UN Development Chief Praises Tanzania’s Progress on Education and Work to Deepen Democracy

By UNDP Newsroom
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Dar es Salaam, 11 May 2010—On the last day of her four-day official visit to Tanzania, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) chief Helen Clark met with President Jakaya Kikwete to discuss Tanzania's progress on a range of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including high primary school enrolment and greater representation of women in decision-making. The MDGs are eight internationally-agreed goals which seek to end extreme poverty by 2015.

“Across the eight MDGs, the education goal stands out as an area where Tanzania has had a lot of success in increasing the numbers of children going to school, with the enrolment rate right up at 100 percent,” said Miss Clark. “We also follow very closely the ratio of girls to boys in education, and again Tanzania has made just incredible progress there. Every dollar we invest in girls' education has a multiplier effect for development across every area. This huge investment in education will pay dividends in Tanzania.”

After meeting the President, Miss Clark toured the National Electoral Commission's voter registration facilities and spoke to first-time voters planning to take part in the national elections this October.

“Elections are something I know quite a lot about,” said Miss Clark, who previously served three terms as Prime Minister of New Zealand. “And there is nothing more fundamental to the integrity of elections than having rigorous voter registration procedures. I am very impressed with the seriousness of this system and happy that the United Nations Development Programme is supporting it.”

In response to a question from Miss Clark about the issues which were important in the upcoming election, a young, first time voter named Joyce did not hesitate, saying, “Development and economic growth!”

Overall, it is expected that the number of registered voters will increase from 15.9 million to 21 million. UNDP's support to Tanzania's election process also includes voter education, training for media and political parties, and training domestic observers.

UNDP's support to the elections includes a particular focus on women as voters and candidates. This includes efforts to strengthen women's organizations and networks, as well as other associations that promote the rights of women so they can vote, and be elected.

Yesterday, Miss Clark met with women parliamentarians and discussed the ongoing challenges women in Tanzania face on issues like maternal health and women's empowerment. Tanzania has reached 30 percent representation of women in parliament and local government, largely as a result of the introduction of quotas.

Over the weekend, Miss Clark met Zanzibar President Amani Karume with whom she discussed recent progress in improving the political situation in the Isles.

Helen Clark also visited the Jozani-Chwaka Bay Conservation Area, the most important site for the conservation of Zanzibar's unique ecosystem. UNDP assisted in the creation of the park, by working with the Government to put in place policies and legislative processes for the conservation of its biodiversity.

Another central theme in Miss Clark's discussions with development partners was the success and experiences of the UN Reform. Tanzania is one of eight countries piloting the “Delivering as One” initiative, which aims to increase the efficiency and co-operation of UN agencies in the country.

The UNDP Administrator arrived in Tanzania after visiting Mali and Burkina Faso and will conclude her MDGs Africa trip this week in South Africa.

For more information about UNDP's work in Tanzania, visit: http://www.tz.undp.org/

For more on the MDGs, visit: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/