Abdulrazakh Gurnah wins Nobel Prize
Roads & Bridges
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
Abdulrazakh Gurnah wins Nobel Prize
Roads & Bridges
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
by Ben Taylor
Cabinet reshuffle in President Hassan’s image?
President Samia Suluhu Hassan began 2022 with a cabinet reshuffle, widely reported as a move to strengthen her hand looking towards the general election in 2025.
The most notable absentees in the new cabinet are William Lukuvi, Kitila Mkumbo, Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi and Geoffrey Mwambe, the former Ministers of Lands and Housing, Industry and Trade, Constitution and Legal Affairs, and Investment respectively. Dr Dorothy Gwajima has been demoted to a less politically sensitive position as Minister of Gender and Social Welfare, from her former position as Minister of Health.
Prominent new ministers include former CCM Publicity Secretary Nape Nnauye, who returns to the cabinet as the Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology, and Ridhiwan Kikwete, the son of the former President, who is now Deputy Minister of Land, Housing and Human settlements. Other new appointees include:
• Eng Hamad Masauni as Minister of Home Affairs
• Hussein Bashe as Minister of Agriculture with Anthony Mavunde as his deputy
• Prof. Adolf Mkenda as Minister of Education, Science and Technology
• Innocent Bashungwa as Minister of State in the President’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government
• A newly formed Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry will now be headed by Dr Ashatu Kijaji with Exaud Kigahe as her deputy
• Mohammed Mchengerwa as Minister of Culture, Arts and Sports
• George Simbachawene as Minister of Legal and Constitution Affairs, having moved from Home Affairs
Ministers with responsibility for finance, defence, energy, tourism and foreign affairs remained unchanged.
The President also changed the structure of some ministries. She merged the Investment Ministry which was under the Prime Minister’s Office with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to become the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade, and split the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare into a separate Ministry of Health and a Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Needs.
One analyst described the change as a purge of Magufuli loyalists, pointing to the departures of Prof Kabudi, Prof Mkumbo and Mwambe, and the absence of the former powerful finance permanent secretary, Dotto James, a close associate of President Magufuli, from the new list of permanent secretaries. The same analyst noted also that the new cabinet includes the return of some prominent figures from the Kikwete era, including Pindi Chana and Nape Nnauye, as well as Ridhiwani Kikwete.
The key factor that forms the context for the reshuffle is the President’s need to consolidate her position within the ruling party, CCM. Having come somewhat unexpectedly to power, she inherited most of the senior figures appointed by her divisive predecessor. She made only minor changes to the cabinet after becoming President, and may be looking towards the 2025 general election with some concern.
The next election is still three and a half years away, but an underground argument rages as to whether or not she should run again for President in 2025. Many within the party, particularly those with their own ambitions for the Presidency and their associates, are pushing the view that her role is to serve out President Magufuli’s second term before handing over to someone else. There is also the fact that later in 2022 there will be internal elections for leadership positions within CCM – positions that will hold considerable influence over the party’s approach to the 2025 election.
The President herself hinted at her motivation for the reshuffle a few days earlier. “All those I feel have their eyes on the 2025 general elections, and work with that in mind, I will relieve of their duties so that they can have an ample time to prepare themselves, but outside the government.”
She also referred to recent public statements by some against her administration’s decision to borrow in order to fund its development programmes, linking this with opposition she is facing within CCM and what she called “election fever” ahead of 2025. The Speaker of Parliament, Job Ndugai, had been particularly outspoken in this regard. He resigned after being criticised by the President – she described his statements as “unimaginable” – leaving a vacancy that would have been more significant in previous years when the opposition had more than a handful of MPs.
“When circumstances handed me this responsibility, there was much talk on ‘interim government’ among MPs,” said the President. “I went to the Constitution to see what it says about ‘interim government’. I did not see anything. I said to myself, okay, let’s go.” She urged her Ministers and senior officials – some of whom she accused of having mixed themselves in factions organising against her – to take her hands and work with her to “bring development to Tanzanians.”
by Ben Taylor
The criminal trial of Freeman Mbowe, leader of the opposition party Chadema, continued throughout late 2021, providing several dramatic twists and turns. Mbowe and three co-accused are on trial for terrorism and economic sabotage, facing six counts including conspiring to blow up fuel stations, endanger national security and cause alarm. They vehemently deny the charges and say they are politically motivated.
In September, the judge hearing the case, Judge Elinaza Luvanda, stepped down after Mbowe told the court that he and his three co-accused had lost trust in the judge’s ability to conduct the trial fairly. They cited online claims that Judge Luvanda was an active member of the intelligence service TISS. His replacement, Judge Mustapha Siyani, only lasted a few weeks in the role, before stepping down after President Samia Suluhu Hassan appointed him as Principal Judge of the High Court of Tanzania.
Also in September, tension developed outside the courthouse when court officials denied entry to the court to Mbowe’s supporters. The situation was resolved – though not to the satisfaction of all involved – when the court allowed some supporters to enter after being searched and having surrendered their mobile phones.
Amid much legal wrangling, some details of the case against the accused have been provided. The prosecution has alleged that, between May 1 and August 1, 2020 at the Aishi Hotel in Moshi Municipality, Kilimanajaro Region, and also at different places in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Arusha regions, the accused persons conspired to blow up fuel stations, to blow up public gatherings and disrupt political stability, constitutional order and the national economy, and to bring the good name of the United Republic of Tanzania into disrepute.
