Compiled by Donovan Mc Grath
An East African Federation: Big ambitions, big question-marks – The Economist 05.09.09
‘The idea of a United States of East Africa is less far-fetched than it was.’
Extract: ‘In 1967 [Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya] founded the East African Community (EAC) with a view to federation. Little progress was made; the EAC collapsed in 1977 … In 1999, however, the project was revived.’
‘Tanzania has usually been the one to put the brakes on the EAC, fearing it will be overrun with land speculators and better-educated Kenyans and Ugandans. But Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, now says his people should stop moaning and prepare for a common market…’ Thank you Jill Bowden for this item – Editor.
Another kind of World Cup to kick off on the Serengeti – The East African (22-28 Feb 10)
‘A coincidence of football matches in South Africa and another kind of matches on the Serengeti plains is set to boost Tanzania’s tourism revenue from this year. The Tanzania Tourist Board acting managing director Amant Macha said the wildebeest bulls would be fighting for the most beautiful females in the Serengeti plains between May and June this year.
Mr Macha said that when football teams and fans from all over the world start to arrive in South Africa in June for the world cup battles, the stage will have also been set for animal fights beyond sex in the Serengeti National Park.’
BAE admits guilt over corrupt deals – The Guardian Weekly 12.02.10
Following 20 years of denial, BAE has agreed to pay penalties of almost $470m after the military company pleaded guilty to charges of false accounting and making misleading statements.
Extract: ‘… The Serious Fraud Office said … that some of the $47m penalty BAE was to hand over to the UK would be “an ex gratia payment for the benefit of the people of Tanzania”… BAE will not face international blacklisting from contracts, because it admitted false accounting, not bribery.’ Despite BAE’s guilty plea, there is the worry that no individual will be brought to account. Vince Cable, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “… The British government was up to its neck in this whole business. Government ministers were almost certainly fully aware of what was happening.” Thank you Sister Lucia for this item – Editor.
Barrick Gold to spin off African business – Daily Telegraph Overseas Edition 24.02.10
The initial public offerings (IPOs) market has apparently come to a standstill in the current economic climate. However, a shot in the arm could come from the world’s largest gold miner, the Canadian-listed Barrick Gold. Gary White writes: The mining company ‘plans to list its Tanzanian assets as African Barrick Gold (ABG) on the London Stock Exchange. The new company will contain between 8pc to 10pc of Barrick assets, valuing the business at about $3.7bn (£2.4bn) [… making] it one of the biggest gold producers listed in London, and a potential new entrant in the FTSE 100.’
‘ABG also intends to seek a future listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange in Tanzania. Parent Barrick Gold made a recommended offer for Australian-listed Tusker Gold, which also operates in Tanzania… Proceeds from the IPO will go to the parent company, which plans to use them to fund development projects. Thank you John Sankey for this item – Editor.
Ground Work – African Decisions (Issue 1, Jan 10)
Here, Sean Christie’s article examines some of the obstacles regarding investment in the mining industry. The author begins his piece by posing the question: ‘How easy is it to invest in African mining? The Canada-based Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies serves as ‘the most trusted source’ in order to arrive at a good understanding of Africa’s investment appeal.
Approximately 3,000 companies involved in exploration, development and other mining activities contribute to the yearly survey. The focus is on how public policy (i.e. regulation and taxation), political and security issues affect investment in exploration.
Of the 71 jurisdictions surveyed this year, 10 are African… [However,] the survey cannot … examine in any detail the causality behind the statistics.
Tanzania is among the four African countries chosen for Christie’s commentary due to its ability to ‘illustrate trends that have broad applicability as regards investment appeal throughout Africa.’
‘If you compare Tanzania’s eighth place in terms of pure mineral potential with a 48th place for its policy, it is obvious that, as with South Africa, investors have a serious problems with Tanzanian mining policy.
The major source of discontent has been a raft of proposed changes to the way in which mining companies are taxed. The history of tax regulation is echoed all through the region – in Zambia, DRC, and as far away as Sierra Leone…
‘In Tanzania, the World Bank’s interventions legalised the repatriation of profits and led to the passing of laws that reduced tax rates and custom duties on certain imports – laws that still applied (to the fury of Tanzanian civil society groups) during the millennial commodities boom…’
Costs now the main issue in ivory debate – The East African (22-28 Feb 10)
‘The hard choice: Does it make sense for the country to continue spending $75,000 annually to secure its stockpile?’ This is the dilemma faced by the Tanzanian government over its stockpile of over 12,000 tusks.
