At the launching of the WORLD INVESTMENT REPORT 2003 at the UNDP offices in Dar es Salaam on September 12 it was revealed that Tanzania registered a record rise in new investors in the first half of 2003. Director of Investment Promotion at the Tanzania Investment Centre Emmanuel ole Naiko said that the centre had registered a total of 311 new investment projects in 2002 creating jobs for some 33,000 people. But in the first six months of2003 the centre had registered 323 projects creating employment for almost 190,000 people. The Director pointed out that since 1996 Tanzania had tried to create an attractive investment atmosphere by adopting a new investment code, enacting 13 laws to facilitate investments, reforming the financial sector and introducing political reforms. Plans were underway for reviews of the Land Act and labour laws and for new income tax legislation. There was also to be a review of business licensing. As a result of these policies Tanzania was now among the top recipients of foreign direct investment in Africa. It ranked 14th on the 2002 role but eight of these fourteen countries were oil economies.
East African Unity.
Neil Ford, writing in the 9th January, 2004 issue of NEWSAFRICA commented on efforts being made to bring about economic integration in East Africa. He said that attempts to promote trade within the region would only really take off once trade barriers within the three states had been removed. An agreement to set up the East African Customs Union was signed in November 2003 but it seemed likely that it would take at least seven years before all internal tariffs were finally removed. It was also hoped that the customs union would result in the imposition of common external tariffs on imports from the rest of the world. However, as the experience of the European Union had shown, the harmonisation of customs rates was never an easy process. There had already been disagreements over the loss of sovereignty and fear of Kenyan domination. Ford was optimistic however concerning possible future success. He said that there was now a smaller imbalance in the size of the three economies, former deep-seated differences had largely disappeared and all three states generally followed the same IMF-inspired line of privatisation, deregulation and a reduced economic role for the state.
Kilimanjaro and its melting ice.
The NEW YORK TIMES (November 17) contained an article by Oliver Morton (the author of ‘Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World. ‘) on the alarming situation on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Extracts: ‘Kilimanjaro is losing its ice so quickly that it could be barren dirt before the next decade is out. It will take with it an irreplaceable 10-millennium record of the African climate, a profitable tourist attraction and a source of beauty that is a joy to contemplate … .It is not clear that global warming is responsible for this precipitous retreat. … It may well be that a regional change of some sort -deforestation, in all likelihood -has dried out the moist, rising winds that used to replenish the ice….. The question of what is destroying the ice, though, is less pressing than the question of whether anything can be done to save it. And the surprising answer to the second question is yes. The two main ice fields on top of Kilimanjaro are big flat slabs with cliff-like faces. According to scientists studying the mountain, it is melting from these cliffs -rather than from the flat tops of the fields -that seems to be the key to the problem. Euan Nisbet, a Zimbabwean greenhouse gas specialist at The Royal Holloway College, University of London, has come up with a fairly simple solution: drape the cliffs in white polypropylene fabric. Sunlight bounces off, and the ice below stays cool. …. this would buy some decades during which ways could be found to develop reforestation plans …The task of protecting the ice, while monumental, would not be impossible ……. In principle it would be well within the grasp of the world’s grandmaster wrapper, Christo, who convinced German parliamentarians to let him wrap the Reichstag, and who might well persuade the Tanzanian Government to allow the same thing to be done to Kilimanjaro …. Getting hundreds of thousands of square yards of fabric to the mountain top would be fairly easy -pack it up tightly and throw it out of the back of a transport plane.’
But The Times was not persuaded. It wrote later: ‘(This would be) a mammoth undertaking yielding dubious benefits …. Although it is tempting to blame global warming, the most likely culprit is deforestation. Forests at the base of the mountain, which once exhaled moisture that replenished and protected the ice fields, have largely disappeared, leaving the glaciers to the mercy of hot, dry winds that erode and melt the high cliffs that form their edges …… at least one scientist has wondered if the proposed plan might backfire, allowing a little heat to penetrate the tarpaulins and get trapped inside, thus speeding up the melting. Science might be better served by pouring more resources into collecting and studying ice cores before the glaciers disappear and leave Africa with a new icon -a bare mountaintop underscoring the folly of reckless destruction of the forests.’ (Thank you Liz Fennell for bringing this to our attention and Professor Euan Nisbet for adding additional information-Editor).
