By Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe

Regional Intergration

With a visit to the East African Community (EAC) headquarters or browsing of their materials you will quickly encounter the EAC’s ambitious slogan; ‘One People, One Destiny’. The motto encapsulates the essence of integration – the increased interlinking and interdependence of economies, communities, and (most importantly of all) people. Since its re-establishment in 1999, the community has moved quickly to expand from its original three member-states, to its current six member-states – Burundi (2007), Kenya (1999), Rwanda (2007), South Sudan (2016), Tanzania (1999), and Uganda (1999).  In more technical terms, the EAC has already achieved the East African Customs Union, the establishment of the Common Market (2010) and the implementation of the East African Monetary Union Protocol. In the academic literature, these are seen as stepping stones on the way to full political federation – which remains a way off yet.

However, integration is must be more than linking people abstractly and intellectually, it must be based on linking people. Personal relations can have a long-lasting effect on integration as mutual understanding grows from personal exchange. It is only by mingling with our neighbours that we learn about them, learn about their circumstances and environment, learn to trust them, and eventually learn to love them. As borders have opened up, however, initiatives to encourage personal connections have not been at the fore as the ‘One People, One Destiny’ mantra might at first suggest. The EAC (and the member states) must do more to encourage interaction and exchange among people, not just in economic, intellectual, and political areas.

One way of doing this is to encourage and enable young East Africans to travel across the region for free, or at nominal cost. The benefits of travel to an individual are too many to name, and each individual experiences travel differently. However, expanding horizons, giving people an opportunity to gain perspective, and to meet new friends, colleagues, and partners. Not to mention, giving our young people exposure to the great African spaces where the wildlife and natural wonders of the continent rule would foster a greater awareness of how precious our resource wealth is.

A good example of this is seen in the ‘Interrail’ initiative in Europe. Interrail was established in 1972 as a scheme to tempt young people to explore Europe and interact with each other. In other words, to give young Europeans the chance to raise their European awareness. Initially twenty-one countries took part in the scheme (which has expanded to thirty), which allowed youth aged 21 and below to travel freely across the participating states with the purchase of a 27 GBP pass. The scheme and pass have evolved, but remain in place today with the same purpose of enabling Europeans to explore their shared space, and develop a sense of ‘one people, one destiny’.

As we progress towards political federation and become ‘one people’, a similar scheme could have huge positive impacts on fostering understanding and trust, the foundations for peaceful co-existence. In addition, with the world’s economic structures shifting towards ‘shared’ and ‘knowledge’ economies, the networks and perspectives will empower young people to look beyond difference as a challenge, and treat it as an asset. Many people – young people in particular – are already linking through social media and other virtual/online ways. This too is positive, but there is simply no substitute for person to person sharing to truly encourage deeper appreciation and understanding of each other. When our people are able to work together and appreciate our diversity, this will unleash the creativity and innovation the region, and indeed the African continent more generally, need to in order to provide African solutions to African problems.

The expanding infrastructure that the member-states and the EAC Secretariat are undertaking and committed to are very welcome. Indeed, they are pre-requisites for industrialisation and structural transformation. However, the social dimension of integration must also be harnessed if the region is to truly flourish – and active and progressive initiatives such as the Interrail in Europe, would go a long way to complement the efforts being carried out by our leaders.

In order for this to work, travel must be affordable and the restrictions minimised for young people to be able to take advantage of this. This opportunity should be open to all citizens of the EAC member-states regardless of income, otherwise it will be limited to the privileged few who can already afford to travel. And while our rail networks may not yet be up to the task, we can consider an intra-regional coach or bus pass, or special fares on flights for young people signed up to such a scheme. States could provide subsidies for a number of passes per member state, per year channelled through the EAC Secretariat or responsible ministries of member states, or through Ministries responsible for culture or youth.

The barriers to travel, are also barriers to us becoming one people, and therefore sharing one destiny. As hundreds of thousands of Europeans have had the privilege and opportunity to experience in Europe, we should enable and encourage hundreds of thousands of East Africans to do the same in East Africa. In this way, we can truly appreciate the vast opportunities that the opening of borders presents to us as individuals and as societies on the path towards greater regional integration.


Will Industrialisation mean the end of ‘African-ness’?

by Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe

One of the core characteristics of what we know as ‘African-ness’ or ‘being African’, is how we relate to our families. In sociology, anthropology and ethnography, this is broadly captured in the concept called ‘Kinship’. It describes a set of relationships within a broader appreciation of who is, and who is not a member of the ‘family’, as well as what the obligations are for each kin to each other. This is often portrayed in contrast to the concept of the ‘nuclear family’ (defined as a couple and their dependent children), which is the basis for many social units in social sciences. These two concepts differ both in the number and type of the social obligations that the members have towards each other. Historically, the trend has been for societies that undergo industrialisation to shift from (broadly-speaking) kinship configurations to nuclear family configurations. If this trend continues in Africa, one of the core characteristics of the Continent is on the verge of being altered beyond recognition.