Extract: ‘Tanzania’s stockpile of 12,131 tusks – weighing 89,848.74 kilogrammes is estimated to be worth $12 million in the Asian markets … ‘Protecting the stockpile has raised the cost to $1.5 million over the last 21 years since trade in ivory was banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).
‘Tanzania and Zambia have asked for a one-off permission to sell their stockpiles in the international markets. However, if Kenya and other East African Community countries opposed to the application succeed in blocking the request, President Kikwete’s government fears it will not only be stuck with the possibility of protecting the ivory, but besides, the country will have to spend an additional $2 million to build two strong rooms to store it.’
Conservationists are worried that allowing limited sales on occasions could create a market demand for ivory, enough to trigger a new wave of poaching. The effects on tourism in the region is another concern (see a related EA article in this section of TA).
Makutano: A meeting point for artists – The East African (7-13 Dec 09)
In a review of ‘…Makutano, meaning “meeting point” in Kiswahili, an annual event bringing Tanzanian artists and artisans the paper wrote: “This year’s fair was held at the Diamond Jubilee Hall in Dar es Salaam …2009’s participants included: ‘Wonder Welders’ … whacky recycled art creations … made by people with disabilities; Made in Zanzibar’ … a group of artists … promoting local, fair trade Zanzibar-made crafts, clothes and accessories’, amongst others.
Military air traffic control – for a country with no air force – The Guardian Weekly 12.02.10
Extract: ‘… The World Bank and the International Civil Aviation Organisation judged that Tanzania’s purchase was unnecessary and overpriced. ‘But the $44m deal looked even worse when the UK’s Serious Fraud Office found that a third of the contract’s price had been diverted into secret offshore bank accounts. Claire] Short, Britain’s Minister of International Development at the time, who later resigned from the government, said …: “Every way you look at it, it the deal was outrageous and disgraceful … Tanzania didn’t need a new military air traffic control, it was out-of-date technology, they didn’t have any military aircraft – they needed a civilian air traffic control system and there was a modern, much cheaper one. Everyone talks about good governance in Africa as though it was an African problem, and often the roots of the ‘badness’ is companies in Europe”.’ Thank you Sister Lucia for this item – Editor.
New tourism law puts Tanzania on the spot over one-off ivory sale – The East African (22-28.02.10)
Extract: ‘The East African parliament has passed a new law that opens space for the region to debate freely whether Tanzania should go ahead with the controversial sale of its ivory stockpile.
‘The EAC Tourism and Wildlife Management Bill was passed into law at a session of the East African Legislative Assembly held in Kampala, Uganda from February 8-19. It awaits assent by the Heads of State of the five partner states.
‘The legislation will establish a Commission … who will be responsible for the overall supervision, coordination and management of the tourism and wildlife industries in the region.
‘Kenya and Rwanda accuse Tanzania of betraying the East African Community’s spirit of consultation by pushing for a one-off sale of its 90 tonnes of ivory …
‘Top of the Commission’s agenda is to review Tanzania’s reluctance to call off the sale. “The Commission will advise us on whether the sale of ivory is beneficial to the region and designate hunting areas as well,” said Kenya’s representative to the EALA..
Oops … Auntie’s bloomers are laid bare by revealing expense claims – The Times 13.11.09
‘When the DJ Chris Moyles decided that he wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, Andy Parfitt, Radio 1’s controller, was only too eager to help…’
Extract continues: ‘However, needing warm mountain clothing for the trip, the Radio 1 boss chose to bill the licence-fee payer for the cost. ‘His expenses bills … reveal two claims – £346.85 for Kilimanjaro “essentials” and a further £194.98 for “specialist clothing”. These were necessary, the BBC said, because of “the conditions Andy would be facing”.’ Thank you John Sankey for this item – Editor.
How solar power shines a light into the heart of darkest Africa – The Times 27.11.90
This article, which forms part of the newspaper’s Christmas Charity Appeal, comments on how solar power is transforming lives in Tanzania.
