I remember the optimism with Tanzanians when the Italian Oil company (AGIP) , broke the news on Natural gas discovery In the songo songo field In 1974.
Many had strong feeling the new found resources wealth could transform their lives. And brought hope to a future generation.
It’s 42 years now. Tanzania’s petroleum resources have become a powerful magnet for foreign investors. And we hear new gas discoveries announcement every now.
The question lingered in mind is how best to manage such resources. And transform temporary windfall into general uplifting of the population.
Experience is the great teacher.
In many African countries, natural resources have fueled violence and war instead of an opportunity for all.
In Nigeria, for example, Oil has resulted in violence in the Niger delta. And despite the Oil wealth, Unemployment remains high. And poverty is still widespread .Surprisingly enough, 93 million Nigerians live in the households that lack access to electricity.
Natural resources have played important role in widening the gap between the rich and the poor in many Africa’s oil and gas rich countries
The truth ought to know about oil and gas
The closer relationship between chaos and petroleum resources has led people to describe that oil and gas exploration and extraction projects are a curse.
But Tanzania gas. Not a curse. Not blessing. But is just an opportunity. And they can be used for adding value or can ruin everything.
In real life, oil and gas do not cause conflicts. But violence occurs when the government is very weak to withstand political and religious pressure in peaceful dialogue.
But petroleum resources can amplify , accelerate and tearing apart the already weaken fabric.
Tanzania’s gas and oil are simply an opportunity. Tanzania’s gas means universal electricity. Clean energy that does not pollute households. More business opportunities. And more jobs especially amongst young people.
History teaches us, Many African citizens doubt the system.But to build confidence national oil company must remain sensitive to citizen’s need as they continue to support leadership that has signed a regional contract.
Most importantly , they must invest in a range of program that benefits, environment, local communities and society as a whole.
But the government can’t resolve all such challenges on their own. Private sector and stakeholder must shoulder their responsibility
In essence, It’s all our pleasure, Tanzania succeed. We all benefit when oil and gas turn into a permanent human breakthrough. And everybody gets fair deal.