by Ben Taylor

Natural Gas processing back on track?
The prospect of a liquified natural gas (LNG) project is back on the rails after stalling for years. Negotiations for its actualisation formally kicked off in January after inking of a crucial agreement.

Minister for Energy, Mr January Makamba, said the project would require an investment of a staggering TSh 70 trillion (USD $30bn).

The Minister was speaking after an agreement was signed between the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), on behalf of the Tanzania government, and Baker Botts LLP as a transaction advisor to the government. The signing at Gran Melia Hotel followed two days of talks between the UK-based legal firm and senior government officials.

The minister said it was the scale of the project that led the government to conclude that international expertise was needed, and thus to look for external consultants to lead the discussions. The search commenced through an international tender which, he said, was won by Baker Botts (UK) LLP, who will work in partnership with Tanzanian law firm, Apex Attorneys.

“We hope with this agreement, the road is cleared for realisation of the project,” he told journalists.

Tanzania has an estimated 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas reserves, mostly off shore, in Lindi Region. Of this, 43 tcf are recoverable while 23-25 tcf qualify for commercial exploitation.

According to Makamba, discussions between the government and other partners are expected to last until the middle of this year. “Thereafter, an agreement will be signed. This will give a timeframe for the imple­mentation of the project and the like”, he said.

Mr Makamba said the government was keen to see the take-off of the project so that the economy can benefit from the huge gas resources. If completed, the massive project would supply liquified gas for the households and for the export market.

A lead partner with Baker Botts (UK) LLP Hamish McArdo said he was optimistic on the swift conclusion of key issues in the project. He said his London-based firm was experienced in upstream oil and gas projects, especially in legal, technical and commercialisation aspects.

The decision to appoint a foreign firm for this work has attracted some criticism from pundits. They noted that other agreements, including that with Barrick Gold were concluded by Tanzanian legal experts, led by former Constitution and Legal Affairs Minister Palamagamba Kabudi.

In response, Mr Makamba explained that what was being sought was not legal advice but rather a consultant in LNG discussions who had the necessary ability and experience.

“If you look at the terms of reference, there are four types of skills needed. They are financial, commercial, technical and legal. This is the expertise that TPDC was looking for in a process that ended yesterday and which started in 2018,” he said.

“Globally, for discussions like this, countries that have never imple­mented a project like the LNG always look for additional expertise to advise them in the negotiating process. The country has its own position on what it wants to achieve in the project and then the firm supports this,” he said. He added that Tanzania had regulations that compel a foreign company to strike partnerships deals with a local firm, noting that that was why Baker Botts will work in partnership with Apex Attorneys.
The executive director of HakiRasilimali, which strives for indigenous participation in natural resources projects, Ms Racheal Chagonja, said there was no problem with the firm being offered the job. Nevertheless, she stressed the need for transparency in all processes.

“The experience we have had in negotiating mining contracts since 2017 is that they were shrouded in secrecy. Things need to be different as we now negotiate natural gas deals,” she said.

Kabanga Nickel prospects looking strong
The Kabanga Nickel Project has secured a $100 million investment from the world’s biggest mining company, BHP, of which it has allocated $10 million to acquire the hydromet tech to ensure that finished Class 1 battery grade nickel, copper and cobalt will be produced in the country. This was according to Kabanga Nickel’s Chief Executive Officer, Chris Showalter, in an extensive interview with The Citizen newspaper.

Globally, demand for nickel is projected to rise sharply in coming years, due to its importance to the battery technology used by electric vehicles.

“We are very pleased BHP decided to invest in Kabanga,” he said. “To recap the investment, an initial $40 million will be invested into Kabanga together with $10 million into Lifezone – the technology com­pany owner of the hydromet refining technology to be applied at the project.”

With an additional $50 million planned, BHP’s share in Kabanga Nickel will reach 17.8%, valuing the project at $658 million. This is the first new investment by BHP in Africa in years. “This investment secures access to a world class nickel sulphide resource and is aligned with BHP’s strategy to capture opportunities in future-facing commodities,” said a BHP spokesperson.

Showalter also explained that Kabanga Nickel had been moving fast since taking over the project in January 2021, working with the govern­ment to ensure that they have all the right mining and refining licences and the proper environmental permits, and working with the commu­nity to agree their needs, to agree resettlement proposals where neces­sary and to create the right community initiatives to ensure local people also derive benefits from the project.