The Kinondoni Regional Police Commander and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Ramadhani Kingai, read out a statement signed by one of the co-accused, Adamu Hassan Kasekwa, in which Kasekwa admitted to his involvement in all the offences and listed his co-accused. In court, however, Kasekwa asserted that his confession had been obtained through torture.
ACP Kingai also stated that police search had found various items including uniforms for Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF), a notebook containing maps and names of petrol stations that the accused had planned to blow up as well as market details including the market of Kilombero.
In December, the leader of the ACT Wazalendo opposition party, Zitto Kabwe, asked President Hassan to intervene to secure the release of Mr Mbowe.
Tundu Lissu, deputy chair of Chadema, took issue with Kabwe’s approach, however. He insisted that opposition parties should not be engaging with any meeting organised by either the Registrar of Political Parties or the police until the government establishes a conducive environment for dialogue and Mr Mbowe is released. “We cannot agree to go to dialogue with the government when they have not fulfilled the basic minimum of what we have been requesting for Zanzibar or Tanzania Mainland,” he said.
A meeting to discuss the state of democracy was held in early December, organised by the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) and attended by leaders including Chadema’s secretary general, John Mnyika, Philip Mangula of CCM, James Mbatia of NCCR, and Ibrahim Lipumba of CUF.
Mr Kabwe, who also serves as the chair of TCD, said that the meeting called on Mr Mangula to take up Mbowe’s issue to the President and request that it be dropped because it was not in the public interest.
Mbowe has been in police custody and later remand prison since July 2021.
by Ben Taylor
In making the award, the Nobel committee explained its decision as reflecting “his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”
Best known for his novels including Paradise (1994), which was shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prize, Desertion (2005), By the Sea (2001) and Afterlives (2020), Gurnah’s work has regularly foregrounded characters more usually found on the sidelines of mainstream storytelling. His writing explores themes of loss, alienation, migration and subjugation, often in historical colonial settings, with Zanzibar and the East African coast prominent.
Born in Zanzibar in 1948, Gurnah left Tanzania as a teenager following the 1964 Zanzibar revolution, and has lived in the UK ever since. He is Emeritus Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent.
In Tanzania, Gurnah’s Nobel Prize win sparked both joy and debate. Many Tanzanians acknowledged the recognition of Abdulrazak Gurnah’s work, while others questioned whether they can honestly claim the author as their own.
Both the presidents of Tanzania and semi-autonomous Zanzibar were swift in hailing Gurnah’s achievement. “The prize is an honour to you, our Tanzanian nation and Africa in general,” Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan tweeted. Zanzibar leader Hussein Ali Mwinyi said, “We fondly recognise your writings that are centred on discourses related to colonialism. Such landmarks, bring honour not only to us but to all humankind.”
The prize reignited politically charged debates around the relationship between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania, as well as around citizenship and identity in the modern world.
“One of the reasons Tanzania can’t allow dual citizenship is the fear that Abdulrazak Gurnah and his grandparents, who fled Zanzibar to escape the persecution of Arabs during the Zanzibar Revolution, would return and claim their stolen assets. And we’re shamelessly celebrating his victory?” wrote Erick Kabendera, a journalist.
“The debate about the “Tanzanian” identity of Abdulrazak Gurnah should be an awakening call, a trigger to our government to think about justice, dual citizenship, union matters and quality education and teaching – how do we do in writing and literature?” tweeted social scientist Aikande Kwayu.
“Gurnah identifies himself as Tanzanian of Zanzibar origin. Living in diaspora, having been exiled or even feeling dislocated from his country does not take away his heritage and identity. That is part of who he is,” said Ida Hadjivayanis, lecturer of Swahili studies at School of Oriental and African Studies in London. “There are so many people living in diaspora with children whose nationalities are foreign but who identify as Tanzanian – and so that is the homeland.”
Gurnah himself told journalists his connections to Tanzania remain strong. “I go there when I can. I’m still connected there … I am from there. In my mind I live there.”
In his acceptance lecture, Gurnah spoke of his motivation in writing, and the purpose of writing in society. “Writing is not about one thing,” he said, “not about this issue or that, or this concern or another, and since its concern is human life in one way or another, sooner or later cruelty and love and weakness become its subject.”
“I believe that writing also has to show what can be otherwise, what it is that the hard domineering eye cannot see, what makes people, apparently small in stature, feel assured in themselves regardless of the disdain of others. So I found it necessary to write about that as well, and to do so truthfully, so that both the ugliness and the virtue come through, and the human being appears out of the simplification and stereotype. When that works, a kind of beauty comes out of it.”
by Ben Taylor
Peace Corps Director accused of killing Tanzanian woman in drunk driving incident
In a case that has echoes of the killing of Harry Dunn in the UK, a senior American Peace Corps employee in Tanzania is reported as having killed a mother of three and injured two others in a series of car crashes that began after he left a bar where he had been drinking and brought a sex worker back to his home. The incident took place on the Msasani Peninsula on August 24, 2019.
The woman killed was 47-year-old Rabia Issa, a street vendor. She was gathering firewood around dawn at the roadside stand where she sold fried cassava and other foods when she was struck by a small SUV.
Reports in the newspaper USA Today identified the driver as John M. Peterson, then the 65-year-old director of management and operations for the Peace Corps in Tanzania. The newspaper provided further details of the case, citing a brief account of the incident in a report by the Peace Corps Inspector General.
According to these reports, Mr Peterson had been drinking when his vehicle struck a pedestrian at around 5am. He drove off at high speed, pursued by angry motorcycle drivers. In the chase, his vehicle then struck Ms Issa, before eventually coming to halt after colliding with a pole.
