Siza Mtimbiri is to be an advisor on the Judge team working on Togo's development plan.
A team of Cambridge alumni led by Sir Paul Judge will help to prepare a framework for the development of Togo over the next 10-20 years.
Sir Paul, the key benefactor of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, was asked by the President of Togo to develop Project Vision. It will identify where improvements need to be made and to see what the best ways might be for Togo to attract foreign commercial, governmental or charitable capital to finance these.
The west African country has had significant political difficulties over the last two decades, but has now established a stable democratic constitution and is a member of the UN Security Council.
However, it faces significant development challenges. Its population is about 6.1 million people, but average GNP per capita is only around $500. Togo has ample resources, but its main exports such as phosphate, cocoa, coffee and cotton are all now worth substantially less than they were before the political turmoil. Moreover, with a total GNP of about $3 billion, it does not have the economic resources to achieve its potential.
Sir Paul has set up a team of nine recent Cambridge alumni, mainly from the Judge Business School, to work on the project full time. Each member of the team will cover one of the following sectors: agriculture, business development, education, energy, health, mining, telecommunications, tourism and transport.
Each sector will have a team leader and include a team member from another sector. Team members are unpaid, but will have travel expenses to Togo for key meetings with the President, government ministers and other stakeholders covered.
In addition to the full-time team members a panel of senior people will act as part-time advisers for each sector and bring additional expertise to the process. Advisers will attend key presentations in order to evaluate progress and to make further suggestions about the issues involved.
The advisers are also being asked to suggest other organisations which could be of help to the project. They include Gates Cambridge Scholar Siza Mtimbiri , who is doing a PhD in Education. He will advise on education. The other advisers in the education sector are Henneke Sharif, Lee Nordstrum and Carolina Odman. The team is led by Denise van Dijk (who is also a team member for the transport sector) and Olivier Gloaguen who is the team leader for the agricultural sector.
The teams are currently analysingTogo’s position on a number of governance, economic, development and social indicators compared with the ten other coastal West African countries and reviewing the current position of each of the sectors showing the competitive positioning, level of activity, infrastructure development and recent trends.
By the end of the project they will have reviewed the international companies, development agencies and NGOs who are potential investors in Togo's development plans and set realistic targets and action tasks for the government and other key players for the periods 2012-13, 2013-15, 2016-20, 2021-25 and 2026-2030.
Sir Paul Judge said: “Togo provides a classic turnaround situation. Africa is a rich continent but unfortunately many of its people are poor and this project also has the potential to show other African countries how they can successfully develop.
“People have joined the team because it provides an opportunity to give back, to make a real difference and to gain extremely valuable experience."
Siza, who is from Zimbabwe, added: "It’s an honour and a privilege to advise on a project that covers the entire spectrum of a country’s education and has the potential to change millions of children’s and adults' lives for the better.”
The project, which started last week, will run for four weeks of desk research and investigation in London until Friday 13thJuly and will be followed by a trip to Togo from Sunday 15thJuly to Friday 20thJuly.
Picture credit: Raphael V. and Creative Commons