COURTESY
By AGGREY MUTAMBO
The AfDB Country Manager for Tanzania Patricia Laverley spoke to Aggrey Mutambo on the bank’s role in promoting regional integration through infrastructure development.
What support is the AfDB giving Tanzania for post-Covid recovery?
The Covid-19 shocker is just one of many. In the current macroeconomic situation, one has to be careful, whether it’s the Russia-Ukraine war and global supply chain disruption, and the associated shocks related to that or whether it’s the fuel situation.
Obviously, the disruption affected fuel prices and that has resulted in more shocks, including the inflation impact. And because of this relationship, there’s an input to most production chains.
So, because of the additional cost, it inversely affects commodity prices and consequently, hurts all products and services.
Fuel is the enabler to production chains. So, what does that mean?
The AfDB’s Africa Emergency Food Production facility approved last year has benefited over 10 countries, among them, Tanzania. It got $75 million to support farmers and the value chains financed through this facility were climate-smart and resilient wheat seeds.
Wheat is a staple across Tanzania. With the increase in wheat prices, the government had to come up with the solution. We stepped in to support them produce their own wheat. The seeds have been procured and subsidies to farmers distributed. We are pleased with the way the Tanzania Agro Inputs Supply Project is going.
We’ve disbursed over 50 percent under this project and over 50,000 farmers in the country will help to produce wheat.
How about long-term projects, especially those linking to neighbouring countries? How far are they?
We have infrastructure projects in our portfolio. The first is the Kenya-Tanzania Power Transmission Line financed with the Japan International Corporation Agency. We also have the Rusumo Energy Project that’s almost closing now, and some transport projects.
More broadly, we are pleased with the progress of the trade transport corridors. One such project is the Arusha-Namanga one-stop border post. We brought in TradeMark Africa to help with the soft infrastructure for clearance and movement of goods and passengers through the border post and this has been completed.
A recent audit showed possible misappropriation of funds on some key projects in Tanzania. How are you enhancing governance?
The last audit report by the Controller and Auditor-General did identify some irregularities in the procurement processes in government. Of course, the AfDB has reservations about some of the irregularities. So, this year, we will support the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority with tightening the controls in the issuance of contracts.
Second, as a follow-up to the US Vice-President’s visit, the US ambassador in Tanzania in collaboration with the State Department have contracted Deloitte to serve as transaction advisor in infrastructure for the government of Tanzania.
Primarily, Deloitte will work with the ministries of Works and Transport and Energy in looking at their modelling techniques for their next set of projects. And since we will be financing some of them, we will be taking a second look at the modelling tools, used by the government in pricing their projects, the calculation of their rate of return, and the infrastructure analytics that underpin the projects.
BIO & EDUCATION
Previous roles at AfDB:
Country Programme Officer; Principal Governance Officer.
Served as Deputy Minister of Finance of Sierra Leone, 2019-2021.
Global Programme Coordinator at the World Bank Group (1998 – 2005);
Consultant for the International Monetary Fund (1997–1998);
Regional Manager, Kaiser Permanente (1994 –1997).
Regional Area Network Coordinator, Amnesty International (1992 – 1994);
Software Programmer, EU Services (1991–1992)
PhD in Business Administration (Financial Economics), American University, London, UK (2009).
Master’s degree in public administration (Financial Economics), American University, Washington DC, US.
BA (International Development, Financial Economics) American University, Washington DC, US.