POLITICS

by Ben Taylor

Port deal sparks heated controversy

Prof Makame Mbarawa (centre) at the container port area

A new agreement for the management of key port infrastructure in Tanzania has generated intense heat and controversy, threatening to undermine the improved democratic environment that had been emerging under President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

The deal – an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the Government of Tanzania and the Emirate of Dubai – would potentially see DP World, an Emirati multinational logistics company, take control of the operations of a large part of Dar es Salaam port. Though the agreement was agreed and signed back in 2022, it only came to public attention more recently when the documents were leaked on social media in May 2023.

What does the agreement say?
The controversy stems initially from the apparently highly favourable terms offered to DP World. Critics point to a part of the IGA that they claim offers DP World a 100-year contract to manage the port. They also highlight a lack of opportunities for scrutiny in the process through which the agreement was negotiated and signed, and claim the agreement is in breach of both Tanzanian and international law.

Dr Nshala, former President of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) and now Executive Director of the environmental group Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team (LEAT), described the controversial deal on social media as equivalent to “selling the country off to foreigners,” pointing out that the decision to sign such a deal constituted “betrayal and treason” against Tanzania.

Mdude Nyagali, of opposition party Chadema, asked “how could our government sign as bad a contract as this?” Mr Nyagali questioned. “It is either they were drunk or bribed.”

Concerns extended well beyond activists and opposition politicians, however. The Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC – the group comprising all Roman Catholic Bishops in Tanzania), rejected the port agreement. Rev. Charles Kitima, secretary general of TEC released a statement saying that the bishops see that most citizens do not want this agreement that gives the foreign investor the authority and right to own major economic infrastructure.

The government, however, defended the agreement. Works and transport minister, Makame Mbarawa, said that by working with DP World, the government expects to increase revenue collection through the port by over 200% in the next ten years, from the current TSh 7.8 trillion per year to TSh 26 trillion in the next decade.

“The potential private sector investment could enhance the competitiveness of Dar es Salaam Port by improving service quality and increasing efficiency,” he said. “It is on those grounds that more business could be drawn to the port, thus boosting revenue and contributing to Tanzania’s overall economic development.”

On why the government chose DP World, Prof Mbarawa said the company was uniquely positioned to partner with the government as it is a global logistics company that able to deliver the required transformation across the entire logistics value chain. “The company has a proven track record of managing, operating and investing in trade infrastructure in Africa for over 20 years to the highest international standards,” he said. “With DP World, we expect to see improvement in the port’s performance. We expect to see the discharge period of vessels being cut to one day from the current four to five.”

President Samia Suluhu Hassan herself has described the deal as a “rare opportunity,” urging Tanzanians to stop “quarrelling” and support her administration’s efforts to transform the country.

Plasduce Mbossa, director general of the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) also defended the specifics of the IGA. He said there was misinformation being spread by those opposed to the plan. “It seems those who brought the 100 years aspect in the subject have their own interests. … It is a complete distortion of facts”. The agreement, he said, merely spells out the areas of cooperation between Tanzania and the emirate of Dubai, adding that this included training, information and communication technology and in the development and improvement of ports in general.

If the agreement is endorsed by Parliament, he explained, it will pave the way for more negotiations between TPA and DP World with regard to implementation of the plan. “No implementation agreements have yet been signed,” he said, adding that they had not even been negotiated.
What the IGA says is that the IGA will cease to operate as soon as any implementation agreement between the Tanzanian authorities and DP World ends. What this means is that actual time for the contract will be known from the agreements that will follow.”

Reactions and counter-reactions. And over-reactions?
It is likely that many on both sides of the public debate – including, frankly, this correspondent – are ill-qualified to reach a sound judgement on the details of the agreement itself. Nevertheless, the debate prompted by the leak of the IGA has stirred up reactions that have led some to question whether the apparent moves by President Samia to re-open democratic space in Tanzania are indeed genuine.

Several prominent critics of the deal have been summoned by the police and/or arrested. This includes the former President of the Tanganyika Law Society Dr. Rugemeleza Nshala, and opposition politician Mdude Nyagali. Another lawyer and critic of the deal, Peter Madeleka, was arrested after the High Court unexpectedly cancelled a previous plea-bargaining agreement relating to a case from 2020. Former Tanzanian Ambassador to Sweden, Dr Wilbroad Slaa, has been arrested and stripped of his title.

The attorney general, Eliezer Feleshi, filed an application to the Advocate’s Committee – Tanzania’s disciplinary institution for lawyers – alleging professional misconduct by another lawyer, Boniface Mwabukasi, because of remarks he made about the deal, seeking a declaration that he had committed “gross professional misconduct” and an order to bar him from practicing law.

The arrest of the critics came shortly after the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Camilius Wambura, warned that police would find and arrest people who have declared nationwide mass demonstrations against the deal (demonstrations that never materialised on any meaningful scale). He described their calls to “bring down the government” before 2025 as “treason,” which “cannot be tolerated.”

At least two dozen people have been arrested since June for opposing the deal, according to Human Rights Watch. Dr Slaa, Adv Mwabukusi, and Mr Nyagali remain in detention at the time of writing. They face various charges, including both sedition and treason. Treason carries a mandatory death penalty and is listed as an unbailable offence under section 148 of the country’s Criminal Procedures Act.

Party politics, democracy and freedom of expression
In early July, CCM’s top leadership discussed and endorsed the deal, resolving to intensify awareness about the importance of the agreement, emphasizing that the deal is as per the CCM’s manifesto. The party secretary general, Daniel Chongolo, has also called on all CCM members and leaders to defend the deal. “This is a CCM initiative, if you see any CCM member anywhere not defending this deal, be sure to doubt his commitment to the party,” he said at a rally in Mbeya.

The opposition, most particularly Chadema, has adopted the port deal as one of its key issues. In July, the party chair announced a new campaign (#OkoaBandariZetu #SaveOurPorts) to run alongside their existing ‘255’ campaign focusing on the new constitution. The party leadership has vowed that this will remain a big issue unless the contract is terminated, “This is a big political agenda for the next twenty years, not just for the 2025 election,” said CHADEMA Vice Chairperson, Tundu Lissu.