Mr Peterson was apprehended by the police, refused a breathalyser test, and was released to enable him to seek medical attention. The inspector general’s report says staff from the US Embassy and the Peace Corps then arranged for his speedy departure from Tanzania, which happened so quickly that local authorities were unable to charge him first. The U.S. government deemed it a medically necessary evacuation. Within a day of Issa’s death, Peterson was on a flight back to the United States.
Issa’s family told the newspaper they believe Peterson was released by police in order to cover up what had happened. A reporter visited the police station but found no record of the incident in the station’s ledger, and officers there declined to answer questions.
The case bears significant resemblance to that of Harry Dunn, killed in a road crash outside the US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, also in 2019, just three days after the fatal incident in Dar es Salaam. In that case, the US citizen Anne Sacoolas is accused of being responsible for the death, and left the country a few days later, citing diplomatic immunity.
Where the two cases diverge, however, is in the efforts to pursue accountability. Following much media coverage and diplomatic wrangling, the US citizen Anne Sacoolas is due to face criminal proceedings in the UK later this year, charged with causing the death by dangerous driving. The case in Tanzania has received very little media, diplomatic or police attention.
The US Department of Justice declined to prosecute Peterson, saying it lacked jurisdiction, according to the inspector general. A spokeswoman for the Peace Corps, in a statement, told USA Today that shortly after the incident, the agency placed Peterson on administrative leave and suspended his security clearance, pending an investigation.
Tanzanian authorities could charge him in absentia and issue warrants for his arrest with Interpol. Even if the US authorities decline an extradition request, Peterson could be effectively prevented from traveling internationally for fear of arrest.
by Ben Taylor
Government cuts growth forecast, secures IMF loan
In September, the Tanzanian government slashed its growth forecast for 2021 to 4%, down from 5.6% announced in June. This was expressed in a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government attributed the lowering of growth projections to the decline in performance of key sectors due to Covid-19.
“Some key sectors have been seriously hit by the third wave of Covid-19 in the first six months of 2021 that has forced us to review projections,” said Emmanuel Tutuba, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning. He noted that the tourism sector in particular suffered in the first and second quarters.
Growth figures and forecasts have been a source of tension in recent years between the government of Tanzania and major development partners including the IMF and the World Bank.
IMF Resident Representative, Jens Reinke, commented that the government has shown commitment for economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic. He made the remarks in approving an IMF loan worth USD $567 to help finance the urgent balance of payment needs, stemming from the effects of coronavirus pandemic.
The government also announced it will also table a supplementary budget before Parliament in February 2022, after the disbursement of the IMF funds. “This is a new source of income that will need approval of Parliament in agreed areas,” said Mr Tutuba, describing this as a normal legal requirement.
Later, the Bank of Tanzania’s monthly economic review for the year to October 31, 2021 reported an 11% rise in exports of goods and services compared to the equivalent period 12 months earlier. Exports amounted to USD $9.6 billion in the year to October 31, 2021, up from $8.6 billion in previous year.
This was driven by a rise in exports of manufactured goods and nontraditional goods other than minerals. Exports of goods increased by 10.4%, with non-traditional goods rising by 13.4%.
Analysts attributed the trend both to a recovery from the past impact of Covid-19 and in part to the efforts of President Samia Suluhu Hassan to establish a more supportive business environment.
“The right signals from the President bolster traders and investors’ confidence to invest in the country,” said Prof Abel Kinyondo of the University of Dar es Salaam’s School of Economics. He recommended, however, that these signals needed to be translated into legislative and policy reform in order for the positive trend to be sustained.
New statistical masterplan forthcoming
The World Bank senior economist in Tanzania, Rob Swinkels, has said the organisation is working with the government of Tanzania to support implementation of the new Tanzania Statistical Master Plan (TMSP) 2022-2027. Mr Swinkels gave the assurance after meeting with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the matter.
He said the bank is the long partner of the government in the development of the statistics system, which among others, is in response to demand for better information on updates in living standards and policy implementation. He added that the Bank has supported the implementation of TMSP 2010-2018, together with other development partners.
Speaking at the meeting, the Director General of the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Albina Chuwa said, “The World Bank project will help us achieve our vision for statistical development to support the government with quicker and better data to underpin the policy process”.
In a separate development, NBS has requested USD $80m financial support from the World Bank to help in conducting the 2022 Population and Housing Census. The request was by Dr Chuwa, saying the support would go into the purchase of more equipment to be used in the census whose preparations are at an advanced stage.
UK government pursues increased trade with Tanzania
November 2021 saw a UK-Tanzania Business Forum held in Dar es Salaam. It brought together government and business to discuss the trade and investment relationship between the two countries, and opportunities for increased economic partnership.
The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Tanzania, Lord Walney (John Woodcock), was in attendance as part of his first visit to Tanzania since his appointment to the role in August. He expressed the UK’s commitment to increasing Tanzania’s exports to the UK market, and investment by British businesses in Tanzania.
“Our particular focus will be on supporting quality and sustainable UK investments into Tanzania that create jobs, inclusive economic growth and mutual prosperity,” he said.
UK Trade Envoys are parliamentarians appointed by the Prime Minister, drawn from both Houses and across the political spectrum. The roles are unpaid and voluntary. These new appointments bring the total number of Trade Envoys who help support the UK’s trade and investment agenda to 36, covering 76 different countries.
Currently, trade between the two countries is highly imbalanced, with the value of Tanzania’s exports to the UK reportedly standing at a mere £29 million per year, while its imports are worth £127 million.