Extract: ‘… A hidden tragedy … unfolding across Africa every day. A tragedy that is claiming more lives each year than unclean water. It is, in fact, the greatest killer of all … Respiratory diseases caused by toxic smoke kills 1.5 million women and children every year… The reason is simple: with less than 2% of the rural population of Africa having access to electricity, numerous millions breathe in poisonous fumes every day. … Solar power is a solution to Africa’s energy problems … Tanzania … benefits from some of the highest levels of sun exposure in the world, making solar ideal as a main source of electricity. It is also green and durable… To buy kerosene and single-use batteries costs a small fortune for villagers living on the edge of subsistence. The power of the sun, on the other hand, is free [apart from the panel and kit, which, in some cases, can pay for itself in a matter of weeks].’ Solar Aid is the UK-based charity behind solar power in Africa.
Tanzania Special New African style
January 2010’s edition of the New African magazine ran a ‘Tanzania Special’ issuing a splendid image of the country. The following is an extract from three of the articles:
We begin with ‘Welcome to Tanzania’:the writer Alan Barnard, states: ‘They say there are seven wonders in the world but there are more in Tanzania…’ The article continues: ‘As a tourist destination, mainland Tanzania can be considered the world’s largest natural game park… a green jewel shining in a sea of blue.’ Throughout the article, readers are treated to a geographical and historical tour around the country starting with Mbeya in the south and Arusha in the north. Other areas include Lake Tanganyika, the Rift Valley, Lake Victoria, Mwanza, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanga (the original capital) and Dodoma (present day political capital). The article ends by saying: ‘There is no place like Tanzania. It represents something we all look for on this war-torn planet: One country. One continent. One world. Welcome to that world. Welcome to Tanzania. Karibu sana.’
The next part of the special looks at Tanzania as ‘The Land of Opportunity’, also written by Alan Barnard. According to this report, ‘The government’s Vision 2020 programme, meant to move Tanzania into middle-income status by 2020, is on course; but the real success will depend on how much the economy attracts investors, and sustains growth.’
Extract continues: ‘Tanzania has always been the home of idealism … There is still a loyalty to the socialist roots that inspired the nation … under the late President Julius Nyerere … Agriculture remains the key to Tanzania’s independence … the country’s chief asset is the land itself …Tourism is … an important source of revenue … but the absence of a homegrown industry is a cause for concern.’
The report continues by saying: ‘… The opportunity for growth is mind-boggling. Tanzania is often described as a sleeping giant … one that welcomes investors and makes it easy for them to do whatever they want to do… Here, China has taken the lead. By investing directly in Tanzanian infrastructure, China has already begun to change the landscape. The new football stadium in Dar es Salaam aptly crowns a significant partnership between China and Tanzania …’And investor’s number one champion is the president himself, Jakaya Kikwete.’
‘Sending Money Made Simple’ is the third in NA’s Tanzania Special. According to this report, ‘Vodacom Tanzania has revolutionised money transfers in the country, thanks to an innovative service called M-PESA that enables money to be sent via mobile phones.’…. ‘Prior to the introduction of Vodafone M-PESA, money transfer services in Tanzania were mainly offered through personal contact, courier services and financial institutions…’Now businessmen are able to make payments quicker as well as anywhere, day or night… With M-Pesa, one can spend, send and receive, according to Dietlof Mare, the Vodacom Tanzania managing director. “With an M-Pesa account, one can transfer money to anyone with a mobile phone number. Apart from that, people are also able to pay their utility bills, cable television subscriptions, repay loans, pay tuition fees … [I]t is difficult to build banks in every village but with M-PESA we have been able to penetrate regions not reachable by many”.’
‘Tourism is a curse to us’ – The Observer Magazine 06.09.09
‘The Masai have been herding cattle across the great plains of Tanzania for generations, their nomadic lifestyle helping to preserve the wildlife of East Africa. Now, they are being forcibly evicted so that tour operators can turn their homelands into vast “nature refuges” for wealthy holiday makers’, writes Alex Renton.