The spectre of the 2025 election clearly looms large over the debate, with both opposition parties and President Samia’s opponents within CCM trying to take advantage of the issue. Nevertheless, the heavy-handed actions of the government in general and the police in particular in response to public criticism has alarmed many who had previously thought President Samia’s administration was trying to open up democratic space. After all, what is freedom of expression if it does not include the right to criticise?

“The Tanzanian government’s suppression of its critics is a troubling sign of its low tolerance for dissenting views,” said Oryem Nyeko, Tanzania researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of clamping down on critics, the government should respect the right to freedom of expression and assembly, and listen to them.”

Human rights organisations in Tanzania spoke out against authorities’ decision to detain several people who have been criticising the agreement, condemning the “arbitrary arrests” of the deal’s critics and calling for their “immediate and unconditional” release.

“We firmly believe that every person is entitled to freedom of speech and opinion on everything happening in the country, including on the port deal,” said Anna Henga, Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), reading a joint statement on behalf of the organisations. “People do not deserve to be threatened for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, backed by regional and international instruments to which Tanzania is a signatory,” she added.

The government said that those who were condemning the arrest of the critics of the Tanzania-Dubai intergovernmental agreement had failed to differentiate between criticism of the deal and the rule of law.

Nape Nnauye, the Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, said that no one had been arrested for criticising the deal, but rather they had violated the country’s laws. They had made “specific public threats of a serious criminal nature, which include calling for the violent overthrow of the government of the day,” he said.

“The suspects, some of whom publicly sought to incite citizens to bear arms against the Tanzania Police Force, were apprehended to send a strong message to deter any offenders from committing criminal offences,” Mr Nnauye added. “The arrests do not, in any way, restrict freedom of expression in Tanzania, but are part of the law enforcement to prevent possible social unrest that may result from calls for a rebellion against a democratically-elected government,” he clarified.

Concerns for the state of democracy rose further, however, in early September, when opposition leader Tundu Lissu was himself briefly arrested, along with various aides and security guards, for holding an allegedly unlawful assembly. A party spokesperson said “police entered his [hotel] room by force and took him away without telling where they were going.”

Arusha regional police commander Justine Masejo later said they had detained Lissu and three others for questioning about accusations they were holding an unlawfully assembly and preventing police from doing their job. Lissu was released on bail a few hours later.

Since returning from exile in January (see previous issues of TA), Lissu has been holding political rallies across the country, at which he had voiced criticism of the port agreement. His return from exile followed several moves by President Samia to re-open democratic space, including the lifting a six-year ban on political rallies.

Seeking solutions
Former Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Mussa Assad has tentatively backed the controversial agreement, and had some suggestions for how the issue could be resolved. Prof Assad, currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the Muslim University of Morogoro (MUM), said Tanzania does not have the luxury to shirk foreign investments and lacks much of what it takes to build a prosperous economy. He said that much of the deal’s criticism is being informed by the lack of general understanding of investment issues and the misreading of the intergovernmental agreement itself.

On the issue of the 100-year time-frame, Prof Assad said agreements between two countries usually do not have a timeframe, adding that the issue would be considered in the project-specific contracts. However, he added, “because people have complained about it, the government can speak to its partners and agree to a specified duration with the IGA so that people can be happy about it,” he said.

He also backed a proposal shared by the leader of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo party, Zitto Kabwe, of forming a company that is jointly-owned by TPA, DP World and Tanzanians through the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange and which will be responsible for the port’s operations.

Prof Assad warned against leaving everything to investors, urging the government to sit down with DP World and agree on a specific period for reviewing each other based on the agreed responsibilities, which could be after every four or five years.

At the start of September, there were possible signs that even the government was looking for a way out. They withdrew proposed modifications to two laws controlling Tanzania’s natural resources that were up for debate in Parliament. Attorney General Eliezer Feleshi said the government had accepted “advice” from a house committee to drop proposed legislative amendments that would appear to remove a potential legal obstacle to the controversial IGA.

Whether this is indeed a sign of compromise, or merely a shift in tactics, remains to be seen.

ENERGY & MINERALS

by Ben Taylor

Equinor, Shell and Exxon agree major LNG project with Tanzanian authorities
The Government of Tanzania has agreed a deal with three companies – Equinor, Shell and Exxon Mobil – for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal. The agreement is a milestone for the long-delayed project to unlock Tanzania’s vast but remote offshore gas resources, which the companies involved have said is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars. Experts put the likely cost at around US $42billon (£34bn).

The deal includes the main elements of a host government agreement to provide a regulatory framework and a production-sharing agreement and is subject to legal reviews and quality assurance before an expected signing in the coming weeks, Norway’s Equinor said.

“It paves the way for the series of milestones that need to follow to realise this fantastic LNG opportunity for the country and the world,” Equinor’s Tanzania country manager Unni Fjaer said in a statement.

“We are happy it is a big step towards the implementation of the project, although we have a lot to do,” said Tanzania’s chief negotiator Charles Sangweni. “If everything goes well as planned, I am confident that the final investment decision will be reached in 2025,” he told Reuters.

Equinor and Shell are joint operators of the development while Exxon, Pavilion Energy, Medco Energi and Tanzania’s national oil company TPDC are partners. Shell operates Tanzania’s Block 1 and Block 4, which hold 16 trillion cubic feet in estimated recoverable gas. Norwegian oil and gas producer Equinor operates Block 2, in which ExxonMobil holds a stake and which is estimated to hold more than 20 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Project-specific law in preparation
A few days after the deal was signed, Energy Minister, January Makamba, told Parliament that the government is preparing a project-specific law on the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). A project-specific law gives investors preferential legal protections, boosting their confidence to invest.

“Madam Speaker, this law will be brought to the parliament for the first reading anytime from now,” Mr Makamba said, who called the finalisation of talks with the energy companies on the project “a historic milestone.”

