altSamuel Gayi, Chief of the UNCTAD Special Unit on Commodities, examined development challenges and policy options for managing the extractive sector during a Vi national workshop for 37 lecturers and students of Tanzanian core member, the University of Dar es Salaam  Business School (UDBS), April 25-26.

As recent natural gas discoveries and plans by Norwegian Statoil to build a liquefied gas production facility may make the country a major exporter of energy to fast-growing markets in Asia, academics at UDBS requested the training hoping to find ways for the sector to lift Tanzania out of poverty.

“I was so curious to know what should be the appropriate policies and practices that could enable Tanzania and the other LDCs to manage their extractive resources for economic growth,” said one of the participants. “As Tanzania has potential, with bright future in natural gas and other extractions, the workshop has opened my mind.”

Sponsored by the One UN Fund for Tanzania, the training included participants from UDBS’s Master's programmes in International Trade and International Business.

Using findings from the UNCTAD Commodities and Development Report, Gayi began by placing the issue of natural resources into a broader developmental context. He then used examples from other countries whose experience could be relevant for Tanzania, such as South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia, to examine the potential role of the extractive sector as an engine for development and the challenges and policy options for managing the sector.

Participants particularly identified with “(T)he documentary of Zambia, where the country lost its revenue from copper. It illustrates the real situation of most African countries,” they said.

In addition to exploring the possibility of leveraging South-South cooperation as a means to use the extractive sector for the diversification of local economy, participants also engaged in group discussions debating ways and means for optimizing development outcomes from the extractive sector in Tanzania. Applying their newly acquired knowledge, they reflected on an extractive sector development strategy for the country, taking into consideration development linkages and the goals of maximizing tax revenues, reducing poverty, and minimizing environmental damages related to natural resources extraction.

In the final feedback questionnaires, 97 percent of participants stated that the workshop had enhanced their knowledge of the extractive sector; 2 reported that they will use this knowledge in teaching, 25 planned the use in their studies and research, and 24 in their work for the government or the private sector.

“The role of the state in managing the extractive sector is an important aspect which will be useful in teaching a course on ‘Investments in Emerging Markets,’” noted one of the participants.

“Facts obtained from the presentations will guide my research on promoting export-led growth in LDCs,” said another.