‘Nothing has done more to give modernism a bad name in architecture than grey stained concrete. Yet originally the international style captured imaginations with gleaming white surfaces speaking of both sun and cool shade.’ So wrote Marcus Binney in THE TIMES (1st September). He went on: ‘Now White modernism is making a comeback. A first-class example is the new British High Commission in Dar Salaam designed by the Manser practice with a wave roof and wave canopies highly appropriate to its ravishing outlook over the Indian Ocean…… The wave canopy along the top of the building is not so much a roof as a sunshade, stopping the rays of the sun from cooking the rooms below and ensuring that the merest breeze drawn over the terrace beneath the canopy provides further cooling ….. The structure and the glass are designed to withstand bomb blasts and solid concrete was used rather than blocks….. as the water supply is erratic, the building (which is shared with diplomats from other countries), has been provided with ten-day underground water tanks …. (Thank you John Rollinson for this item -Editor).
Agreement was finally reached in mid-September, after 24 years of negotiations, on the demarcation of the border between Tanzania and Uganda. The previous boundary lines were derived from the Anglo-Gerrnan agreement of May 14th, 1910. The late Ugandan dictator Iddi Amin’s forces removed most of the beacons marking the border during the 1978 war with Tanzania. As a result of the agreement some Tanzanians now find themselves in Ugandan territory and vice versa and some have immovable property in both territories. Some will need to be resettled and thought is being given to a transitional period during which the two countries could decide on the fate of people suddenly displaced from their country of origin -The EAST AFRICAN (September 8) .
The wife of the new leader of the British Conservative Party, Sandra Howard took over two pages of the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (2nd November) to recall the couple’s 25th anniversary trip to Zanzibar. They stayed at the Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel in Zanzibar’s remote and beautiful north-east corner. Mrs Howard wrote: ‘The local village -Nungwe -where dhows are still made, is the only nearby habitation. It is a glorious beach walk away; miles of pure white sand -we could walk for an hour in either direction seeing only one or two other couples…. The best bar for sunset gazing is the aptly-named Paradise Cafe. I thought it should perhaps be called Paradise West, like Key West of Hemingway fame, also famous for its sunsets, but Michael pointed out, with his usual steely logic, that we were on the eastern side of the island …… Zanzibar could not be more beautiful, and the warm, genuine welcome was one that invited return. ‘
John Kariuki, writing in the January – March 2004 BBC FOCUS ON AFRICA compared pop music, mostly influenced by American hip hop, in different parts of East Africa. Tanzanian artists had been the great success story, he wrote. A recent survey showed that in a breakdown of the 20 top hits, three Tanzanian groups were in the first seven. The probable reasons for this were Tanzanians’ greater proficiency in Swahili and in story telling. Taarab (traditional Kiswahili music), tinged in their song arrangements and in their voice intonation; this had the advantage of giving their music more character. More young people were appreciating the sweetness of Kiswahili and obviously Tanzania was the home of the language. Album sales were also higher in Tanzania because copyright laws were more stringently enforced. The region was undergoing a cultural renaissance that had broken old prejudices against home-grown arts.
An article in the AFRICAN TIMES (August 25) reported that a new three-man band from Arusha had been asked why they were singing about prisons. One of them said that prisons were very rough in Tanzania. “We’ve been locked up for different reasons and we had to sleep on dirty, cold, cement floors, use filthy toilets, eat terrible food and so on. The group also sings about AIDS. They have now been joined by a traditional Maasai singer, Yamat Ole Meipuku, to ‘cream up the bands’ lyrical concoctions.’ “Hip hop is naturally embedded in Maasai music” he said. The band had been in London to promote their album ‘Maasai hip hop’ .
WEST AFRICA (June 16) reported that a ‘World Comics Workshop’ had been held in Dar es Salaam which had brought together 25 leading artists and cartoonists. Tanzania’s Katty Ka-Batembo, described as the country’s leading artist, had said that Tanzanians were keen to read comics because of the difficulty in obtaining books and getting access to TV. Much of the workshop was taken up in making cartoons on corruption. The workshop was financed by Finland as part of its development aid budget. The Finnish spokesman said that comics were cheap for organisations with limited resources and could be made by amateur artists and published in small photocopied booklets. “Comics are cost-effective, no other development aid project can beat it ” he said.
