Request for Action Regarding Government of Tanzania’ s Conditional Use of IMF Funds and Severe Human Rights Abuses Against Maasai Communities
July 14, 2022
To: Jens Reinke, Resident Representative IMF in Tanzania
CC: IMF East Africa Department, IMF NGO Liaison Department
Subject: Request for Action Regarding Government of Tanzania’ s Conditional Use of IMF Funds and Severe Human Rights Abuses Against Maasai Communities
Dear Jens Reinke,
We are writing to share concerns regarding the conditional use of IMF funds by the Tanzanian government. On September 7, 2021 the IMF announced the total disbursement of US$567.25 million to the Tanzanian government to “help finance Tanzania’s urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.” On October 10, 2021 President Samia Suluhu Hassan stated that the funds would be used to implement development projects and improve social services, in the health, education, water and tourism sectors, including building and renovating a total of “15,000 classrooms and more than 200 health centers in the country.”
The Tanzanian government has chosen to deliberately take these funds away from communities living in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) as a means to drive the Indigenous pastoralists from their ancestral land. On March 31, 2022, the local government ordered that TSh195,500,000 [~US$84,000] in COVID-19 relief funds, initially marked for public schools within the NCA, to be transferred to the Handeni district in Tanga region — one relocation site being prepared for NCA residents. Reports indicate that several schools, health centers, and water projects in the NCA will also no longer receive funding for improvements or expansion to meet the needs of residents, with no explanation from the government. Transferring funds away from essential services in the NCA further exacerbates poor education and health for Maasai communities.
Despite the government’s well documented campaign to remove the Maasai from the NCA in violation of domestic and international law and relocate them to areas that suffer from inadequate water and grazing land, the IMF continues to heavily support the government. In June 2022, the IMF announced it had “reached agreement with the Tanzanian authorities on a medium-term program that could be supported by IMF resources of about $1.071 billion under the ECF.”
The government’s recent violent evictions of the Maasai from the nearby Loliondo division of Ngorongoro district have received widespread international condemnation. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, nine United Nations Special Rapporteurs and numerous international human rights groups issued statements against the violence. Despite courageous and widespread resistance from Maasai living in the NCA, the Tanzanian government continues to constrict their livelihoods and limit basic social services while advancing eviction and resettlement plans without their free, prior, informed consent.
Given the prominent financial support provided by the IMF, we are writing to request that you elevate these concerns to the Tanzanian government. We urge you to take the necessary steps to stop a human rights and an environmental catastrophe in Loliondo and the NCA. As a Maasai leader said:
“We have nowhere else to go. Losing this land will mean the extinction of our community. We have taken care of our environment and lived in harmony with other living and nonliving things.”
We remain available to provide any additional information and look forward to your response. Sincerely,
The Oakland Institute