Mr Makamba said that on top of the special project law, the government also plans to establish a special office for the highly anticipated project that authorities expect to unlock Tanzania’s vast offshore gas resources.

Dastan Kweka, a prominent analyst and commentator on oil and gas issues, said that the development was expected considering Tanzania’s recent relations with investors. “During the previous administration, Tanzania enacted several laws described as unfriendly to investors. There are also risks emanating from the change of administrations because every administration comes with its philosophy and priorities,” Mr Kweka noted.

In 2017, Tanzania passed laws allowing it to force mining and energy companies to renegotiate their contracts, which observers predicted would complicate its gas exploration plans.

“Project-specific laws help investors avoid these risks,” added Mr Kweka. “It gives them more certainty and protection. They most likely demanded the legislation as part of the conditions to invest in the project.”
Whether or not Tanzania will benefit from it will depend on how authorities handle it, he said, urging caution while developing the legislation.

“It is a law that if we had options as a nation, we would not accept,” he explained. “But because we have no option, whether Tanzania benefits or not will depend on how our government negotiates the terms with the investors.”

However, an expert working with one of the companies involved told The Chanzo online newspaper that there is no cause for concern.

“No one would invest US$43 billion without protective measures that the Parliament supports,” said the expert, who preferred to remain anonymous. “Project law is a mechanism that protects the investment.”

IMF: the project’s potential is transformative
Earlier in the year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a paper on the macroeconomic implications of the project, concluding that “the project has the potential to transform the Tanzanian economy,” but that this will require “proper institutional and policy frameworks for the effective management of gas revenues”.

“In addition to the direct impacts of the LNG investment and gas production on economic activity,” said the paper, “the revenue generated from LNG exports could enable the Tanzanian government to invest on highly needed human capital and infrastructure, thereby raising the potential of the economy and lifting millions of Tanzanians out of poverty.”

“International experience shows that a balanced saving and investment approach that scales up public investment gradually, taking into account absorptive capacity, efficiency of public investment, volatility of revenues, and exhaustibility of gas reserves would serve Tanzania better than either saving or aggressively scaling up public investments.”

“While preparations towards project implementation progress, the Tanzanian authorities should start developing a policy framework for effective management of gas revenues. The first step would be having a comprehensive understanding of the macroeconomic implications of the project. … Meanwhile, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public investments can help Tanzania prepare for a productive utilisation of upcoming gas revenues.”

LNG and the climate crisis
Despite being a fossil fuel, LNG is frequently cited as being compatible with the Paris Agreement. This is because some adoption of LNG (the ideal percentage is not agreed) would allegedly facilitate the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. LNG would help countries reduce their emissions, as LNG emits less carbon than coal and oil, and could help bridge the period while advances and investments are made in the world of renewable energy. As a result, it is sometimes called a “transition fuel” or “bridge fuel.”

Further, Tanzania’s moral right to profit economically from her fossil fuel reserves is strong. The country’s contributions to global carbon dioxide emissions have always been tiny, and the argument is compelling that those who caused the problem should bear the cost of solving it. Furthermore, the benefits of LNG extraction for countries at lower levels of development, such as Tanzania, could include – as the IMF indicates – massive poverty reduction.

Nevertheless, LNG remains controversial, for various reasons. First, LNG emits large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, making it less preferrable from an emissions reduction perspective than originally thought. Second, LNG investment diverts finance not only from dirtier fossil fuels, but also from renewable energy. And third, new investments in LNG risk the entrenchment of further fossil fuel-based infrastructure, with stranded assets that will be rendered obsolete as decarbonisation proceeds worldwide, particularly as LNG facilities are extremely difficult to repurpose for cleaner fuels like hydrogen.

Alejandra Padín-Dujon, an analyst at Colombia University in New York, said the project was an “ecologically and politically risky bet”, given declining demand for LNG in Europe and global decarbonisation efforts.
“In a world that is rapidly moving toward decarbonisation,” she wrote on a blog for the London School of Economics (LSE), “investing in LNG may never pay off: by the time new facilities are up and running, global markets may not only have turned away from LNG (limiting demand and leading to stranded assets), but may actively penalise countries that rely on it.” (Reuters, The Chanzo, The Citizen, IMF, LSE)

Solar-power plants under construction on mainland and Zanzibar
Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar have each initiated groundbreaking solar-power plants. The projects respectively represent the first grid-linked solar power generation project on the mainland and a major step towards reducing dependence on under-sea power cables for Zanzibar.

On the mainland, Tanzania has awarded China’s Sinohydro Corporation as the construction contractor for the country’s first-ever solar photovoltaic power station to feed into the national electricity grid.

The Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) signed the contract for the plant’s first phase of 50 MW capacity, in the presence of the Minister of Energy, January Makamba.

The project is part of a TSh 275 billion (£89m) 150 MW solar power initiative in Kishapu district, Shinyanga region. The power station will connect to the national grid through a 220 kV transmission line from Singida to Shinyanga.

TANESCO picked JV Artelia from France and Energiovida from Tanzania as consulting contractors. The estimated cost for the first phase is TSh 109 billion, the works are expected to start in mid-2023 and be completed within 12 months.

Mr. Makamba acknowledged at the signing ceremony that this marks the first introduction of solar electricity into the national grid of Tanzania. He commended the French Development Agency (AFD), which has provided a loan for the project’s implementation.

Tanzania is developing a new Renewable Energy Policy to further enhance investments in renewable energy, which will capitalise on the substantial financial resources, capital markets, and advancements in new technologies dedicated to renewable energy globally, Makamba said. He also announced ongoing efforts to identify areas with renewable energy resources and prioritise native investments in wind and solar projects. The Tanzanian government, Mr. Makamba said, will provide support in this regard and establish guidelines for project implementation.

Meanwhile, the government of semi-autonomous Zanzibar has signed an agreement with Mauritius-based Generation Capital Ltd and Tanzania’s Taifa Energy to build its first large-scale solar power plant, as it seeks to become energy independent. The plant will cost $140 million (£113m).