Showalter talked up the environmental credentials of the nickel they will produce in Tanzania. “Nickel from Kabanga will be refined using hydrometallugy, rather than smelting,” he said, “which reduces emis­sions by around 80 percent. It will also be refined in Tanzania rather than being shipped around the world, reducing emissions further.”

He said this will increase demand for Tanzanian Nickel, because car and battery makers are under pressure to reduce carbon emissions both in their own operations as well as their supply chains. As a result, “they are likely to prefer our nickel than that produced by dirtier methods in places like Russia.”

Asked when the operation would start to produce, Showalter said that they expect mining to commence in 2025. He added that they will be updating the development plans over the next 12-18 months, which will firm up their timeline.

Renewable Energy Potential
Assessments of the potential for generating electricity from renewable sources – wind and solar – in Tanzania have concluded that the poten­tial is very high.

According to the World Bank, Tanzania has a solar energy potential greater than that of Spain and wind energy potential greater than that of the US State of California. With such great potential for solar and wind energy resources, Tanzania is naturally appropriate for producing solar and wind energy as a feasible alternative source for modern energy sup­ply from the national grid.

The Ministry of Energy (MoE) in collaboration with Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) and Rural Energy Agency (REA) under the support from DANIDA and SIDA conducted wind energy resource assessments. Among other areas with potential, the assessment identified that Makambako in Njombe region and Singida have suf­ficient wind speed for significant grid-scale electricity generation with an average wind speed of 8.9 m/s to 9.9 m/s.

Solar energy resources with high potential are widespread across the country, but particularly in Dodoma, Singida and Shinyanga regions. High solar energy levels are ranging from 2,800 to 3,500 hours of sun­shine per year.

Given the rapidly rising cost of fossil fuels, the rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy and the global urgent need to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, these opportunities are likely to play a major role in Tanzania’s future power generation strategies.


by Ben Taylor

Tanzanite Bridge opens, connecting Oyster Bay and Dar city centre

Tanzanite Bridge

On February 1, 2022, the Tanzanite Bridge opened to road users. The 1km-long bridge connects Oyster Bay (Kenyatta Road close to Toure Drive) to Dar es Salaam city centre (on Obama Drive formerly Ocean Road) by the Aga Khan Hospital. The bridge’s striking design and construction combines elements of a girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge to make it lighter.

With four lanes (plus pedestrian sections) and a capacity of 55,000 vehi­cles per day, the bridge is expected to ease congestion on Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road, which handles at least 42,000 vehicles every day. In particular, it will reduce pressure on the bottleneck point of Selander Bridge, originally constructed across the Msimbazi delta in 1929 and replaced in 1980.

The TSh 256 bn (USD $127m) cost of the bridge has been jointly pro­vided by the Tanzania government (17%) and a loan from the govern­ment of South Korea (83%).

The government said the bridge is significant in efforts to address the challenge of traffic congestion in Dar es Salaam. Minister of Works, Transport and Communications, Makame Mbarawa, said the chronic traffic congestion forced the government to come up with plans that included construction of roads and bridges in order to reduce, if not eliminate, the challenge.

Republic of Korea Ambassador to Tanzania, Kim Sun Pyo, said the project will stand as a symbol of success and cooperation between the two countries.

The bridge makes a bold addition to the skyline of Dar es Salaam, and has drawn praise from many. “Magnificent Tanzanite Bridge amazes city dwellers,” read the headline in the Daily News.

A motorcyclist, Richard Waniga told the same paper that he rode all the way from Kigamboni to witness the opening of the bridge. “I reside in Kigamboni; I just came to see the new bridge across the Indian Ocean… it is attractive, I commend the government for completing this project.”

Media commentator, Maggid Mjengwa, posted on Facebook that he was definitely the first person to cross the new bridge by bicycle.

Writing in The Citizen, commentator Charles Makakala offered praise for the bridge’s design. It is “an iconic structure,” he wrote, and “a work of beauty merging contemporary engineering with superb aesthetics.” He also noted that it is “expected to be popular with tourists too, who may wish to pass through and take memorable photos of their stay in the city.”

Nevertheless, Makakala also questioned the rationale behind the bridge. He argues that the money would have been better spent widen­ing Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road by building a second bridge alongside the existing Selander Bridge – that this would have been considerably cheaper. He adds that a bridge further upstream, connecting Kinondoni Hananasif and East Upanga near Muhimbili National Hospital, would have made more sense. And indeed he questions whether the continu­ous expansion of Dar es Salaam road networks should be top priority, when improvements to public transport services desperately need investment and when the government is in the process of relocating to Dodoma.