To raise Tanzania’s exports to the UK, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa urged the UK to bring in capital and inject it into various sectors especially in value addition. Mr Majaliwa also said UK-funded technical assistance and analysis will help to inform the prioritisation of economic reforms that the private sector could benefit from. He said Tanzania will continue to create an enabling business environment to increase investor’s confidence.
Industry and Trade minister Kitila Mkumbo said it was the government’s wish to see more Tanzania’s products sold in the UK market. “The trade volume between Tanzania and the UK is relatively large. But it is one-sided as it favours the UK more. We import more than what we export,” said Prof Mkumbo.
The forum was attended by over 20 companies from the UK, 150 British and Tanzanian (joint ventures) companies attending in-person and a further 300 participating virtually. It was organised by TanTrade, the British High Commission, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation and Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce.
UK aid to Tanzania in precipitous decline
Official aid provided by the UK to Tanzania has fallen sharply in the 2021-22 budget, to £28.5m. This represents a 68% drop compared to 2020-21 (£89.2m) and a massive 86% drop compared to 2015-16 (£204.8m), according to figures released by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The drop is most directly linked to the UK government’s decision to abandon its commitment to provide 0.7% of GDP in official development assistance, which came into effect in the most recent budget. It is also linked to the incorporation of the former Department for International Development (DfID) within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), now renamed as FCDO. However, though these changes have accelerated the decline of UK aid to Tanzania, the decline started several years earlier.
In 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned Tanzania explicitly as an example of a country where too much aid was provided, in contrast to countries in eastern Europe such as Ukraine and the Balkans, which are more strategically important to the UK.
Development practitioners within Tanzania responded with dismay to this argument, saying they were “left questioning the UK government’s assessment of what constitutes British interests.”
“We believe the move is short sighted, as there are global benefits to providing humanitarian aid to developing countries like Tanzania. A glaring example of this is the current coronavirus pandemic. A unified global response to the pandemic is in everyone’s interests, including the UK’s.”
A representative of the British High Commission in Tanzania responded that “bilateral aid represents one element of the UK’s contribution to Tanzania’s development. UK businesses and investors are a key source of foreign direct investment. And significant amounts of UK aid are channelled through non-bilateral mechanisms, including through major contributions to International Financial Institutions and multilateral programmes. Taking all channels into account, the UK remains one of the largest providers of aid to Tanzania.”
Some analysts have also linked the specific decline in aid to Tanzania to the country’s recent record on governance and democracy, and even to its unusual response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Where we have any such concerns on these issues, we have raised them with the Government of Tanzania,” said the BHC spokesperson. “The UK’s relationship with Tanzania remains vibrant and strong. In the year ahead, we will have a major focus on girls’ education and support for Tanzania’s efforts to improve its business environment and build a resilient and productive economy. We will also be working in partnership with Tanzania on climate change, tackling transnational serious and organised crime, and strengthening democratic institutions and the development of civil society.”
by Ben Taylor
Kabanga Nickel mine approved
A potentially lucrative new nickel mine has been approved at Kabanga, in Ngara Distrist in north-west Tanzania. The Ministry of Minerals in October awarded a mining licence for the project to Tembo Nickel Corporation Limited (TNCL). After a two-year construction phase, commissioning is expected to start at the end of 2024. The overall capital cost estimate for Kabanga (including a 20% contingency for overruns) is USD $1.3 billion.
Minerals minister Doto Biteko said the feasibility report showed total deposits of 58 million tonnes of nickel ore.
“The mining operations are expected to be conducted by underground mining method whereby production is expected to reach an average of 600,000 tonnes of ore per annum in the first five years, and later to 2.2 million tonnes per annum,” he said.
Operating at full capacity, and assuming the resource proves to be as productive as expected, the mine has the potential to become the world’s third largest nickel mine.
The concentrates produced from the mine will be transported to refinery which is to be built in Kahama District. This will include an estimated 33,000 tonnes of nickel per year, and smaller amounts of copper and cobalt. The inclusion of an in-country refinery is seen as key to ensuring the project won government approval. The plan is to process the metals in a refining process that uses less electricity and has a reduced carbon footprint.
The government expects to collect an estimated $7.5 billion (TSh 17.2 trillion) through various fees and taxes over the mine’s 33-year anticipated lifespan. In addition, the government expects the mine and refinery to directly provide over 1,000 jobs.
TNCL is majority-owned by Kabanga Nickel Ltd, a UK-based mining firm, with the government of Tanzania holding a free-carried 16% stake. In a parallel deal with Barrick Gold and Glencore, the previous owners of the project, Kabanga Nickel acquired all data and information relating to the previous mineral resource estimation, all metallurgical test work and piloting data, analyses and studies, including a comprehensive draft feasibility study report produced in 2014 and subsequent updates. Barrick and Glencore lost their licence to develop the site in 2018 when new mining laws were introduced.
Kabanga Nickel describes the site as “the largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit in the world, unmatched in scale and grade, with at least 30 years life of mine and further exploration upside. An extensive amount of exploration and resource definition has been completed to date, setting the Kabanga nickel project on a well-defined path to production.”
Chris Showalter, CEO of Kabanga Nickel described the issue of the licence as “a clear vote of confidence for the Project and team by our partners in the Government of Tanzania”. He acknowledged their support and as they move the project forward, and noted that development activities currently underway at the Kabanga Nickel Project can now accelerate in scale.