The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the state-owned Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (Zeco) and the two companies to develop the 180MW plant will be implemented in phases, according to Zanzibar’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

“The project will be built in phases and will commence with the expedited construction of a 30 MW solar PV power plant at Bambi, Central District in South Unguja Region, that will be completed in 2024,” Joseph Kilangi, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, said in a statement.

Zanzibar currently gets electricity through a 100 MW under-sea cable from mainland Tanzania, but now wants to generate its own energy as it pursues the development of its tourism sector. The province is betting on clean energy to help achieve that ambition.

In March this year, the government of Zanzibar committed to supply approximately 200 acres of land for the Zanzibar Clean and Renewable Energy Park Project, for instance. The project, to be developed by Astra Energy Inc, will generate 50MW of clean and renewable energy, largely driven by solar.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

by Dr Hildebrand Shayo

Should Tanzania be concerned about the UK and USA’s banks’ hike in interest rates?
When the Fed in the US or the Bank of England raises interest rates, what happens To Tanzania? Is Tanzania secure, bearing in mind the government’s commitments and government repayment to loans on the table, given like any other nation has borrowed from international financial institutions that use hard currency? If any further financial commitments and repayment are necessary, were these interest hikes anticipated in the nationally approved 2023/24 national budget? If not, how will this increase in interest rates affect Tanzania’s economy, which is already struggling to find enough dollars for imports of essential items like oil and other goods and services?

When the Fed or Bank of England raises interest rates, it is obvious that they intend to boost borrowing costs generally. The choice results in higher interest rates for everyone, raising the cost of loans for both businesses and consumers. Furthermore, this will result in a significant shortage of greenbacks, which will have an impact on many economies, including Tanzania, which depends on foreign exchange to facilitate trade.

Tanzania should be prepared to soon face the effects of US monetary policy, which will generally raise the cost of lending across the economy. Everyone ends up paying more in interest since higher interest rates make loans more expensive for both firms and consumers. Therefore, the crucial question is: Are we ready to withstand the sting of rising interest rates?

To ensure that everyone is on the same page, it is crucial to know for example that the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday 26th July 2023 increased its benchmark lending rate by 0.25% points to combat the US market’s prevalent above-target inflation. For the UK, the Bank of England envisaged hikes exceeding 200bps by year-end and a peak policy rate above 5% by early next year is something that cannot be overlooked in Tanzania. There are indications that the rate may be hiked higher to boost their economic prospects, according to the discussion that followed this US federal decision and the expected Bank of England decision rates scope.

Will this decision spare Tanzania, which like many other countries in the region is suffering from a shortage of the widely used trade currency, as evidenced by the recent shortage of the US dollar supply that prompted oil importers to voice their concerns to the government, even though this is likely to attract more investment into the US market?

Tanzania will have a difficult mountain to climb to manage the consequences of this rate increase. While it may seem like Tanzania should seriously consider increasing its domestic production by reviving its domestic industries that use local raw materials, or seriously consider switching over machines and engines that used imported oil to gas, or generally seriously consider achieving output that will mitigate this impact, this isn’t a one-day action.

As a nation, in my opinion, it is high time to face reality and accept that this shift would only strengthen the US dollar and damage other currencies, including the Tanzanian shilling. Changes in interest rates have an impact on how consumers and businesses access credit to make critical purchases and make financial plans. Even some life insurance policies are affected by it.

I do recognise that as a country we might be tempted to look to raise money through Euro bonds on the global market, but if this is going to be the only solution, we need to be ready because there will be significant charges with higher interest rates as the markets all over will react to the Federal Reserve decision.

In a way, our desire to create more jobs for young Tanzanians graduating from colleges and universities as well as those who want to start their businesses will be unable to obtain bank credit and likely be severely hampered by the gradual reduction in borrowing by businesses or the failure of new businesses to access credits at reasonable affordable rates.

When the Fed or Bank of England adjusts interest rates, it’s crucial to consider the effects on the economy, including lending and borrowing, consumer spending, and the stock market. My reflection aims to spark conversation about how we can assist the government in working with the central bank to find workable solutions because these changes will soon have an impact on how Tanzanian consumers will pay more for the capital needed to make purchases and when businesses will face higher costs associated with expanding their operations and funding payrolls.

The use of many strategies, in my opinion, including loans, swaps, exports of products and services, promotion of tourism, closer coordination of remittances, or attracting more FDIs, can help Tanzania overcome this difficult and challenging time in our development history.
While these actions may seem great, I believe there is one area that needs extra attention – specifically purchasing gold, that can be utilised as a hedge in this situation – but mistakes and lessons of the past when the government through the central bank was involved in purchasing gold must be considered.

It is more crucial for the government to set aside money to assist projects that promote exports and import alternatives. In this regard, policy banks like the TIB Development Bank or commercial banks can carry out the export guarantee plan, but caution must be exercised to prevent misuse by learning from lessons from the past where such government support was seriously mismanaged at the expense of Tanzanians.

Unquestionably, an increase in interest rates in the US or in the UK will induce or persuade investors to place their capital in equities and bonds and assets on the US market in search of big returns.

Changes in interest rates have a ripple effect on many aspects of the economy, comprising mortgage rates and consumer credit and consumption, and stock market movements. Nonetheless, due to the impact of interest rate changes on the global economy, most commodities traded on the international market, such as oil, will cause Tanzania to experience greater economic hardship if the proper strategies and actions are not taken on a timely and strategic basis.

My main concern is how interest rate instruments are being utilised while also thinking about what needs to be done to calm markets and prevent potential bank runs. I will go into more detail about this in the next issue and how strategically Tanzania can overcome this global challenge. But first and foremost, I worry that higher interest rates will increase pressure on Tanzanian banks, which will restrict lending. This will in turn undoubtedly damage small companies and businesses and other borrowers that seek sanctuary in this sector of the economy that is considered a major source of tax revenue for the government and importantly job creation for the army of young graduates from colleges and universities.