In terms of development, many of the social sciences associate ‘kinship’ with what are called ‘pre-industrial’ societies. These are societies that have not yet industrialised, often this includes ‘peasant societies’ – as may be the case of Tanzania. Nyerere did after-all proclaim Tanzania as a ‘Nation of Peasants’ and developed the Ujamaa system and philosophy by combining African patterns of kinship, with Marxist-Leninist, and later Maoist, theory. Peasant societies are characterised by kinship because most economic-activity is ‘home-based’ and social-welfare services are provided for by the extended family. Typically, this is caused by the close inter-dependence of households in communities that are not well-linked to other communities and indeed the rest of the world. This pattern is not exclusively African, and is well documented in pre-industrial Europe and Asia.

Sociologists have noted that with industrialisation, there is a strong tendency towards the ‘nuclear family’. On the surface, this does not appear too threatening to our understanding of ‘African-ness’. In industrialisation, the home-based economic activities are not able to compete with the mechanisation (using machines to increase output/productivity) that takes place in industrialisation through powered machinery – initially this happened with steam in the ‘Industrial Revolution’. As a result, people shifted from their various activities and interdependencies and became wage-earners. The life-style of wage-earners had profound impacts on the inter-dependencies within families as the time spent apart created increasing social distances, and the lure of wage-earning dis-incentivise some of the broader social-welfare activities that are included in our kinship framework . These include taking care of the elderly, of the sickly, of children, and so forth – as economists refer to them; the ‘economically in-active’. Increasingly the state was called-upon to provide social welfare in various forms, paid for by the taxation of wages of the wage-earners. This is likely going to be the case in Africa, unless we deliberately shape our institutions (policies, laws, regulations, etc.) to accommodate our kinship roles and responsibilities.

In addition to the above, industrialisation has led to increased specialisation of skills, which has in turn tended towards meritocracy – when leadership, prestige, and advancement is on the basis of ability. This later development in how social status is achieved and advanced meant that youth were less dependent on their family for social statues and increasingly by their association within the broader community, particularly of peers within their vocation. Moreover, with increased specialisation, where one works and earns their wage is no longer tied to the locality whether their extended family may be located. Nuclear families, which are smaller, are easier to move – this is called increased ‘geographic mobility’ in social sciences terminology – which in turn adds yet another barrier (distance) to kinship, in favour of the nuclear family.

As a result, as the late American sociologist William J. Goode (who served as the 63rd President of the American Sociological Association) argued, the maintenance of broader family ties (kinship) are increasingly subject to a type of ‘cost-benefit’ analysis for people’s development. In other words, broader families could fluctuate between being assets or burdens to an individual’s prosperity, or the prosperity of their nuclear family. Kinship ties, become replaced by ties to work-places and to the ‘new’ communities that families find themselves in. Most strikingly this is observed in the cultures, values, and attitudes between rural and urban communities, even within the same broader family – especially in the generations that are born and grow up in these different settings, compared to those who move from one to the other. These changes are gradual for each individual family, but there appears to be generational changes that can be quite sharp – this has been noted in the West through generational identities such as the ‘Silent Generation’ (born in 1920s to the early-to-mid 1940s); ‘Baby Boomers’ (born between early 1940s and to early 1960s); ‘Generation X’ (those born from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s); and ‘Millennials’ (born between the mid-1980s and the early 2000s). Such detailed studies have not been carried out in Africa, but anecdotally we are aware of the ‘pre-Independence’, ‘post-independence’, ‘structural adjustment’ and ‘millennial’ generations in our society. These are also compounded by the existence of the Diaspora – which this essay will not explore. This pattern is not limited to Europe and Africa, which is the typical comparison. The transformation of China, particularly under Deng Xiaoping, and the evolution of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew provide similar examples of the social implications for transformation through industrialisation.

As Africa increasingly industrialises, and urbanises (with more people living in urban areas compared to rural areas), this pattern is likely to repeat itself – if history is any indicator to go by. As with all social processes, this will not be the same across Africa, as it has not been the identical around the world. It may be the case that ‘kinship’ is much more resilient in Africa, relative to the rest of the world, and this would somehow be reflected in the type of social-welfare models, in the types of housing units, and in the type of social spaces that will emerge as Africa industrialises. Or, it may be the case that ‘kinship’ – such a strong characteristic of what defines ‘African-ness’ – may also collapse and be replaced by something ‘new’ that is differently African.