He concludes that we would be wise “to follow the money”. In particu­lar, he notes that the bridge will significantly raise the value and use of land in Msasani.

Agreement signed on Burundi rail link
In January, the governments of Tanzania and Burundi signed an agree­ment to construct a standard gauge railway between Uvinza in Kigoma to Burundi’s town of Gitega. The 282km line is expected to cost USD $900m. Finance and transport ministers from the two countries signed the deal in Kigoma.

On the part of Tanzania, the project would involve connecting Uvinza-Malagarasi railway section (156km) whereas Burundi would start from Malagarasi to Musongati-Gitega (126km). Finance and Planning Minister Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said the project would lead to opening business opportunities not only between the two countries, but also for other neighbouring nations. He said the two governments have begun to look for sources of funds to finance the project.

Burundian Minister for infrastructures, Works and Settlements, Dr Deogratius Nsanganiyumwami, said the railway will help to transport over three million tonnes of minerals from Burundi and one million tonne of other cargo, a move which would help stimulate industrial growth, agriculture and economy at large.

Commentators applauded the agreement, arguing that the railway will play a major role in integrating markets and increasing trade, not only across Tanzania and Burundi but also beyond, and that this would help to unlock economic potential in these two nations.

Transportation expert, Prof Zacharia Mganilwa of the National Institute of Transport, noted that the agreement would mean that Burundian cargo from/to Dar es Salaam Port would be transported directly to or from the port by railway. “This helps to avoid cargo double handling which increases transport costs, something that goes further to increase prices of goods and services,” he explained. He added that transporting cargo via railway was also cheaper than road, a situation which would also contribute to decreasing transport costs.

Meanwhile, work continues on construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) connecting Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma, Tabora, Mwanza and Kigoma. The government expects a passenger service to begin operating between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro later in 2022. Work is also underway on other sections of the track, along with efforts to improve connectivity between the railway and the port at Dar es Salaam.


by Donovan McGrath

War in Ukraine: Why Vladimir Putin couldn’t have trained fighters in Africa

Image falsely claimed to show Putin

(BBC online – UK) A black and white image which some people falsely claim shows Russian President Vladimir Putin training liberation movements in southern Africa, has been circulating. Extract continues: It has been used by some to justify why African countries should support Russia in the war in Ukraine… The photograph was widely shared online after it was posted in Zimbabwean blogs at the end of 2018. The posts claimed it shows Mr Putin in a Tanzanian military training camp for southern African independence movements in 1973… “Putin stayed in Tanzania training freedom fighters for four years from 1973 to 1977,” the blogs also claim. However, there is no evidence either from Russian or African records of Mr Putin, who was born in 1952, having been to the continent during the 1970s. Mr Putin’s profile on the Kremlin website show that he was studying at the Leningrad State University at the time, and graduated in 1975. Also outside training offered to Mozambican freedom fighters in camps in Tanzania was largely conducted by Chinese instructors, not Soviet ones… Although the man pictured is thought to be a Soviet official, so far no-one has been able to confirm his actual identity… (15 March 2022)

Tanzania’s Zanzibar Island Helps Ukrainians Stranded by Russia’s Invasion
(VoA news online – USA) Extract: Zanzibar’s President Hussein Mwinyi on Monday said they were helping about 900 Ukrainians who were there on vacation when Russia invaded their country … Authorities said the Ukrainians are not able to safely return home but cannot stay on the Tanzanian island as local media reported they are running out of money. In comments sent to the press, Mwinyi said they have initiated talks with hotel owners on how they can help these people. He said they will help the Ukrainians until their government is ready to come to their assistance… Officials with the Ukrainian Embassy in Kenya said, “Zanzibar is a pretty popular tourism destination for Ukrainian nationals, so it was clear that there would be an issue. We contacted the tour operators who sent the tourists to Zanzibar. We realize that we have about 1,000 people – we got in touch with Zanzibar to see the possible measures and possible ways how the Tanzanian government can cooperate with the Zanzibars to protect our nationals.” … Zanzibar’s tourism ministry says the country received more than 2,300 Ukrainian tourists and more than 18,000 Russian tourists in 2020… Tanzania … [has] ordered its few hundred citizens living in Ukraine to leave the country. (1 March 2022)

International students trapped in Ukraine appeal for urgent evacuation
(Guardian online – UK) Extract: International students trapped in a Ukrainian town near the Russian border have made desperate appeals for evacuation, as the number thought to be stranded in Sumy has risen to between 1,200 and 1,500, and they are running out of basic supplies… [l]t emerged that 500 foreign students were stuck in the city, including almost 400 Nigerians, three Irish students and pupils from Rwanda, Lebanon and Tanzania… (4 March 2022)