A new genetic study has shown that the so called ‘African Eve’, the 150,000-year-old female ancestor of every human being on earth, may have lived in Tanzania or Ethiopia. AFRICA TODAY (June 2003) quoted researchers as saying that the oldest known DNA lineages found were those of East Africans, including the Sandawe, Burunge, Gorowa and Datog people who live in Tanzania. Several of the ethnic groups sampled in the study also lived in countries surrounding Tanzania.
NEW AFRICAN (November) reported that an alternative beauty pageant based on African values -Miss Bantu -was taking Tanzania by storm and attracting both women and men in droves. Miss Bantu contestants are not barred by age, height or body size as is the case with westernised beauty contests and as a result there had been full houses and satisfied audiences. Many Tanzanian men were said to dispute beauty measured on western qualities such as tall and slim or petite, light skin, hair as straight as a ruler or, parading seminaked in bikinis. They thought that the Miss Bantu contest was respectable and imbued with African values and culture. The contest is under the wings of the National Arts Council and has attracted women from all sectors. First prize in this year’s contest was Shs 500,000. The westernised Miss Tanzania contest, however, which was resurrected in 1994, awarded the winner a Nissan car worth Shs 3 million.
‘The Rufiji District, a poor, rural area of coastal Tanzania, has at least three claims to fame’. So wrote Philip Kennicott in a recent issue of the WASHINGTON POST. He went on: ‘It is home to the Rufiji River, in whose labyrinthine delta a German warship sheltered during the First World War. … It is the home of the newly opened Mkapa Bridge; it is now possible to travel (if you have four-wheel drive, high clearance and nerves of steel) from the south of Tanzania directly to Dar es Salaam, without having to pay an erratic ferryman for passage … The new bridge glides gracefully enough over the source of a third, more malign, claim to fame. The Rufiji River delta is one of the most malarious territories in the world, and thus a logical site for studying the disease and the panoply of frustration and tragedy it brings to Southeast Africa…..
Up the Rufiji watershed is the town of Ifakara, ground zero of mosquito and malaria studies, and host to so many foreign scientists that even guidebooks have taken note of the mosquito invasion (though tourists rarely make it there). Down river, in Ikwiriri, on the north end of the Rufiji bridge, are the offices of IMPACT Tanzania. The public health world loves acronyms, but this one is a handy condensation of a real mouthful: Interdisciplinary Monitoring Project for Anti-malarial Combination Therapy (in Tanzania). It is interdisciplinary because it involves molecular scientists, economists, epidemiologists, policy analysts, health care professionals and social scientists. ‘Combination Therapy’ refers to the increasingly necessary use of a double punch (two complementary drugs) to fight a disease that has become largely resistant to many of the single drugs long used to treat it. The project, funded by the V.S. Agency for International Development, hums along in different towns in the study area …..
Yet, while there is activity on all fronts, it’s hard to say that there’s progress against the disease on all fronts. Patrick Kachur, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Malaria, says there’s little doubt that the drug combination they’re studying works at least for now, though the parasite that causes malaria is rapidly evolving resistance, and as it trumps drug after drug, the cost of treating malaria skyrockets. More to the point is whether combination therapy can continue to be effective, is affordable on a mass scale, and whether it can be successfully introduced in areas where literacy and health care access are limited ….. ‘ (Thank you Peg Snyder for sending this item -Editor).
In its October issue AFRICA TODAY revealed that the Government of Tanzania had to resort to a macabre but shocking tactic recently (to discourage the growing trade in human skin) at an international business fare in Dar es Salaam. Visitors were faced with an exhibit of human body parts (from the police forensic department) in an attempt to raise awareness about the underground trade in human skin, especially from southern Tanzania, in the last two years. The prices of the human parts range from $2,400 to $9,600 depending on the age of the victim, according to police. Human skin is used in witchcraft for rituals in West Africa to which it is exported.
Under the heading “Global Warming Chokes the Life out of Lake Tanganyika’ the INDEPENDENT (August 14) quoted Canadian, American and Belgian scientists writing in the journal NATURE as saying that local temperature rises and climate change have dramatically altered the delicate nutrient balance of the lake -Africa’s second largest body of fresh water. Local fishing yields have plummeted by a third or more over the past 30 years and further decreases are predicted. The article explained that winds blow across the surface of the lake causing evaporation which cools the water. This cool water then sinks to the bottom allowing warm water carrying nutrients to be carried up with the current to the surface where aquatic plants and algae live. The problem has been caused by the less windy weather (now 30% weaker than in the 70’s) and warmer temperatures. The scientists claim that it is climate change rather than over fishing which is responsible for the collapse in the Lake’s fish stocks (Thank you Liz Fennell for sending this item -Editor).
Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, was praised in the EAST AFRICAN (September 22) for what it described as ‘a rare show of integrity.’ He has recently resigned from his position as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Commerce. He said that he was resigning in defence of integrity, honour and patriotism. He was also quoted as saying that he could not swallow the rot at the Bank; some of his colleagues thought that being a member of the Board was probably an opportunity to get benefits. The leading article went on to say that reports of unfolding financial mismanagement at the Bank in the previous months had shocked many Tanzanians after Mwakyembe had apparently written to the Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania revealing alleged mismanagement practices.
An article in IRIN, the publication of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Integrated Regional Information Network (not necessarily representing the views of the Office) in December, quoting from a Water Aid briefing paper, described the water supply situation in Dar es Salaam. Extracts: ‘On any given day, young men pushing wheelbarrows stacked high with 20-litre water jerrycans can be seen weaving their way through congested traffic. In 1997 customers were paying Shs 0.29 per litre while vendors were selling water at prices varying from one shilling per litre, when the supply was good, to 20 shillings when there were shortages. In addition, of the 268 million litres of water pumped from rivers for daily use by Dar es Salaam residents, more than 43% is lost before it even reaches the city, 18% leaks through a faulty system and a further 11 % is lost through illegal taps and non-payers. This, according to WaterAid, meant that the authority was being paid for just 8% ~ 16% of the water it produced. Therefore, there was clearly a need for reform of the water sector. A private company, has now signed a 10year lease contract to manage the billing, tariff collection, operation and routine maintenance; this work began in August. Alongside a 30% price increase, one of the first announcements that the new company made was the introduction of a two-tier billing system aimed at keeping the price of water low for the poor. Under this system consumers who use less than five cubic metres of water pay 30% less for their water than those who consume more.
Cathy Harris recently reopened a dam the construction of which was organised by her father 50 years ago. In the early 1950’s the Harris family lived in Nzega and, of the more than 80 dams and boreholes Harris had made, (he earned the nickname ‘Dam Harris’) one in particular was completed in Mwanhala in 1963 and worked well until 1998 when El Nino winds made a 30 metre gap in the wall. Repair work was carried out with the help of the charity ‘Friends of Urambo and Mwanhala’ and was completed nine months ago. The dam now has fish in it, there is rice growing below it and the people have water. Those wishing to contribute to the charity should contact Cathy on 01884 xxx120 (Thank you John Budge for sending this item from the TIVERTON GAZETTE -Editor).
THE TIMES (18th October) featured a cartoon showing two men looking at a newspaper headline: ‘Tanzania bans used bra imports.’ One man says to the other: “It’s a storm in a D cup”. The accompanying article reported that Tanzania had banned imports of second-hand underwear saying that the used garments might spread skin diseases. Pants, bras, stockings and petticoats were to be removed by inspectors examining consignments of used clothes (Thank you Paul Hardy and John Ainley for this item -Editor).
A strange article apparently appeared in the NEW SUNDAY TIMES OF MALAYSIA which was then quoted by the LONDON TIMES on October 22. The article began: ‘So there is this guy in Tanzania. He’s hugely in debt. He borrowed money from friends and relatives to start a business project and everything went wrong. He became depressed, began spending the cash on alcohol and prostitutes. Now they want the money back. He’s only 24….. He begins hatching plans, logical at first, then increasingly irrational and desperate. What he must have, he decides, is their pity. He needs to suffer a misfortune so great that nobody with an ounce of human compassion would trouble him again over something as trifling as a bad loan …… he cut off his genitals….. he’s lying in a hospital bed, skint, castrated ….. as he opens his eyes his first visitor turns out to be his flint-hearted great aunt from Bagamoyo. “You dumb dick-less bastard. Where’s my 50 bucks?”……… He overplayed his hand didn’t he? He should have started with a toe, and worked his way up…….. (Thank you Randall Sadler for this item -Editor).