TOURISM & ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

by James L.Laizer

Tanzania ranked among best tourist destinations in Africa
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation ranks Tanzania as Africa’s second top tourism performer after Ethiopia, citing a substantial increase in visitors and positive industry developments. According to Dr. Hassan Abbas, Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the tourist sector was negatively impacted by COVID-19, but new investments and the government efforts, including in producing the ‘Royal Tour’ documentary have helped to improve performance. The number of tourists increased from 250,000 in the first quarter of 2022 to more than 400,000 in the same period this year.

“This is a very good step in the tourism sector because we have come out of Covid-19 and soon we will release fresh data on the number of tourists for the half-year. We continue to thank Tanzanians for continuing to invest in the tourism sector, many good things are coming,” said Dr Abbas when briefing on the outcome of Africa tourism conference held August, 2023 in Mauritius. He also said that Tanzania has been made a member of the council responsible for developing global tourism strategies and plans as well as the UNWTO’s vice-chairman.

Speaking at the Mauritius event, director of tourism Dr Thereza Mugobi indicated that Tanzania has acquired lessons that may assist in revolutionizing the tourism industry. These concerns include expanding private sector participation and making additional investments in tourism infrastructure: “Mauritius has made serious development in beach tourism, and it also works with the private sector very closely. The private sector always conducts tourism research and shares recommendations with the government. In Tanzania, we also work with the private sector, but we need to invest more” said Dr Mugobi. She also suggested that hospitality standards are important to make tourists come back. During the Mauritius event, Dr Abbas announced a renewed six-member board of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), containing members from both private and public sectors, with Ambassador Ramadhan Dau appointed chairperson, succeeding Judge Thomas Mihayo who retired at the close of his tenure.

Anti-poaching efforts paying off in Tanzania as wildlife population increases.
Tanzania has announced a steady rebound in its elephants and black rhinos’ populations as anti-poaching campaigns and ongoing enforcement and intelligence work continue to keep poaching efforts down. The number of black rhinos, an endangered species, has increased from 163 in 2019 to 238 in 2022, surpassing the target of having 205 rhinos by the end of 2023, the then Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mohamed Mchengerwa, said in June 2023. Presenting the tourism ministry’s budget in Parliament, Mr Mchengerwa said the elephant population also increased from 43,330 in 2014 to c.60,000 in 2022. As a result, Tanzania currently boasts Africa’s third-highest elephant population.

“Wildlife security reports indicate that no elephant deaths have resulted from poaching between July 2022 and April 2023,” said Mr Mchengerwa. He added that anti-poaching campaigns were boosted by efforts to control illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, and encroachment in protected areas. This is a strong indication that poaching has been dropping in Tanzania but not a time for complacency either. According to the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), black rhinos and elephants remain critically endangered species because of the demand for their horns and tusks in the illegal international market. WWF says poaching for the illegal trade is the greatest and deadliest threat to these species, as the horns and tusks are traded to be used for traditional medicine and increasingly as a status symbol to display success and wealth. Ongoing efforts will be required. Mr. Mchengerwa also stated that conservation efforts remain evident as the country accommodates the largest populations of lions and giraffes at 14,912 and 24,000, respectively. “12,058 poaching suspects have been apprehended, and the ministry has conducted special intelligence operations enabling the prevention of poaching and illegal harvesting of forest resources,” he said. This suggests that the use of a holistic approaches such as anti-poaching operations, intelligence, local community buy-in and better coordination among state agencies has helped enforce a legal framework that supports conservation and sustainable management of wildlife and protected areas in Tanzania.

Zanzibar announced an increase in its room tax effective from 1st July 2023.
The Zanzibar Revenue Authority (ZRA) has embarked on collecting new infrastructure levy from hotels, that comes into operation effective from July 1st, 2023. The tax changes will cover both five-star hotels and guest houses that shall charge from US$ 1 to US$ 5 or its equivalent in Tanzania Shillings per guest per night. According to the ZRA’s public notice, the tax is payable by a guest staying in any Isles hotel or guest house and the management shall be responsible for its collection.

Hoteliers and tourism stakeholders in Zanzibar have said the introduction of the levy for every hotel room occupied per night is likely to negatively affect the sector. However, the government has upheld that the levy will have no meaningful impact on the private sector. According to Ms. Saada Muya Salum, Zanzibar’s finance minister, the new levies would be implemented immediately with effect from 1st July 2023. “Hoteliers will have to see how to implement this, and I don’t think it is going to affect their businesses to that extent. What we are doing is creating a conducive business atmosphere; for example, regarding the issue of electricity, we have removed VAT on solar panels,” Ms Mkuya said.

The hotel stakeholder groups responded that having additional levies damages the competitive edge that Zanzibar has against other island nations in the Indian Ocean. “Hotels are already charging 15 percent VAT already, now add $5 dollars; this is keenly felt by consumers who might be forced to look elsewhere,” said one hotelier in Stone Town who preferred anonymity. The hotelier added that despite a rebound in the sector with handsome numbers of arrivals, this is an industry that was ravaged by the pandemic and many of the businesses are still in the recovery period. The chairperson of the Zanzibar Association for Tourism Investors (Zati), Rahim Bhaloo, said the new development has taken the industry stakeholders by surprise, adding that there was a need for prior engagement given the dynamics and nature of business. However, the chairperson of the Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, Ali Amour, said infrastructure tax changes needed to be implemented in accordance with the laws, indicating. That such levies support increases into tourism infrastructure such as roads.

HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

Marburg virus outbreak over
The Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, announced in June that Tanzania was officially free from the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), after completing 42 days of monitoring per the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

In a post on Twitter, the minister reported that May 31, 2023 marked the end of the monitoring period since the last patient recovered. “I’m officially announcing that the Marburg Virus Disease in the Kagera region is officially over,” she said. “We have managed to end the disease with great success. Today is a happy day; it’s a day to celebrate.”