Some of the changes outlined are already happening across the continent, and are most noticeable between different generations. Understanding the social changes that are the consequence of industrialisation is critical to guiding what kind of society, indeed what kind of Africa, we want to emerge. The title of the piece hints that unless we take purposeful action, industrialisation could spell the end of ‘African-ness’ as we know it. We either accept this, encourage this, or seek ways to preserve and modernise kinship to the realities that industrialisation will usher in.

Hon. Angellah Kairuki (MP): Strengthening leadership capacities critical to the success of development plans

Board launchA critical component for the success of national and continental development plans will be the ability of leadership to provide guidance through the transitions that have to be made, said Hon. Angellah Kairuki (MP), Minister of State for the President’s Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance.

Hon. Kairuki made the statement at the launch of the new Board of Directors for UONGOZI Institute, the institute housed under the President’s Office which is mandated to develop the leadership competencies of leaders from the public sector and beyond.

“Supporting leaders and preparing leaders to face development challenges is what is expected of UONGOZI Institute,” said Hon. Kairuki, “we are confident that this new Board will steer the Institute in carrying out its mandate, and realizing its vision of a prosperous, equitable and sustainable Africa.”

This is the second group of Board of Directors for UONGOZI Institute, that has been operational since July 2010. The new Board of Directors were appointed by President John Pombe Maghufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, on 31st May, 2017.

The newly appointed Board of Directors include Amb. Kari Alanko (Chair), Finland’s Ambassador to South Africa; Prof. Idris Kikula, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dodoma (UDOM); Dr. Laurean Ndumbaro, Permanent Secretary, President’s Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance; Dr. Stergomena Tax, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); Prof. Penina Mlama, Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM); Dr. Cristina Duarte, Former Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration – Cape Verde; Ms. Iina Soiri, Director of the Nordic Africa Institute – Sweden; and Mr. David Walker, Former Director of the European School of Administration – United Kingdom.

On his part, the CEO of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja said that thus far, the Institute has succeeded in laying a solid foundation to become a renowned centre of excellence in leadership development for Africa.

“Over 1700 leaders have been trained, over 70 courses have been delivered for leaders, an internationally recognized post-graduate diploma programme on leadership is being offered in collaboration with Aalto University Executive Education in Finland, and over 40 high level policy forums and roundtable discussions have been organized, many with regional and international participation,” outlined Prof. Semboja, among other achievements of the Institute.

Going forward, Hon. Angellah Kairuki expressed that the outlook seems positive.

 “I believe that UONGOZI Institute has a lot of exciting and challenging work ahead, and for this, it has the Government of Tanzania’s full support,” said Hon. Kairuki.

District Commissioners and District Executive Directors from the Southern Highlands participate in Leadership Programme

Hon. Selemani Jafo (MP), Deputy Minister for the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government addresses over 72 DCs and DEDs at the opening ceremony for a Leadership Programme organised by PO-RALG and UONGOZI Institute
Prof. Joseph Semboja, CEO, UONGOZI Institute giving his welcoming remarks
Hon. Selemani Jafo (MP) in discussion with Deputy Permanent Secretary for Health, PO-RALG, Dr. Zainabu Chaula
District Commissioner, Kinondoni, Ally Happi, delivers a Vote of Thanks for the Guest of Honour during the opening ceremony of the Training Programme for DCs and DEDs from the Southern Highlands
Hon. Selemani Jafo (MP), Deputy Minister, PO-RALG with Dr. Zainabu Chaula, Deputy Permanent Secretary, PO-RALG on his left and Prof. Joseph Semboja, CEO, UONGOZI Institute on his right, posing with staff members from UONGOZI Institute and the facilitator of the training module on Emotional Intelligence, Ms. Zuhura Muro (top centre)


Over seventy-two District Commissioners and District Executive Directors from the Southern Highland Zone began a one-week Leadership Programme on Monday, 11 September, organised by the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government in collaboration with UONGOZI Institute.

This is the third group of DCs and DEDs that have participated in the Programme, with the aim of training all DCs and DEDs from mainland Tanzania by the end of the year in order to improve their leadership competencies.

So far, 148 DCs and DEDs have been trained in two zones.  This third phase will train DCs and DEDs from the Southern Highlands Zone covering the regions of Mbeya, Iringa, Rukwa, Njombe, Ruvuma, Songwe, Shinyanga and Dar es Salaam.