Kabanga will play a major role in accelerating the supply of much needed battery metals, essential for the global transition to a low carbon economy. The project will produce Class 1 nickel and cobalt products – two of the key elements used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) – and copper. The World Economic Forum has estimated that demand for high-purity nickel for EV battery production “will increase by a factor of 24 in 2030 compared to 2018 levels”.
Nevertheless, environment concerns remain significant. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers hardrock mining – such as this project – the top polluting industry in the US, and there is a long history of toxic emission problems at such operations around the world.
With this and the carbon emissions of mining in mind, Kabanga Nickel argue that the project will have a substantially lower environmental impact than most nickel mining. “Kabanga’s hydromet process is a game-changer,” says the company. “Traditionally, nickel sulphide deposits require smelting for beneficiation, which has a significantly greater environmental impact. Kabanga will be different, delivering Class 1 nickel on a sustainable basis.” They add that as a complete cradle-to-gate nickel operation, “refined metals will be produced in-country without smelting or the transportation of large volumes of concentrate over long, intercontinental distances,” reducing carbon emissions as a result.
Key to this is the adoption of an unusual, but more efficient refining process that replaces tradition energy-intensive smelting with “hydromet”, or hydrometallurgy – the use of water-based, solutions to extract metals – which has less than half the carbon footprint of smelting.
The nickel resource in Kabanga was discovered almost 50 years ago in the northwest corner of Tanzania, and has been the subject of repeated exploration programmes and feasibility studies by some of the world’s leading mining companies. Anglo American, BHP, Glencore and Barrick have collectively invested hundreds of millions of dollars in drilling and project analysis. It has never previously proved viable to exploit the resource, due primarily to its remote location. A combination of rising nickel demand – prices have more than doubled since 2016 – and more efficient technology for refining the ore have changed this calculation.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has asked companies to “please mine more nickel.”
“I would emphatically say we are very much positioned to start delivering to Mr. Musk and all other strategic battery EVs,” said Kabanga Nickel CEO Chris Showalter.
The later months of 2021 saw several significant developments in Tanzania’s gold mining sector, some of which continue to reflect the major shake-up of the industry under President Magufuli (see previous issues of Tanzanian Affairs).
First, Minerals Minister Doto Biseko announced that negotiations were progressing well for a new large scale gold project was expected at Nyanzaga in Mwanza region. Under the project, the Australian mining firm OreCorp is expected to invest around USD $500m.
Previously the project had been a joint venture between Acacia and OreCorp, but Acacia sold it’s stake to the Australian firm in 2018. Acacia and its parent company, Barrick Gold, has in recent years been involved in a fierce dispute with the Tanzanian government over tax liabilities, and while the specific dispute appears to have been largely resolved, Acacia and Barrick have been scaling back some of their involvement in other projects in Tanzania – including Nyangaza as well as the Kabanga Nickel project (see above).
The second development also involves Barrick Gold, in the form of their joint venture with the Tanzanian government, Twiga Minerals Corporation. In this case, Barrick expanded their investments in Tanzania by acquiring six new prospecting licenses for their Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, again in Mwanza region.
Barrick’s chief executive Mark Bristow said the acquisition was a “significant step” for the company.
At the same mine, Barrick also commissioned a new laboratory for testing minerals that speeds up the pace at which testing can be done. The laboratory can also process 1,000 samples in one day, compared to one sample per 12 hours previously, boosting the company exploration efforts by enabling rapid turnaround of critical operational information. The lab also gives more accurate analysis of gold, silver and other elements.
Barrick also updated its third quarter performance in which Mr Bristow said both Bulyanhulu and North Mara mines were set to meet their 2021 production targets as well as to replace depleted reserves through brownfields exploration.
Finally, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) won its case at the Court of Appeal against Geita Gold Mine (GGM) relating to VAT payments on fuel supplied to contractors. The case dated back more than ten years, and saw GGM given a tax bill for TSh 6bn.
GGM’s first attempt to fault TRA’s tax bill suffered a loss at the Tax Revenue Appeals Board (TRAB) which sided with TRA and dismissed the tax case. The company’s second approach was to challenge the TRAB decision was at the Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunal (TRAT), which decided again in favour of TRA in 2012. Dissatisfied with the TRAT, GGM took the case to the Court of Appeal in Dodoma to challenge the decision. In November 2021, the Court of Appeal came down against GGM.
Unpredictable rainfall and high demand for electric power have plagued Tanzanian consumers – both domestic and business – for many years. Power rationing was introduced by Tanesco once again in November 2021 after what they described as a shortfall of 345 MW at hydropower generation stations due to drought.
In response, the business community called on the government to find a lasting solution to power woes, including stopping rationing electricity in industrial areas during production peak hours.
Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) advocacy and policy director Akida Mnyenyelwa said industrial areas needed a very stable power if manufactures were to operate at full capacity. Otherwise, he cautioned, the use of standby generators was not economically viable due to high running costs. “The scarcity of electricity linked to hydroelectric power generation poses a lot of woes to investors because we depend on the power that is not sustainable,” said Coca-Cola managing director Unguu Sulay.
“We have to refocus our attention away from hydroelectricity towards solar, wind and or natural gas,” recommended Mr Sulay.
Zitto Kabwe, leader of opposition party ACT-Wazalendo, said there were legal obstacles preventing effective power generation in Tanzania. He noted that Tanzania’s power system masterplan and its subsequent updates sufficiently prescribe national energy supply strategies, but that implementation had been suspended since 2016. The consequence, he said, was that “lined up investments such as those targeting gas exploration, investment in renewable energy and so on, weren’t fulfilled.” According to him, one of the immediate solutions to the power conundrum would be the implementation of the power system masterplan.