Landmine-hunting hero rat dies in Cambodia after stellar career
(Guardian online – UK) Extract: A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000 square metres of land – the equivalent of 42 football pitches – over the course of his career… Magawa was the first rat to receive a medal from British veterinary charity PDSA in the 77 years of the awards, joining an illustrious band of brave canines, felines – and even a pigeon… (12 January 2022)

9 million children to be vaccinated against polio in Africa
(Washington Post online – USA) Extract: … The urgent vaccination campaign has started in Malawi where drops of the inoculation are being placed in the mouths of children across the country, including in the capital, Lilongwe, and the country’s largest city, Blantyre. The vaccination campaign will be expanded … to include the neighbouring countries of Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, according to UNICEF which is working with the governments and other partners… In Tanzania, UNICEF has trained more than 2,000 health workers, 5,128 social mobilizers and 538 town criers, and facilitated the procurement of 3,000 vaccine carriers and 360 cold boxes, expected to be delivered in April 2022 for use in the upcoming rounds of campaigns… (22 March 2022)

U.S. will ‘surge’ vaccine support to 11 African countries
(Washington Post online – USA) The initiative aims to protect Americans and the world from new coronavirus variants. Extract continues: The Biden administration will “surge” more that $250 million in coronavirus vaccine assistance to 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including several where the omicron variant was first identified, as it ramps up efforts to help vaccinate the world, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post and confirmed by global health officials… According to a Global VAX initiative “field guide” shared with diplomatic contacts, the United States will prioritize countries in sub-Saharan Africa – starting with Angola, Cote d’lvoire, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia -to “receive intensive support” for their vaccination campaigns through in-person staffing, technical assistance and more diplomatic engagement. Those countries have generally vaccinated fewer than 40 percent of their populations against coronavirus, according to the Our World in Data tracking project at the University of Oxford … (17 February 2022)

A jaw-some find! Scientists discover the fossilised remains of a new species of ‘crocodile-like beast’ that roamed what is now Tanzania 240 million years ago – and had ‘powerful jaws with knife-like teeth’
(Daily Mail online – UK) Extract: … Palaeontologists at the University of Birmingham said the beast, or ‘Mambawakale ruhuhu’, would have reached more than 16 feet long. Its newly-assigned name means ‘ancient crocodile from the Ruhuhu Basin’ in Kiswahili, one of the two official languages of the East African region… Stalking ancient Tanzania, M. ruhuhu ‘would have been a very large and pretty terrifying predator,’ Professor Butler said. Walking on all fours and sporting a long tail, he added, this archosaur is ‘one of the largest predators that we know from the Middle Triassic.’ The fossils were first unearthed from the Ruhuhu Basin back in 1963 – just two years after Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika) gained independence from Britain – as part of a joint British Museum (Natural History) – University of London expedition. The type of specimen comprised a 2.5-foot-long skull with a lower jawbone and a largely complete left hand. It was located and recovered with the aid of Tanzanian and Zambian individuals who went unnamed in associated field reports… [l]n using words from Kiswahili – honours ‘the substantial and previously unsung contributions of unnamed Tanzanians to the success of the 1963 expedition.’ … (10 February 2022)

Tanzania revives stone arch bridge construction for river crossings

Stone arch construction in Kigoma region –

(New Civil Engineer online- UK) Extract: It is common for residents of the Kigoma region in north west Tanzania to make dangerous crossings of rivers to reach workplaces, schools, hospitals and markets during the rainy season. But for many, such journeys will soon no longer be necessary as a result of a new bridge construction programme. Removing the inherent risks involved in crossing rivers could also bring global benefits. Safe year-round river crossings are being delivered with the construction of 70 stone arch bridges, as part of Belgian development agency Enabel’s Sustainable Agriculture Kigoma Region Project (SAKiRP). [C]o-funded by the Belgian and Tanzanian governments… The aim of the project, launched in 2016, is to upgrade agriculture value chains but it also resulted in a new approach to bridge construction… “One of the interventions in the value chain is to improve the access to markets for smallholder farmers and that’s where the bridges come in,” says Enabel junior expert rural infrastructure Willem van der Voort. In a country where reinforced concrete bridges are the most common form of river crossing, a decision to construct stone arch ones is unconventional. Enabel opted for this bridge type because of experience gained in Congo and Uganda in its previous incarnation as the Belgian Technical Cooperation. Projects in those countries showed that stone arch bridges are cost efficient, allowing for more to be built with available budgets. Tanzania’s stone arch bridge construction programme started in early 2018 and already 44 have been completed. There has been no shortage of expertise among local engineers and craftsmen, thanks to a detailed construction manual compiled by Enabel… (25 February 2022)