The opening ceremony of for the Leadership Programme was officiated by Hon. Selemani Jafo, Deputy Minister for the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government. In his opening remarks, he emphasised the need for DCs and DEDs to implement their duties effectively in order meet the expectations of the general public who rely on them to deliver tangible results in this fifth-phase Government.

Hon. Jafo further directed the leaders to ensure that they comply with the Procedures, Public Service Regulations and Principles in place while bearing in mind the existing administrative boundaries, stressing the need for the improvement of workplace relations.

“Through this training, it is my belief that we will all have a common understanding of how to work strategically towards bringing about the development required by citizens, as you will have a better understanding of how the Governement operates, bearing in mind the boundaries in place, separation of duties and protocols, as well as the level of confidentiality and ethics required of public officials,” stated Deputy Minister Jafo.

According to the CEO of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja, the objective of the training is to enhance key leadership competencies of the DCs and DEDs in making strategic choices, leading people and managing other resources and excelling in personal leadership qualities.

“The leadership programme focuses on issues related to good governance, ethics, integrity and anti-corruption; issues affecting collaboration among government leaders; and the importance of personal leadership and emotional intelligence in their leadership roles,” said Prof. Semboja.

The fourth and final stage of the Leadership Programme for over 100 DCs and DEDs who have not yet participated in the Programme is expected to be undertaken in December, 2017.

The African Leadership Forum 2017: Promoting peace and security for an integrated, united and sustainable Africa

ALF LogoThe fourth African Leadership Forum, an annual event convened by H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania was held in Johannesburg  from the 24th – 25th of August, 2017. With the theme of “Peace and Security for an Integrated, United and Sustainable Africa”, this year the Forum was co-convened by H.E. Mkapa and H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa. The organisation of the Forum was managed by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and UONGOZI Institute, and was supported by the Wits School of Governance, South Africa.

The African Leadership Forum brings together Former Heads of State as well as leaders from all sectors across Africa to discuss pressing issues affecting Africa’s sustainable development endeavors.

Peace and security in Africa is of great concern not only because of the fatal consequences that result from its absence but because much of Africa shall continue to be very poor without sustained peace and security. Further, to achieve the goals of effective integration, unity and sustainable development within and amongst African nations, it is fundamental that there is peace and security.

The Forum sought to understand what the persistent challenges to peace and security are, and to deliberate on what are some of the feasible solutions.

Seven former African Heads of State were in attendance, including H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, H.E. Bakili Muluzi, former President of Malawi; H.E. Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia; H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania; and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former President of Somalia. The Forum was also attended by over 100 key African leaders and thinkers that are currently or had previously worked on issues of peace and security.

The Forum, which took place over one and a half days, consisted of a plenary session with a Keynote Address from H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria followed by a panel discussion on ‘Cementing Foundations for Sustainable Peace and Security’. Two other panel discussions were held on the first day, with one on ‘Moving Towards Inclusiveness’ and the second on ‘Good Governance and the Rule of Law’.

The public plenary panel discussion on ‘Cementing Foundations for Sustainable Peace and Security’ included H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, H.E. Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia, Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia; Prof. Funmi Olonisakin, Director of the African Leadership Centre, King’s college, London; and Mr. Francois Louceny Fall, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Africa.

The panel focused on the common foundations of peace and security and how to cement them for the attainment of overall peace across the continent; what some of the achievements have been, some of the drawbacks, and what initiatives need to be reassessed to ascertain their effectiveness in enabling and supporting lasting peace and security in Africa.

The second panel discussion on ‘Moving Towards Inclusiveness’ had H.E. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa; H.E. Bakili Muluzi of Malawi; Ms. Abbey Chikane, Chair of Sub Sahara Investment Holdings and former Chair of the Kimberley Process; and Mr. Ayabongwa Cawe, Economic Justice Programme Manager at Oxfam South Africa  as panelists.

This panel discussed how inequalities and exclusions have been the root of many conflicts across the continent, and how economic exclusion fails to provide equal economic opportunities in terms of employment and access to financial products and services, which can alienate people from their broader society and cause preventable tensions that may escalate to become conflicts, and thus inhibit peace.

The fourth panel on ‘Good Governance and the Rule of Law’ included H.E. Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania; H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia; Hon. Justice Bart M. Katureebe, Chief Justice of Uganda; and Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang, President of the Pan African Parliament.

The panel discussed the ideal of good governance as it relates to Africa, and how it may be difficult to achieve in its entirety, as it is all encompassing, including characteristics such as adherence to the rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus building, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, accountability, and participation. As the absence of one or more of these characteristics can sometimes lead to tensions, the panel discussed how best to uphold good governance and the rule of law in Africa in order to promote sustainable peace and security.