Earlier, the newly appointed Energy Minister, January Makamba, highlighted ten focus areas for his new portfolio to strengthen the sector. He promised reform to the leadership and management of Tanesco and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC). He promised also to revive the long-stalled negotiations over a proposed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing plant in Lindi.
The Minister said the government will focus on improving cooking energy as 70% of people use forest products and other biomass which are not sustainable for development. He also said the government would look at affordable and reliable energy from the private sector through independent power producers and focus on the renewables and go big now that tech allows stability of production. “There needs to be proper decision making. Tanzania is blessed with multiple energy resources (wind, solar etc). Tanzania can become an energy powerhouse,” he said.
Looming over all these debates is the hydroelectric power plant currently under construction at Stiegler’s Gorge. The controversial dam – a pet project of the late President Magufuli – is designed to have the capacity to supply 2,115 MW to the national electricity grid, a massive increase on the total national generation capacity of 1,600 MW in 2020. The dam will not have this capacity until at least 2027, however, though the first turbine could come online in June 2022, supplying up to 235 MW of power.
by Paul Harrison & James L.Laizer
James Laizer has over 20 years of experience working in natural resources management in Africa, both terrestrial and marine, and both public and private sectors, and is a long term associate of Paul Harrison. He takes over the Tourism and Conservation portfolio in Tanzanian Affairs from Paul, who is stepping aside in order to focus on his role as the new Chair of the Britain-Tanzania Society. I offer my sincere thanks to both – The Editor.
Better days ahead expected as tourism sector in Tanzania continues to be strengthened
The Tanzanian tourism sector is steadily recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and business. Ongoing attention to the sector by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the wider government and other tourism stakeholders, indicate that there is an opportunity to revamp the tourism industry to drive inclusive growth over the long term, whilst promoting climate adaptation and mitigation. As part of the effort to improve the tourism sector, the Tanzanian government recently allocated nearly $39.2 million (about TSh 90 billion) of funds to mitigate the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the travel and tourism industry. The funds are part of the $567.25 million loan approved in September 2021 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support Tanzania in responding to the pandemic by addressing health, humanitarian, and economic effects.
A recent television documentary initiative by President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been received positively throughout the country by tourism industry stakeholders. The Head of State’s decision to personally market Tanzania and invite an international film crew to shoot a documentary on the country’s tourism sector, is thought likely to improve awareness of Tanzanian destinations internationally and hence drive demand. The official trailer for the documentary is finally out (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUV5vxlHtqc) and ‘The Royal Tour’ is showcasing at tourist, investment, arts, and cultural attractions. The documentary shows Tanzania’s Head of State in safari attire taking the audience on an adventurous tour to some of Tanzania’s most iconic landscapes including Bagamoyo in the Coastal region, Mount Kilimanjaro, iconic wildlife parks and an underwater room in Pemba.
Again, this is part of renewed efforts to make Tanzania more visible to the world and attract more foreign investors to the country and better the tourism sector for days ahead. It follows a similar initiative by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in partnership with the same US film maker, Peter Greenberg, in 2018, titled “Rwanda: The Royal Tour”.
Serengeti once again declared Africa’s best National Park
On 21st October 2021, the World Travel Awards declared Tanzania’s Serengeti as 2021’s leading African national park as reported in the Citizen (October 21st 2021). The Serengeti was pitted against other prized African contenders such as Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana), Etosha National Park (Namibia), Kidepo Valley National Park (Uganda), Kruger National Park (South Africa) and Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya). The World Travel Awards also recognized Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro among Africa’s leading destinations, meaning that three Tanzanian national parks claimed triple spots on the 2021 conservation awards list.
Tanzania won in ten different categories, including: Leading National Park, Leading Beach Destination, Leading Destination, Leading Luxury Island, Responsible Tourism Award, Leading Green Hotel, Leading Private Island Resort, Leading Safari Company, Leading Luxury Safari Lodge, and Leading Hotel Brand. This widespread recognition will help in promoting Tanzania’s tourism destinations internationally and raise conservation awareness in general.
Zanzibar remains a preferred tourist destination with its emergent blue economy drive
Zanzibar has expressed hope over an increase in tourist numbers from September 2021 onwards. Most tourists visiting Zanzibar are from Europe, particularly France and Poland, according to Tanzania Daily News. The Blue Economy agenda is a top priority for Zanzibar. For centuries, the people of Zanzibar have engaged in domestic and international ocean-based activities, though the sector has now grown in both size and significance. Blue economy activities are estimated to have contributed around 29% of Zanzibar’s GDP in 2019 and employ about a third of Zanzibar’s labour force. The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar developed the Zanzibar Development Vision 2050 and the Zanzibar Blue Economy Policy and is in the process of developing the Zanzibar Blue Economy Strategy. Vision 2050 sets out the long-term goals and aspirations of Zanzibar and distinguishes the blue economy as a key strategic driver for realizing them. The Policy provides a guiding framework for the implementation of the blue economy, and has identified five areas of focus, namely, fisheries and aquaculture, maritime trade and infrastructure, energy, tourism, and marine and maritime governance. A key question will be whether the framework can be implemented effectively, where a drive towards increased investment will need effective engagement with the private sector, including new entrants.