On March 21, 2023, Tanzania had officially declared the country’s first Marburg virus outbreak. It was the second country to report the disease after Equatorial Guinea, which continues to battle with the disease. Across March and April nine cases were reported in Tanzania, including eight laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case. The last confirmed case was reported on April 11, and the sample collection of the second negative PCR test was on April 19. All cases were reported from Bukoba district, Kagera region. Among the confirmed cases, three have recovered, and six deaths have been reported, of which five were confirmed cases, and one was probable. Cases ranged from 1 to 59 years old. Six cases were close relatives, and two were healthcare workers who provided medical care to the patients.

WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described the development as “good news” in a statement posted on Twitter. “My appreciation goes to health [and] care workers, the government of Tanzania, WHO colleagues, and all partners for their efforts to end the outbreak in just over two months,” he said. “The key lesson is that we need to continue investing in epidemic preparedness,” he added.

WHO confirmed an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus disease in the central African country of Equatorial Guinea on February 13, 2023. In the past, the disease was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

According to WHO, the Marburg virus spreads between people via direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with infected people’s blood, secretions, organs, or other body fluids and surfaces and materials such as bedding and clothing contaminated with these fluids.

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines against Marburg virus disease. Outbreak control relies on contact tracing, sample testing, patient contact monitoring, quarantines and attempts to limit or modify high-risk activities such as traditional funeral practices. (The Chanzo)

EDUCATION

by Ben Taylor

Government outlines five priorities for education sector in 2023/24
The minister for education, science and technology, Prof Adolf Mkenda, has outlined five priority areas for the education sector in the coming year. He was speaking in Parliament, presenting his ministry’s TSh 1.67 trillion (around £540 million) annual budget.

“The government will complete the review of the 2014 Education and Training Policy and the Education Curriculum and begin its implementation with the aim of strengthening knowledge and skills for graduates of all levels of education,” said Prof Mkenda.

The budget also aims to increase the opportunities and quality of technical training in secondary education and mid-level technical colleges, as this is seen as playing an important role job creation for young people. As part of this effort, the minister noted that the government will facilitate the renovation of technical secondary schools and provide them with learning and teaching equipment. The government will also expand training of vocational education teachers, establish 130 new vocational colleges and expand access to vocational education from 380,000 students each year to 680,000 students.

Thirdly, the government will develop the concept of industrial training (teaching factory), similar to apprenticeships. The idea is that this will enable students at every level to gain skills through practical experience that will be useful to them for either future formal employment or self-employment, explained the minister.

A fourth priority is to strengthen the country’s capacity in research, the use of science and technology and innovation to stimulate the growth of an industrial economy. In strengthening research, Prof Mkenda said, among other things, the government will conduct research in 177 areas, including education, science and technology, language, agriculture, business, fishing, livestock, medicine, human rights, people’s development, and communication. “The government will do this to increase knowledge and solve various challenges in society,” he explained.

Last but not least, the government also aims to increase the opportunities and quality of primary and secondary education as well as higher education.

Facing a combination of rapid population growth and high levels of unemployment, the ministry of education, science and technology has a vital but challenging role to play in taking the country forward. Critics have highlighted that between 2015 and 2023 the government has allocated, on average, 14% of the national budget to education, well below the 20% recommended standard for developing countries.

If the government were to meet this target, “it is clear that many challenges could be solved and the quality of education in the country could be raised,” said Dr John Kalage, executive director of HakiElimu, an education-focussed NGO.

Others pointed to a lack of joined-up thinking in the ministry. According to Ms Husna Sekiboko (Special Seats – CCM), employment was offered to around 29,000 new teachers this year, while more than 300,000 qualified teachers remained unemployed. (The Citizen)

Government to act “against immorality”
The government has said that it will take strict action against all those who are proven to encourage and engage in acts that violate the Tanzanian society’s moral code. Speaking in Parliament, the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa stressed that the issue should not rest on the government’s shoulders alone but requires cooperation across the whole of society.

He was speaking in reference to the moral decay that has been discussed since The Citizen newspaper published an investigation into students’ behaviour in schools earlier this year. The paper’s investigation, focussed on two secondary schools in deprived neighbourhoods of Dar es Salaam, concluded that the causes of poor exam results were indiscipline and moral decay among students. In the report, students under the age of 18 were identified as engaging in prostitution and others in homosexuality.

“We have to protect our future generations against foreign cultures that endanger the well-being and development of the Tanzanian society,” said Mr Majaliwa. He added that the government has directed all schools to continue providing education to students from pre-primary to form six about the consequences of engaging in immoral behaviours.

“I strongly urge my fellow Tanzanians to work together to raise our voices so that we can put an end to immorality that has a big impact on our current and future generations,” he said.

He noted also that the law review commission has already reviewed some aspects of legislation, gathering opinions from various stakeholders to work on them, with the aim of identifying areas of weakness that contributed or provided loopholes for the spread of such practices. He said the government was involving all important stakeholders from the Mainland and the Zanzibar Islands.

Draft new education policy released
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has released the first draft of the proposed new edition of the education and training policy and curricular, which takes a competence- and skills-based approach.

The proposed new draft of the Education and Training policy describes the “formula” of education as “1+6+4+2/3+3+”. This stands for one year of pre-primary education, six years of primary education, four years of ordinary secondary education, two years of advanced secondary or three years of technical education and three years (or more) of tertiary or higher learning education.

The Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adolf Mkenda, said that the completion of these documents follows the promise of President Samia Suluhu Hassan she made in Parliament in 2021, saying that the government will review the education and training policy of 2014 and all curricula.

Minister Mkenda assured that the new draft matches with economic trends, including the 21st century technological needs in the world.

The draft, which was released on the ministry’s website, aims to establish a “vibrant, diverse and result-oriented policy and curricular”, and thus to increase the skills and competences of graduates in various fields in order to meet the demands of national and global jobs markets.

Moreover, the public will have a wide choice of enrolment options to ensure that the education offered provides life skills, vocational skills and creativity to match market demands.

The move according to the document, will give graduates a power of critical thinking, innovation, leadership and communication and information technology know-how, so that they can cope with challenges in the community and forge ahead.