On the second day, H.E. Thabo Mbeki began with a presentation on ‘Africa’s Position in the Global Peace and Security Architecture’ which was followed by two breakout sessions chaired by H.E. Benjamin Mkapa and H.E. Moncef Marzouki on ‘International Factors Shaping Peace and Security Responses’ and Aligning National, Continental and International Peace and Security Frameworks’ respectively, and culminated with the closing plenary.

Below is a summary, with recommendations, of the Statement of the Forum:

In the wake of increasing global security concerns, Africa cannot afford to be a bystander in its development trajectory at the expense of its sustainability nor a global player with divided interests that are of little benefit to the people of the continent.  In the words of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Africa needs to ensure that it has “the capacity to manage conflict…and must rely less on peacekeepers from outside.  We need less politics and more altruistic governments; African Solutions to African Problems.”

It is in the interests of the continent to unite and re-establish a stronger continental commitment to the African Renaissance, economically, politically and socially.  To accomplish that vision and make it a reality, we need continental leadership, governments, civil society and African business to place the well-being of the people of this continent at the forefront of their endeavours.  African development and sustainability depends on the cooperative, responsible and accountable efforts of all those who live within its precinct, and contribute towards its development.

We call upon African leadership at all levels to advocate for stronger national and regional institutions to protect the continent, for they are imperative.  We ask that the African commerce and development sectors commit to the developmental and financial sustainability of our institutions of governance to ensure the continent’s inclusive economic development and guardianship of its growing adherence to good governance.

The responsibility of good governance is the duty of all those who live and do business in the continent and in the words of former President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, “the commitment of African political leadership to this end should serve as an example to the people of the continent.”

Furthermore in Kikwete’s words, “it is important for Africa to remember to look at where we come from and where we are and to continue to say there has been progress.  We are not yet at the most optimal point, but we should not get to a point where we say everything in Africa is bad; because there are so many good things happening.  The pursuit of good governance is a work in progress”.

There is a need for this ‘work in progress’ to translate into an increasingly African way of doing that is rooted in African culture.

It is thus that the delegates of the African Leadership Forum ask that Africans renew their commitment to the continent with the following recommendations:

  • Africa should hear its own voice on matters of peace, security and sustainable development through increased and improved national dialogue; and by taking ownership of its peace and security concerns in matters of policy and political interventions.
  • Africa should shape the dialogue around the continent’s vision and create its own roadmap for sustained peace and stability. It should communicate with a unified voice, working on behalf of its own interests and the interests of its people for inclusive economic development and a growing adherence towards good governance.
  • Africa should insist on taking its rightful position at the forefront of defining Africa’s role in the global peace and security architecture, by providing decisive and purposeful political leadership on international matters pertaining to Africa.
  • Africa must resist the increasing militarisation of Africa’s peace and security architecture, especially relating to arms trade, terrorism, and the tendency of allowing managers of the African security sector to be trained by outsiders with external agendas.
  • African citizens should strive to develop a strong democratic consciousness that will lead to a culture of growing leadership, deepening democracy and enhancing civic education. This vision of Africans shaping their personal and collective destiny must be taken forward by Africa’s most valuable asset: its youth.

After supporting the organization of the African Leadership Forum for four years, UONGOZI Institute is pleased with the outcome of the ALF 2017. This meeting, in particular, has generated a lot of discussion in Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria and beyond.

It is important to note that the ALF 2017 focused on the bigger picture issues of peace and security that affect the African continent which each country can draw lessons from. No special attention was paid to any particular country or government, and the recommendations that ultimately came out of the Forum reflected the same. It is therefore cautioned, that the rich discussion that took place at the African Leadership Forum 2017, and the statements made by the former Presidents and other participants in attendance should not be taken out of context.

The plenary session of the ALF 2017 is currently available to view on UONGOZI Institute’s website: The subsequent panel discussions will be made available on our website soon.

Lake Victoria: A threatened giant?

By Melisande Denis

lake-victoria-africaWith a surface area of over 68,600 km², Lake Victoria is the widest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world: as such, it provides crucial environmental services to its riparian communities. Its basin, shared between each member states of the East African Community with the exception of South Sudan (Tanzania accounts for 49% of its surface water, Uganda for 45% and Kenya for 6%, while its catchment area extends over Rwanda and Burundi through the Kagera River), is home to 40 million people, almost one third of the total population of the EAC. Its importance for the region can thus not be overstated; but ever since the middle of the twentieth century, a growing number of interrelated challenges have altered the traditional balance of the basin, threatening both the livelihoods of surrounding populations and the giant lake’s ecosystem.