Tanzania calls for financing support towards climate change mitigation
As in other parts of the world, climate change in Tanzania is affecting both the natural environment and local residents. Average temperatures in the country are rising with a higher likelihood of intense rainfall events (often resulting in flooding) and of dry spells (often resulting in drought). Water scarcity is an increasing problem and many major water bodies have had significant drops in water levels, including Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Rukwa. This is having a major impact on the agriculture sector which employs the majority of Tanzanians. In light of this, and since the effects of climate change are seen as an increasing threat in Tanzania, President Samia Suluhu has called for urgent unlocking of climate change financing, warning that inaction means that countries with low adaptive capacity such as Tanzania had no option but to brace for more adverse effects.
While addressing participants in Scotland during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, President Samia Suluhu said: “What we ought to remember is when drastic climate change hits, it chooses no location, mighty, weak, poor or rich country,” and called for developed countries to scale up their financing efforts to mitigate effects of climate change by providing predictable and adequate funds to enable low-income countries to achieve ambitious sustainable development goals.
by Angela Ilomo
Angela Ilomo is the Acting Director of RLabs Tanzania, a lawyer by profession, and is dedicated to transforming opportunities for young women and men through leading RLabs’ entrepreneurship programme. She takes over the Education portfolio in Tanzanian Affairs from Naomi Rouse. I offer my sincere thanks to both – The Editor.
Tanzania lifts ban on pregnant school girls
The law which was originally passed in 2002 was reinforced by late President John Magufuli in 2017 barring pregnant girls from attending regular school.
Speaking in Dodoma on Wednesday November 24, Prof. Ndalichako said the government will now allow all students who dropped out of school due to various reasons including pregnancy to return to school in a formal system after giving birth. “Later today, I will issue a statement explaining how the students who dropped out of school due to pregnancy and other reasons will go back to school,” she said.
US Ambassador Dr Donald Wright said his country was pleased by the Tanzanian move. “This proclamation indicates a more inclusive approach to education in Tanzania and a positive step forward for Tanzanians,” he said. (The Citizen, The Daily News)
Issues that are still pending in Tanzania’s education system
One of the major pending issues is the ‘dualism’ in primary education in Tanzania. This dualism plays out negatively and has, unfortunately, been accepted as a fait accompli. This has led to better performance of children studying in private school during final standard seven examination.
A major driving force in this dualism the difference in the medium of instruction: English and Kiswahili. Pupils learning in an English environment, from nursery school to Standard Seven acquire English proficiency that those schooled in the Kiswahili system can only dream of. If Tanzania’s secondary schooling and university education was not conducted entirely in English this would not have been such a problem.
Prof Herme Mosha cautioned 10 years ago, while giving an assessment of 50 years of independence, that the differences in performance in examinations between pupils in public and private schools might produce the ruling class from those studying in private schools and the ruled class from those studying in poorly equipped public schools.
When public schools become much better equipped and well-staffed with teachers with high morale, with healthy pupil-to-teacher ratio, then more parents will send their children to public schools, which might lead to the natural death of many of the many private schools. (The Citizen)
Over 900,000 set to start secondary education in 2022
This year, 2021, has been one for the goodwill of the government and the education sector as a whole. More than 900,000 pupils who passed the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will for the first time join Form One within the first selection window, thanks in part to funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October of $576 million that have facilitated construction of over 10,000 classrooms across the country.
For five consecutive years there have been challenges in selecting a pile of primary school leavers who sought slots in public secondary schools due to shortage of classrooms vis-à-vis demand for accommodation.
The Minister of State in the President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said that no selected pupil will have to sit on the floor in the constructed classrooms as the fund will also be used to support the making of 462,795 desks. (The Citizen)
Government commits to work with Camfed
The government has committed to work together with the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) to explore the potential for scaling the Learner Guide Program across the government school system by ensuring children access relevant life and work skills in their education. Camfed, since its inception in 2005, made it possible for 8,000 marginalized boys and girls to attend primary school and 55,000 girls to attend secondary school.
The Learner Guide Program sees that young women who have experienced first-hand barriers to education receive support to return to their local schools as mentors and role models. Now they are working to keep more girls in their communities in school.
In view of this, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Prof Caroline Nombo, said the programme should not only focus on girls and forget boys who also face challenges and need quick interventions that will encourage them to remain in school.
She noted that the initiative supports government key priorities including equitable access to education and providing education with relevant life and works skills that will provide youth with employment. (The Citizen)
Fresh concern over lecturer shortage in Tanzanian universities
Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) figures show that the number of university academic staff increased from 6,238 in 2019 to 7,187 in 2020. At the same time, student enrolment has increased by an average of 4.7% annually from 177,963 students in the 2017/18 academic year to 206,305 in 2020/21. In Education, Law, Medical and Health Sciences, Humanities and Arts as well as Business programmes, there are unsatisfactory ratios of students to lecturers.
Education stakeholders are of the view that if these factors are not looked into and dealt with accordingly, the quality of education in the country runs the risk of experiencing a calamitous drop. The reasons TCU banned 19 institutions of higher learning from admitting new students in the 2017/18 academic year, was due to the lack of relevant human resources. “Producing a PhD holder takes much time, and is very expensive as well. It can even take up to ten or twelve years to get one,” said Dr. Jabir, an education consultant.
It is suggested by experts that the government should create conducive environment for universities to develop relevant human resources. (The Citizen)
by Ben Taylor
Omicron wave reaches Tanzania
The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has reached Tanzania and spread widely. This conclusion is not based on analysis of official data on case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths, but instead on anecdotal (but very widespread) reports of case numbers having risen sharply in December 2021 both in health facilities and in the community.
On November 27, the government urged Tanzanians to take all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the new Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus threatened to roll back the global fight against the disease. A statement issued by Tanzania’s chief medical officer, Dr Aifello Sichwale, said the fourth Covid-19 wave caused by the new variant was “deadly”.