Internet blimps are coming to Zanzibar. But can a UK company succeed where Google failed?
(CNN online – USA) Extract: The Tanzanian islands of Zanzibar and Pemba are about to become a test site for a mobile internet network its creators hope will not just revolutionize lives there, but possibly across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Only around 20% of Tanzanians use the internet, according to the World Bank. That’s low, even for sub-Saharan Africa where usage is affected by limited internet coverage and compounded by high data costs and low digital literacy. However, change will soon be written in the sky… UK company World Mobile is launching a hybrid network using aerostats- blimp-like tethered balloons that it says will provide near-blanket coverage across the islands. Two solar-powered, helium-filled balloons will float 300 meters (984 feet) above land and have a broadcast range of around 70km (44 miles) apiece, using 3G and 4G frequencies to deliver their signal… “We get the sharing economy right in Zanzibar, we prove that at scale in Kenya and Tanzania, and then the rest of the world is ours,” [World Mobile CEO Micky Watkins] says. (12 January 2022)


by Martin Walsh

DOCUMENTING DEATH: MATERNAL MORTALITY AND THE ETHICS OF CARE IN TANZANIA. Adrienne E. Strong. University of California Press, Oakland, California, 2020. xx + 247 pp. ISBN 978-0-520-31070-4 (paperback). £27.00. eBook free to download in different formats at
FACTORS INFLUENCING CHILD SURVIVAL IN TANZANIA: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF DIVERSE DEPRIVED RURAL VILLAGES. Kumiko Sakamoto. Springer Nature Singapore, Singapore, 2020. xiii + 201 pp. ISBN 978-981-13-7638-2 (hardback). £89.99. ISBN 978-981-13-7639-9 (eBook). £71.50.

The first of these books starts with an engaging story about Paulina, the ideal, healthy, well-prepared mother-to-be. At this point, I remembered the title of the book and began to feel a sense of foreboding for Paulina, who of course did not survive the birth of her child. Her experience, and that of several others, forms a thread which runs through the book, and is referred to on several more occasions when highlighting reasons why mothers (and babies) might die in childbirth.

It all vividly brings to mind Hilda, the woman who helped in my house when I lived in Tanzania. She was a practical, intelligent woman, efficient and lovely with my kids, and she already had two of her own children. When she became pregnant, we made sure she went to all her appointments and ate good food, and we looked forward to meeting the new baby. Imagine our shock when we received the news that she had died in childbirth, along with her child. No-one seemed to be able to answer our questions about what had happened, but Documenting Death certainly sheds much light on the complexity of issues which may have contributed to her death.

Documenting Death is a fascinating and often horrifying account of the maternity ward in Mawingu Regional Hospital in Rukwa Region, a remote rural area in the far south-west of Tanzania, famed for its association with witchcraft. Adrienne E. Strong is an anthropologist from the University of Florida who spent twenty months studying the practices and dynamics of the maternity ward, in the process building strong relationships with the main players in the health sector and, due to chronic understaffing, also working on the ward, even delivering babies in the end (“But I don’t know how to deliver a baby!”, she protests. “Well, I’m going to teach you and then you will know!”, replies the nurse firmly.)

The book begins with an overview of maternal mortality and laments the lack of progress in reducing the death rate after numerous interventions. Strong points out that maternal death is a particularly sensitive indicator – most women are not ill when they come to the hospital – which clearly reveals deficiencies in the health system. She describes the hospital, the staff and the way it functions. This leads on to a detailed examination of scarcity – money, medicines and other supplies, and staff, especially nurses, – the impossible demands made on too few nurses with too few supplies which leads to low morale and motivation. She worked with the nurses for a year before starting to interview them, so that they were already familiar with her and this led to rich and frank discussions later. A whole chapter is devoted to stillbirths, a much more common occurrence than maternal mortality, but occurring as a result of many of the same factors.