In fact, the introduction of the Nile Perch in the lake in the 1950s and its surge in the 1970s have opened up the region to a lucrative international market, which has attracted huge numbers of new fishermen along the shores: from 50,000 individuals in the 1970s, there are now 200,000 workers competing over Lake Victoria’s fishes. This population boom has had worrisome consequences in terms of human development: rapid and unplanned urbanization has put untenable pressure on the water sanitation facilities and on the waste disposal infrastructures of the region. Water-related diseases such as cholera, typhoid, or bilharzia, have therefore been prevalent among the local populations, with higher rates than national averages. Municipal services have not been able to perform efficiently, and the living standards of the area have raised serious concerns over the last forty years: the Lake Victoria Basin is not only one of the most densely populated areas in the world, it is also one of the poorest.

Besides these alarming social issues, and mainly as a result of human activities, environmental challenges have also been piling up. Intensive fishing, species introduction, poor waste management, hazardous agricultural procedures, deforestation or the use of outdated industrial infrastructures have resulted in the rapid eutrophication of the lake and a shift in its traditional ecosystem. One of the most spectacular manifestations of these changes might have been the huge outbreaks of water hyacinth, an invasive alga, over the waters of Lake Victoria in the late 1990s and again in the mid-2000s: some areas became so clogged that navigation was made impossible for weeks.

With higher nutrient loads flowing into the lake, its traditional water composition has indeed been altered, fostering the proliferation of algae. In turn, this evolution has been responsible for increased fish mortality rates, which have directly affected the revenues of local inhabitants, with the lower catch per unit effort leading to unsustainable fishing practices. Social and environmental challenges thus appear to be interconnected and indivisible. In this perspective, the current state of the Lake Victoria Basin is a cause for serious concern: not only are the living conditions in the region worsening, but the very sustainability of the lake might also be called into question.

However, this rapid overview should not be overly pessimistic: if the challenges facing Lake Victoria are clearly colossal, the economic and environmental potential of the basin also deserves to be mentioned. Indeed, the opportunities surrounding the lake could hardly be exaggerated: with its gigantic water stocks, its numerous species of fish, its diversified wildlife and its stunning landscapes, the lake holds promise in terms of hydropower, industrialization, irrigation for agriculture, fishing, local and regional transport, and tourism. That is not to say that these great resources will provide a magical solution to the difficulties surrounding the Lake Victoria Basin; but merely that if substantial investments and sustainable methods are put in place, current challenges could potentially be mitigated, if not overcome. As a matter of fact, the EAC, which has identified the basin as a key area for the development of partner states, i.e. “a regional economic growth zone”, has established two regional institutions specifically designed to monitor the management of Lake Victoria (the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization in 1994, and the Lake Victoria Basin Commission in 2003). If it could be argued that their efficiency is yet to be proven (considering the lake’s present condition), it could also be reckoned that the shared recognition of the need for regional management is a promising step. Given the breadth of the challenges lying ahead, effective cooperation between the riparian states will indeed be mandatory to harness the basin’s potential. If undeniably threatened, Lake Victoria is not doomed yet: significant efforts, fostering the engagement of all the stakeholders and taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the lake, should encourage the sustainable management of its basin.

Melisande Denis, currently interning at UONGOZI Institute, is pursuing a Master’s degree in European and International Studies at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle in France.

President John Pombe Magufuli appoints new Board of Directors

UONGOZI Institute is pleased to welcome new members of the Institute’s Board of Directors as appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E John Pombe Magufuli effective from 31st May, 2017.


Kari Alanko



1. Ambassador Kari Alanko

Embassy of Finland,

South Africa






2. Prof. Idris Kikula        

Vice-Chancellor, University of Dodoma (UDOM),





3. Dr. Laurean J. Ndumbaro

Permanent Secretary, President’s Office,

Ministry of Public Service Management and Good Governance,





4.   Dr. Stergomena Tax                             

Executive Secretary,  Southern African Development Community (SADC),






5. Prof. Penina Mlama

Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM),






6. Dr. Cristina Duarte

Former Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration,

Cape Verde


Iina Soiri



7. Ms. Iina Soiri

Director of the Nordic Africa Institute,


David Walker


8. Mr. David Walker      

Former Director of the European School of Administration,

United Kingdom



The appointment of Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Directors will be announced on a later date.




“Patriotism required for negotiation of better trade deals” – TZ Deputy Attorney General Gerson Mdemu

Mdemu 1
Deputy Attorney General Mr. Gerson Mdemu delivers his remarks during the launch of the regional negotiations skills training on ‘International Trade Agreements’ in Dar es Salaam. Seated from left to right is: Facilitator and Lawyer of Global Law Firm – DLA Piper Prof. Jay Gary Finkelstein, Director of Multilateral Cooperation at the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Celestine Mushi, UONGOZI Institute’s Capacity Development Specialist Mr. Kadari Singo and facilitator from the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) Ms. Katerina Drisi.