Extract: “Arabiya”, as it is called by the locals, is ‘a safari camp complete with mansion, a runway capable of taking large jets, a fleet of off-road vehicles and a branch of the UAE phone network. This is the field headquarters of Ortelo Business Corporation (OBC) … set up in 1993 by a UAE defence minister close to the Dubai royal family…This sweep of low hills and savannah is just one of many tracts of land that the dollar-hungry Tanzanian government has pawned to foreign investors…In Tanzania, the process of removing pastoralists from the plains started in 1959, when the British colonial government made the great grass sea of the Serengeti – in Masai the name means endless plain – a human-free wildlife reserve…’Then in 1961, a Tanzanian government took over. More national parks were created, and evictions followed. In 1973 the government of Julius Nyerere went back on the deal the Masai had done with the British, and excluded them from the crater of Ngorongoro…’ Thank you Roy Galbraith for this item – Editor.
East Africa’s first astronaut – New African (March 2010)
‘Ashish Thakkar, an East African-born businessman, cannot wait to board SpaceShipTwo, the Virgin Galactic vessel that will soon be transporting him and other tourists into space on the world’s first commercial passenger spaceship …’
Extract continues: ‘He has lived in Uganda most of his life. His father and grandmother were born in Uganda, his mother was born in Mwanza, Tanzania, but the family lived in Kenya where Thakkar partly went to school. The family also lived in Rwanda and went through the genocide and were refugees for a few weeks.
‘… As a representative of three East African countries – Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania – he will engage in a round of meetings with the presidents of the three countries before the flight. He met President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania on 16 October 2009, and is due to meet Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Moi Kibaki of Kenya.’
Hunted down: Maasai evicted so foreigners might play – New Internationalist (No 428, Dec 09)
This current issue features widely in international media (see ‘Tourism is a curse’ in this edition of TA, ‘Maasai evicted and imprisoned to make way for safari hunting concession’ in TA (No 95) – Editor.
Extract: ‘In July  the Tanzanian Field Police violently and unlawfully evicted 25,150 people from eight villages in Ngorongoro District that are traditionally used for dry-season grazing by pastoralists. Homesteads were burned, women raped, people were beaten, shot at and imprisoned…
‘The eviction was carried out in order to clear the area for hunting in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area, which borders the Serengeti National Park and is famous for its wildlife breeding grounds. The area is controlled by a company from the United Arab Emirates called the Ortello Business Corporation (OBC).
‘The villagers have responded by demanding their rights. Fifty women marched on Dar es Salaam … but President Jakaya Kikwete refused to see them…
‘This is not the only land dispute that Manyara’s village is contesting. A US company, Thomson Safari [i.e. Thomson Family Adventures], bought 4,000 hectares of prime land under disputed circumstances in 2006, denying the Maasai grazing and water rights on land they have been dependent upon for decades…
‘A new Wildlife Act, which is waiting to be signed by the President, states that Game Controlled Areas cannot be situated where there are villages. In other words, villages must be removed from the area before the Act comes operational…’ Thank you Jerry Jones and Sister Lucia CSP for this item – Editor.
Katrina Manson in Dar es Salaam – Spectator 19.12.09
In the City Life section of the Spectator magazine is a critique of Tanzania’s market economics.
Extract: ‘Two … ferries … On one, a tradesman clutches a bag of tomatoes, heading south to the villages along the coast. On the other, a tradesman clutches a bag of tomatoes, heading north to the throng of the town…
‘It might be a haven of peace – the translation of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital – but the duplication and needless extra expense is thanks to the strange social reality that no one wants to buy from their neighbour. “There’s no trust in this country,” a senior diplomat tells [the author] over lunch. “And trust is how business gets done.”
‘… [S]ince liberalisation, Tanzania seems to have plumped for hair of the dog in its effort to mop up its socialist hangover. The private sector operator of the container port, for example, is performing so badly that the port authority is stepping in … The country is slipping down the scale of “good place” indices, both for corruption and the difficulty in doing business. Businessmen, miners and diplomats tell me foreign investment is a synonym for stealing, and foreigners are seen as parasites …
‘It’s true that foreigners have done little to ingratiate themselves here … Currency traders moan that they are waiting for this week’s fresh supply of NGO dollars to pump up the shilling. And the donors – cosy in their modern idyll in the north of the city, home to bars named George and Dragon and O’Willies Irish Whiskey Tavern, and the waiting list for the yacht club – make such dependence all too easy.’