There is still very little official data being released on the state of the pandemic in Tanzania (with the exception of data on vaccines – see below). The government has released some data – for example Situation Report No.14, dated December 20th, 2021, reported 1,366 new confirmed cases in the previous week, 92% of which were in Dar es Salaam, bringing the reported total since the start of the pandemic to 27,849, with 737 confirmed deaths. However, such releases have been highly sporadic and inconsistent. Moreover, the figures they contain are thought to be massive underestimates.
Nevertheless, in contrast to earlier phases of the pandemic, doctors and others are far more willing now to speak openly about what they are seeing. The story they tell is remarkably consistent from different parts of the country, and paints a mixed picture.
“We’re seeing a lot of patients arrive at the hospital,” said a senior doctor at Muhimbili National Hospital, “but most do not actually need to be admitted.” A doctor in Iringa said there were clear signs that the virus was spreading widely in the community – “everybody has it”, he said – but that for most people it was proving no more serious than an unpleasant flu.
The Situation Report cited above also included a revealing chart showing confirmed case numbers across the full period of the pandemic. The chart is interesting not so much for the specific figures (which are likely to be underestimates) as for the pattern of numbers rising and falling in particular periods. These waves match closely those experienced in Kenya and Uganda where data has been released regularly throughout.
Even more interesting still, however, is the fact that the chart shows case numbers from times when Tanzania was not officially collecting such data, and indeed when the government was publicly making the claim that the country had defeated the virus and was experiencing no cases.
STOP PRESS: At the time of writing, President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced a cabinet reshuffle, which returned former Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, to the position, replacing Dr Dorothy Gwajima. Mwalimu had previously served as Minister of Health from 2015 to November 2020, when she was removed from the post, reportedly as a result of disagreements with the President over the national response to Covid-19.
Tanzania hits 2,000,000 Covid-19 vaccines milestone
Shortly before the end of 2021, Tanzania reached the figure of two million people having received at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 (3.4% of the population). This puts the country at a similar level to Zambia and Malawi, but well behind Kenya (over 7 million people vaccinated), Uganda (8 million) and Mozambique (9 million).
Tanzania started later than many other countries in providing vaccines, with the vaccine rollout not getting underway in earnest until August 2021, compared to February or March for many of the country’s neighbours.
This is a direct effect of the anti-vaccine stance of the late President John Magufuli, who had refused offers of vaccines, arguing that they did not work and could even be dangerous. President Samia Suluhu Hassan changed this position, joining the global COVAX initiative that supplies vaccines free of charge to poorer countries and accepting offers of vaccines donated by the USA and China. Between July and December, Tanzania received a total of 4.8 million doses of the Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Sinopharm vaccines from various sources.
Nevertheless, the relatively slow pace of vaccination in Tanzania reflect two separate legacies of President Magufuli’s idiosyncratic response to the Coronavirus pandemic, in addition to the late start.
First, in contrast to her neighbours, health authorities and service providers in Tanzania had not been making preparations for a nationwide vaccine rollout. Nor had they shifted to pandemic-footing more generally – with no systematic monitoring of case numbers, for example, or efforts to raise public awareness of the virus. Indeed, under President Magufuli, there were concerted efforts to downplay the pandemic’s seriousness.
Second, many Tanzanian citizens who a few months earlier had heard their much-loved President tell them that the vaccines were ineffective and dangerous, are now reluctant to put their trust in those very same vaccines. A recent survey of public opinion by Twaweza , a civil society organisation working in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, found that just half of Tanzanian citizens (54%) would be willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, compared to 76% in Kenya and 85% in Uganda.
Overcoming such resistance will not be straightforward.
Malaria vaccine approved for widespread use
The World Health Organization in October endorsed the first vaccine against Malaria, a disease that kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly African children. The decision followed a review of data from trials of the vaccine developed by GSK, conducted since 2019 in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in which more than two million doses were given of the vaccine.
After reviewing the evidence, the WHO said it was “recommending the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine”, the agency’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. The WHO said it was recommending children in sub-Saharan Africa get four doses up to the age of two.
Findings from the vaccine trials showed it “significantly reduces severe malaria which is the deadly form by 30 percent,” said Kate O’Brien, Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. The vaccine is “feasible to deliver”, she added and “it’s also reaching the unreached… Two thirds of children who don’t sleep under a bed net in those countries are now benefiting from the vaccine.”
Many vaccines exist against viruses and bacteria but this was the first time that the WHO recommended for broad use a vaccine against a human parasite.
“From a scientific perspective this is a massive breakthrough,” said Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme.
The estimated cost of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa is over 12 billion dollars a year, Alonso said at a news conference following the announcement. The GAVI vaccine alliance said they will consider whether and how to finance a new malaria vaccination programme for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The WHO also hopes this latest recommendation will encourage scientists to develop more malaria vaccines.
Separately, the fight against malaria earlier in 2021 received a major boost when researchers from Britain’s Oxford University announced that their Matrix-M vaccine candidate had become the first to surpass the WHO’s threshold of 75-percent efficacy. Germany’s BioNTech, which developed a coronavirus vaccine with US giant Pfizer, also said it aimed to start trials for a malaria vaccine next year using the same breakthrough mRNA technology.
The Oxford team launched a phase-3 trial in summer 2021, enrolling 4,800 children in Burkina Faso, Mali, Kenya and Tanzania. If all goes as hoped, results could be submitted to regulators in late 2022.
Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford said that “in Africa, malaria has probably caused four times as many deaths as COVID-19 over the past year”.