The Deputy Attorney General of Tanzania, Mr. Gerson Mdemu, has called upon senior government officials in Africa to be patriotic when negotiating contracts on behalf of their countries – in order to come up with the best of win-win trade deals that can benefit and boost the economies of their respective nations.

Mr. Mdemu made these remarks on behalf of the Attorney General of Tanzania Hon. George Masaju during the official opening of a regional negotiation skills training programme on ‘International Trade Agreements’ in Dar es Salaam organized by UONGOZI Institute in collaboration with the the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI) of Columbia University in New York, and the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP).

“Before we engage to negotiate, interests of our Countries must not only be known but also protected patriotically,” said Mr. Mdemu.

“The question that remains a challenge is how do we best protect interests of our Countries as we deal with international and multinationals agreements? Certainly negotiations skills are highly called for. This two weeks training officially launched today will in a way, provide some answer to this basic challenge,” he said.

Deputy Attorney General Mr. Gerson Mdemu (seated middle) in a group photo with participants of the regional negotiation skills training on ‘International Trade Agreements’. Seated from left to right is: Facilitator and Lawyer of Global Law Firm – DLA Piper Prof. Jay Gary Finkelstein, Director of Multilateral Cooperation at the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Celestine Mushi, UONGOZI Institute’s Capacity Development Specialist Mr. Kadari Singo, and representative of the Electricity, Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) Eng. Thobias Rwelamila

On his part, the Capacity Building Specialist of UONGOZI Institute, Mr. Kadari Singo, said that the ongoing training which started on Monday, 19th June 2017 will last for two weeks, and consists of 31 senior government officials from 9 African countries including; Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, and the hosts -Tanzania.

The programme aims to strengthen negotiation capacities and competencies of senior officials that are involved in negotiating trade agreements, hence impart to such participants sufficient practical skills with a direct focus on International Trade Agreements by using a variety of real case studies mostly from the countries present here or any other that is relevant.

By the end of the training, participants are expected to be able to:

Lawyer of Global Law Firm – DLA Piper Prof. Jay Gary Finkelstein facilitates a session.

1. Equip with requisite negotiation skills and techniques in order to define and achieve strategic national and sustainable objectives during complex negotiations.

2. Build on the learning gained and apply the negotiation skills in a specific context that is trade negotiations; and

3. Build in general negotiation skills, to master negotiation processes and techniques, apply different negotiation styles and skills, and lead in negotiations to achieve the desired outcome.

Meet Liz Guantai, UONGOZI Institute’s 2016 Leadership Essay Competition Winner!

UONGOZI Institute’s 2017 Leadership Essay Competition is ongoing and the contest has been getting really heated day by day, most especially with the deadline approaching on the 14th July. A lot of hopeful contenders wanted to hear about the experience of previous winners and how they managed to get there.

UONGOZI Institute therefore caught up with Liz Guantai, the 2016 Leadership Essay Competition Winner from Kenya, to share with the rest of young people across Africa about her experience on the competition. Here’s the conversation between us.

Liz Guantai
Ms. Liz Guantai receives the UONGOZI Institute 2016 Leadership Essay Award as the overall winner from former President of South Africa H.E Thabo Mbeki during the African Leadership Forum Gala Dinner in July 2016.

1. UONGOZI Institute: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Liz: My name is Liz Guantai, a 25 year old Kenyan residing in Nairobi, Kenya. I graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Nairobi in December 2015. Thereafter I joined the Kenya School of Law from January to December 2016, in order to be admitted as an Advocate of the High Court at the Kenya bar. I have also pursued the required professional courses in practicing Accounting and Company Secretarial practice in my country.

As a Law student, I was involved in several programs in the line of protection of human rights, social justice and community empowerment, which I am very passionate about. In 2015 I was selected as one of UN Women’s 72 global champions for women economic empowerment, a program I still participate to date.

Currently, I am an employee of Deloitte & Touche Kenya, since January 2017. I am an Associate in the Financial Advisory department, particularly provision of Company Secretarial Services.

I hope to continue using my skills, knowledge and experience to make an impact in my community and beyond. I love writing and I shall continue using it as an empowerment tool.

2. UONGOZI Institute: What inspired you to participate in the Leadership Essay Competition?

Liz: One evening in May 2016, I was going through the recent updates of a popular website for African opportunities, searching for a scholarship grant that could facilitate me to pursue a Masters degree in a reputable university abroad. That is when I came across the UONGOZI Leadership Essay Competitition.