Massive strides towards education and poverty reduction – The Global Edition of the New York Times 11.02.10
‘The Tanzanian government’s Mkukuta development strategy is increasing household incomes, educating young people and protecting the health of all citizens.’
Extract: ‘After reaching several United Nations Millennium Development Goals and completing an enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Country’s Initiative (HIPCI) ahead of schedule, Tanzania has cleared the path for the next phase of its Mkukuta Strategy…
‘Education [is] a priority in Tanzania since independence … but a shortage of teachers and staff remains a stumbling block. The government says this is an area in which Tanzania still requires foreign assistance…
‘With regards to human rights, Tanzania has attracted international censure for the terrible treatment and killing of its albinos … [Prime Minister] Pinda blames rural witch doctors for encouraging the murder of albinos and perpetuating the myth that certain body parts confer luck and healing powers…
‘President Kikwete [has] charged the MP Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer, a former airline clerk with albinism, with improving the lot of Tanzania’s albinos. Prime Minister Pinda has adopted three albino children…
“The government is doing everything possible to eradicate the killing of albino citizens, ” says Pinda. “We have to come up with solutions. Education is one of them …”‘
Wealth of regional talent on display at Sauti za Busara – The East African (8-14 Feb 10)
Extract: ‘The seventh edition of Sauti za Busara international music festival … held in Zanzibar from February 11-14 …
‘The fete, which touts itself as the world’s most friendly festival, will feature 40 performers from the region and beyond.
‘… The festival will definitely be a baptism of fire for [Juliana] Kanyomozi [Uganda] – the only female artiste to have won Artiste of the Year (2008) from the now defunct Pam Awards – since organisers require that artistes perform live and the challenge for her will be to make the transition from singing layback to live.
‘… She has gone on to enjoy cross-border appeal by adding Kiswahili songs to her repertoire. The songs Usiende Mbali featuring Tanzanian youthful crooner Bushoke and her recent collaboration with Burundian Afro pop musician Kidum on Haturudi Nyuma – which is enjoying massive radio airplay on regional FM radio stations – have enhanced her regional cross-border appeal.
‘Scheduled to perform at midnight on February 12 is Kiswahili singer Nyota Ndogo. Celebrated both locally and internationally …’
Savings Drive – The East African (22-31 Jan 10)
Extract: ‘Tanzania will shift to locally produced natural gas to run state-owned vehicles instead of petrol and diesel.
‘The move, which is likely to face stiff opposition from oil importers will save the government more than $15.3 million every year used to fuel over 8,000 vehicles.
‘The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation has prepared a master plan for the effective implementation of the project.
‘The master plan will make it mandatory for government motor vehicles to be configured so they can use natural gas.
‘Yona Killaghane, managing director of TPDC, told The East African that 30,000 households in Dar es Salaam will also benefit from the natural gas project…
‘According to TPDC, the country saved $3.7 billion between July 204 and October last year through the use of natural gas.
‘The principle research officer at TPDC, Joyce Kisamo, said the benefits of using natural gas are immense. “Even the environment and forests are targeted in the master plan, as less carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide will be released into the atmosphere”…’
Tanzania has a plan – The Global Edition of the New York Times 11.02.10
Extract: ‘Tanzania is … a thriving, democratic, stable country with a long-term vision for development.
‘Tanzania’s economy boasts 7% growth over the past three years and an average of 5% over the past decade. Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank predicted that it would grow an additional 4.7% in 2009 despite the global recession, compared to sub-Saharan Africa’s predicted average of 1.9%…
‘In addition to completing the IMF and World Bank’s Dept Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) ahead of schedule, Tanzania has embarked on ambitious projects. The Mkukuta Project aims to establish Tanzania as a middle-income nation by 2025. The Mini Tiger Plan 2020 aims to improve economic indicators, such as exports, by at least 25% by 2020.
‘Tanzania has met several of the UN’s Millennium Development Goal targets and consistently ranks in its list of “Top Ten Investment Destinations in Africa”. It topped all African nations in attracting €275 million ($393 million) in 2008.’