The proposed new edition of the Education and Training policy will repeal the current education system of 2+7+4+2+3+, where a student graduates from higher learning after 18 years of learning. The new system has 16 years of learning up to graduate level, in line with countries like South Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia and Finland. (The UK generally has 17 years.)

With the proposed policy, the students will start primary education at six years, ideally after one year of pre-primary education that is intended to prepare the pupil to for formal schooling. The proposed system also provides room for those out of the education system to be enrolled in formal education according to set criteria, so that they can benefit from the opportunities in the formal sector. The government will have in place a national equivalent criteria and respective award for all levels of education. The draft policy also proposes that those in the compulsory education (primary and secondary) will keep on enjoying fee-free education.

In terms of curriculum, some of the proposed changes are to focus on competences in each subject.

For Standard One and Two pupils, the proposal of the curricular is to undertake the key subjects of reading, writing, basic English, mathematics, traditions upholding, arts and sports, environment and health.

Subjects for higher levels of primary schooling are Kiswahili, English, French, Chinese, Arabic, mathematics, history of Tanzania and ethical values, divinity, arts and sports, science, geography and the environment.

For the ordinary secondary education the subject list in the proposal are history of Tanzania and ethical values, history, geography, English, Literature in English, Kiswahili, Arabic, Chinese, French, sports, physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, agriculture, additional mathematics, computer science and bookkeeping.

Others are business studies, textiles, fine art, music, theatre arts, home management, food and nutrition, bible knowledge, Islamic and Kiswahili literature.

The main fields for O-level vocational education include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, automotive engineering, transport and logistics, clothing and textile, agriculture and food processing. Others are hospitality and tourism, commercial and business support services, printing, extraction and processing of minerals, cosmetology, creative arts, ICT and electronics and sports.

Minister Mkenda said the draft had been made available for the public to present their views before the final procedure to make the document official. (Daily News)

Call for improved menstrual hygiene facilities in schools
One in ten schoolgirls in Africa miss classes or drop out completely due to their period and substitute pads or tampons for less safe and less absorbent materials such as rags, newspaper or bark. This is according to a UNICEF report, cited by a Tanzanian NGO Urithi wangu (My Legacy) seeking solutions to the problem.

Running a three-day workshop to teachers from different parts of Dar es Salaam, who would in turn train their pupils on how to keep safe with washable pads, Urithi Wangu Programme Officer, Amina Ally said such skills being will help teachers to gain an understanding of the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) including checking how the content can be incorporated into classroom teaching.

The UNICEF report points to three ways that girls and women are disadvantaged by challenges relating to menstrual hygiene. First, the lack of affordable sanitary products and facilities for girls and women keeps them at a disadvantage in terms of education when they are young and prevents their mobility and productivity as women.

Second, the lack of clean and healthy sanitation such as toilets and running water means that girls often do not have anywhere to change or dispose of pads safely and in privacy at school.

Third, the taboo nature of menstruation prevents girls and their communities from talking about and addressing the problem; raising awareness and education to eliminate the stigma of menstruation is a large part of the battle.

Urithi Wangu conducted a preliminary study to understand the actual situation of WASH services in Tanzanian schools. The results showed the importance of having a sustainable sanitation policy in schools that not only focuses on handling WASH services, but also barriers to access to safe menstrual equipment for adolescent girls. This includes findings that 29% of respondents said that pads and tampons are available at school, 59% reported that the toilets were not friendly and did not meet the needs of young girls and those with special needs, 50% said that their schools have special sections/rooms for girls to cover up during menstruation, and 75% said they did not have a safe disposal method for used pads. (Daily News)

ENGLISH – A BARRIER TO LEARNING

by Laela Adamson

School children sit at their desks, singing and clapping at a primary school in
Dar Es Salaam, Credit | AFP

Tanzanian students who struggle with English feel bullied – a major barrier to learning

In many postcolonial contexts, early learning is conducted, and assessed, in a language that is unfamiliar to learners. About 40% of the world’s population cannot access schooling in a language that they understand and that is regularly used in their communities. This figure may be as high as 80% in sub-Saharan Africa.

Language policies in some countries preserve a role for mother tongue or other familiar local languages in the first years of schooling. This is the case for example in Kenya, Botswana and Ethiopia. In Tanzania, the national language – Kiswahili – is the language of instruction in primary schooling. The use of Kiswahili at this level was seen as integral to forging a new national Tanzanian identity after independence. But nearly all countries switch to English, French or Portuguese by the start of secondary schooling.

School children sit at their desks, singing and clapping at a primary school in Dar Es Salaam, Credit | AFP

Tanzania is no exception. Although there was a shift in the wording of the language policy in 2015, there was strong opposition to change. Young people continue to experience an abrupt transition to English when they enter Form 1 of secondary school from 14 years old.

There is clear evidence that the compulsory use of English makes learning more difficult and contributes to poor outcomes. Research has also found, however, that many students and teachers wanted to retain English as the language of instruction.

To try to unpick this perplexing confusion, I sought to explore students’ experiences of language in school, alongside their broader attitudes and aspirations relating to education and language. My study confirmed previous findings that compulsory use of English limits learner comprehension and participation. More significantly, I found that underlying student fear of poor expression in a new language – and being laughed at or mocked by teachers and fellow students – was a prevalent barrier to learning and participation.

The findings from this study are a clear pointer that any new approaches must include changes to classroom management. Laughter and humiliation should not be allowed as responses to mistakes.

The study
This study was conducted over eight months in two secondary schools in the Morogoro region of central Tanzania. The urban school had more than 1,500 students and included both lower and advanced secondary level, forms 1-6. The rural school was a newer, community school, with 600 students in forms 1-4. This study was designed for depth of understanding, so it focused on only two schools. There may be differences in learners’ experiences in different schools and regions across the country, but the challenges found in these two schools were similar to those reported in the wider literature.