As soon as I read that the Essay finalists would get a free ticket to the Prestigious African Leadership Forum, I was immediately interested.  I could already picture myself engaging in brilliant dialogues with renowned African leaders and top business delegates. And of course I was very enthusiastic on seeing the prize money of 2000 USD. Lets be real, we would all cross a crocodile filled river to collect some cool dollars on the other side!

The topic was intriguing, what to do as a leader to improve African Businesses. As a young person, this was a subject that crossed my mind often. Business and Leadership. The connection, the disconnection, the lacunars and the solutions. The issue was real and required an answer providing a sustainable long-term solution. Being the African optimist that I am, I had very many ideas to contribute to this topic. I was glad that Uongozi Institute, through this Essay, was finally giving me a platform to express and suggest my unwritten thoughts and offer solutions to such an important issue. I decided I would bring the topic closer home, focus on my personal observations of the business industry and the strategies I would adopt to improve it as a leader.

3. UONGOZI Institute: How was your experience in Dar es Salaam at the African Leadership Forum? What interested you the most? Any thoughts on the Youth Dialogue?

Liz: Everything about it was superb. UONGOZI Institute staff received us well and gave us the best hospitality that one can ever get in a foreign country. Five star hotel. The Beach. Great food. Name it.

The issues discussed by the Panelists were real and in dire need of resolutions. They included business inclusivity, eradication of poverty and sustainability of the African economy among others. I recall H.E Mkapa’s emphasis on Africanising the SDG’s and Mr Nkosi’s views on using African businesses not just to generate income but to transform lives, as well as other sentiments put forward by all the great speakers. Throughout the day I learnt so much from the discussions, as well as the contributions from participants.

My highlight of the day was meeting so many inspiring people at the ALF. I talked to a lot of participants, most of whom are established leaders and business owners who were very generous to share their knowledge and experience with aspiring leaders like myself.  I loved meeting and sharing with the Essay finalists, as well as other young energetic and dynamic young people equally passionate about improving the welfare of our continent. An example of an Inspiring youth I met is Ms Chidimna Akaniro, an essay finalist from Nigeria who runs a successful Youth Organization and fashion business. As young people, we were able to brainstorm on many topical issues and even formed a social media platform to continue the discussions in our countries.

The youth Dialogue was one of a kind. Real business stories by young people told to young people. I loved the honesty in the entrepreneurs’ start up stories, as they explained how they overcame challenges and setbacks to make their business ventures a success. I had many lessons to take home for myself. I was especially inspired by Ms Susan Mashibe, the first African female Pilot/Engineer and her quest to a successful Aviation business created out of an idea. She was a big inspiration to women and the youth.

4. UONGOZI Institute: What tips can you share with young people who would like to participate this year? How can they improve on their writing?

“Dear Youth of Africa,

You should give this competition an attempt. The award is motivation enough. 2000 Dollars can change your life in one night. The ALF is an event you should not miss out on. The experience is unmatched and exceptional.  Most importantly, do not write just because there is an award, but because Africa needs our voices as young people to improve the Continent. We as the youth are the upcoming generation of leaders. We are the generation to foster the SDGs. Your ideas as a young person are vital in determining the state of Africa. Do not keep your thoughts to yourself. They could be the solution to our challenges. Speak out. Suggest. Propose. Write.  It is your right.

Here are a few tips:

Write in your own voice

This essay is not an examination that requires hours of preparation in the school library. It is basically a problem statement seeking for a solution. You have that solution. Write it. You need not be an expert in Peace and Security studies to contribute your thoughts on the topic. It is an issue that is with us, affecting us everyday in our countries, cities and community set ups. Think about the issues you face as a person, as a community and as a country and beyond, and the proposals you would personally recommend to improve the situation. Note that what UONGOZI Institute requires is your original personal recommendations, not the AU, UN or any other body’s. Be candid with your ideas and express them as genuinely as possible.

Practicable ideas

As you write, ensure that your ideas are reasonable and realistic. This is not a writing competition based on works of fiction, but a quest for sustainable, implementable solutions. Use practical examples that everyone can relate to, remembering that your ideas should have an impact on Africa as a whole and not a section or class of it.


Do not forget the general rules of writing; and be as accurate as possible. State your opinion yes, but base it on facts. Reference, quote or hyperlink any statement that is not yours. Plagiarism is a grave intellectual crime. Avoid it. Write a draft and do a self-review before you submit it to ensure that it looks as good as an essay that will impress a panel of judges.

All the best!


Are you interested in participating in the 2017 Leadership Essay Competition? Click on the following link to apply