The research approach was ethnographic – through observation in and out of class as well as formal and informal interviews with students and teachers. During this research, young people were free to speak Kiswahili, English or a mix of these two. Although there were other local languages used in the communities, they were not widely used in school. This is perhaps different in other regions of the country where there is a more dominant local language.

I trained and worked with a group of pupil researchers from the two schools. They conducted their own interviews, co-facilitated workshops and helped to interpret the findings and explain their meaning in the Tanzanian context. I wanted to recognise the importance of their accounts and explanations.

What we found
The vast majority of pupils in this study had not used English as a language of instruction before starting secondary school at age 14 or above. They also had limited exposure to English outside school. Only a small number of pupils at the urban school had attended private, English-medium primary schools.

To enable learners to understand, most teachers translated lesson content into Kiswahili. This happens elsewhere too, but it is much less common for teachers to allow students to answer questions in a familiar language. In this study I observed learners asking to speak in Kiswahili and being told that this was not permitted. Students had to translate their knowledge into English to respond.

Many students explained that they preferred to remain silent. This is because if they tried to answer and failed to express themselves, they risked being laughed at and perceived as unintelligent by their teachers and classmates. A female Form 2 student in the urban school said:

You will be laughed at, which means we are afraid of the shame … fear, again.

Students’ fears were not unfounded. I recorded many instances of laughter punctuating student responses in class. These include some which were led by teachers who seemed to be using humiliation and fear of failure as strategies to motivate learners to work harder. In some cases, threats of physical punishment were also used against students who were unable to complete a task.

This study found that girls were particularly worried about cruel comments from other girls that they termed “gossiping”. Learners’ experiences of negative emotions may differ based on gender but this was not the focus of my study.

Conclusion
Requiring young students to use an unfamiliar language to participate in learning works against the global aspirations for inclusive and equitable quality education. In Tanzania and other sub-Saharan African countries, some important work is being done with local teachers and teacher educators to develop multilingual, translingual and language supportive approaches to teaching.

The key feature is the use of a familiar language for exploratory discussion and to support learning of both subject content and the target language. Currently on a small scale, it is happening in a several countries, including Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Research is also under way to explore opportunities for expanding to a larger scale.
Students must feel safe to talk and experiment with language and ideas without fear of shame.

Laela Adamson is a Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. She has received funding from the Education Development Trust (Tim Morris Award) and the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council, grant number: ES/W005484/1.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Air Tanzania receives first-ever cargo plane
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on June 3rd attended the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) to receive the country’s first-ever cargo plane. The Boeing 767-300F touched down at around 3 PM, where it received a water cannon salute. The arrival of the freighter is expected to enable investors and businesspeople who were previously forced to export their cargo using other airlines to use the one by Air Tanzania.

Speaking shortly after the plane touched down, President Samia said the plane’s arrival resulted from Tanzanians’ prayers and hard work, urging them to keep up with the spirit.

Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) Managing Director, Ladislaus Matindi, said the newly acquired craft would significantly reduce costs for exporting cargo, mainly agricultural, fisheries and livestock products. The plane, which can carry up to 54 tonnes of freight, has a range of 11,070 km and a top speed of 850km/h, according to Mr Matindi.

He explained that ATCL’s evaluation of the company’s performance in the air cargo transportation market in the country had shown great hope and the demand for more cargo planes. ATCL is transporting seafood from Mozambique to China at an average of eight tonnes per trip, he added.

Minister for Works and Transport, Makame Mbarawa, told journalists that the cargo plane would relieve farmers and business people by cutting down costs for exports and imports of various products.

According to the data Mbarawa shared, Tanzania produces 24,971 tonnes of fish, meat, flowers, vegetables, and fruit products annually, supplied to India, France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Romania and Malta. He complained that only an average of 420 tonnes, equivalent to under 2% of the consignment, uses the country’s airports, noting that a big chunk of it was being flown through the neighbouring airports.

“Since we had no cargo aircraft, our transportation costs were higher than neighbouring countries,” Mr Mbarawa told reporters.

Saturday’s arrival of the cargo plane occurred against the backdrop of talks between ATCL and Kenya Airways (KQ) over a potential cargo transportation collaboration between the two companies. According to reports, the collaboration between KQ and ATCL is expected to focus on the demands of the global market for cargo transportation, including perishable commodities.

However, there was some controversy over the purchase of the aircraft when this was listed among the areas of concern highlighted by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Charles Kichere, in his report for the 2022/2023 financial year, where he reported an anomaly in the procurement.

According to CAG, the last instalment of the payment to the plane’s manufacturer was inflated, whereas instead of ATCL submitting an invoice of $37 million, it submitted an $86 million invoice.

The revelation caused an uproar among members of the public, prompting President Samia to dismiss Mr John Nzulule, the Director General of Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA), to pave the way for an investigation into the matter. (The Chanzo)

Workers on Standard Guage Railway construction go on strike
Turkish workers employed by the Turkish construction company Yapi Merkezi on the Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway project went out on strike on August 5. They are demanding payment of their wages, which they say have not been paid for the past seven months.

When the strike entered its seventh day, the Yapi Merkezi workers stated, “We will continue our strike until our voices are heard and until we receive our wages. We do not do charity, we want what we deserve.”
Ömer Tanriverdi, one of the Yapi Merkezi striking workers, told Bianet, a Turkish press agency based in Beyoglu, Istanbul, that he has been
working on the project for 10 months and hasn’t received his salary since February.

“The company has put us in a difficult situation,” Tanriverdi recounted. “When financial difficulties increased, they deducted US$600 from friends who wanted to leave, claiming it was for the plane ticket. Lately, as more people quit their jobs, they raised this deduction to US$3,000, and now it’s up to US$4,000. People are practically held captive here.”

The Turkish workers’ union told reporters there were also problems with delayed salary payments for Tanzanian workers on the project.

In January this year, Yapi Merkezi, a Türkiye-based construction company, launched the construction of the fourth phase of the Dar-Mwanza SGR project, the Tabora-Isaka section, whose construction is supposed to be completed in mid-2026. (The Chanzo)