There is a deep analysis of the documentation, often imposed on maternity wards from the government or the WHO. In theory, the form (partograph) to be filled in for the women should document the entire journey of each woman through the hospital, ensuring that every nurse instantly understands the progress of the birth, particularly at handover times between shifts, and any special medical issues. However, myriad deviations may occur – the nurse is in a hurry and doesn’t fill in the form, or vital information is missing, the form is misplaced, the right person does not receive the form, the form is altered perhaps in order to cover a mistake, the form disappears without trace, all meaning that the power of this simple tool is repeatedly undermined. There are many complex reasons examined as to why any of these situations may happen, but the end result can often be tragedy.

Poor communication is another factor which repeatedly comes up – for example, audit meetings were held to discuss any problems, particularly deaths, but they were infrequent, the details had often already been forgotten, the documents were unavailable, and so conclusions were often not drawn. In addition, the nurses, at the forefront of the action were not invited to the audit meetings and therefore were neither given the opportunity to contribute their ideas, nor provided with feedback which might improve their work, and by being excluded, they were denied both a voice and the personal affirmation that their opinions, knowledge and experience were of any value, leading in turn to low morale.

Later in the book, Strong steps out of the hospital into the surrounding villages – the chapter is entitled ‘Pregnancy is Poison’ – and tracks the road to maternal death, following the example of another woman, Pieta, and laying bare the complexities of local logic where reproduction is concerned. A range of social and practical issues is described, including women’s experiences of local dispensary service, bridewealth, marriage and decision making, the lack of transport and the dismal quality of village roads.

On the surface, it might appear that nurses are largely to blame for poor health care in Tanzanian hospitals, but this book provides a deep and detailed analysis of the multitude of complex reasons – social, educational, financial, professional, cultural – why things turn out as they do, and the blame must be apportioned to many. “Mawingu itself was a flawed institution, struggling with competing demands and the proliferation of government-imposed bureaucratic guidelines, but it found itself in a much more broadly dysfunctional system, the country’s health care sector as a whole” (p.192), explains Strong. At best, she comments, the care is “good enough to keep most women alive”.

At the end of the book, Strong cries out with grief and frustration for the injustice of those maternal deaths and for the overworked staff: “Sending ever-increasing numbers of women to facilities will do nothing to reduce the numbers of women dying when those facilities are poorly stocked, suffer from supply chain problems originating at the national level, have inadequate funding mechanisms due to the unequal effects of decentralization, and systematically perpetrate violence against the staff members by keeping them living in poverty, subject to abuse by superiors, denigrated on the basis of their gender, and shut out from crucial information because of poor communication, lack of transparency, and lack of respect. After all, without the supplies and skills, a hospital is just a guesthouse—full of beds and nothing else; as an environment for giving birth, it is, essentially, no better than home” (p. 202). This book is an eye-opener for anyone interested in the most basic of human experiences, childbirth, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wonders why development assistance often stalls, or does not produce the desired results. It is open source, freely available on the internet.

Strong’s book about maternal mortality contrasts in style with the second book, Factors Influencing Child Survival in Tanzania. Kumiko Sakamoto explains that there is much information about direct causes of child mortality, but she is interested in examining more indirect causes, for example, stemming from social structures and mutual assistance. She took a questionnaire to three different and contrasting villages in Tanzania, in Dodoma and Lindi regions and on Zanzibar, all considered to be areas with high child mortality rates. She presents an analysis of factors influencing child mortality in general and in terms of the different regions, and then turns to the individual villages. The statistical work is documented in detail, and cross-tabulation, correlation analysis, and logistic regression models are used to understand the influencing factors in child survival.

Unfortunately, the findings are not conclusive, and the author struggles to draw meaningful results from the study. Quantitative research is only as good as its questionnaire, and Sakamoto admits there were some deficiencies, for example, several Swahili words were misunderstood, therefore not eliciting the response she was hoping for, and she felt that one of the interviewers may have been biased, producing unreliable results. The questionnaire also didn’t take into account regional differences – it was one size fits all, and the research suffered as a result, for example, I was surprised that under the questions about nutrition, there were none about fish in coastal Lindi nor milk in the pastoralist village. However, the volume includes useful summaries of previous research into child survival and an overview of factors influencing child mortality in Tanzania.
Kate Forrester

Kate Forrester lived in Tanzania for 15 years, working as a freelance consultant chiefly in social development. She carried out research assignments throughout the country, several focusing on the health sector. She now lives in Dorchester, where she is active in community and environmental work.

PORINI – IN THE WILDERNESS. Bill Harvey (edited by Rolf D. Baldus). Privately published in a limited edition signed by the editor, 2022. 270 pp., 53 photos and paintings, 6 maps (hardback). Available from rolfbaldus’@’ £30.00 + £7.00 postage to the UK.

My former colleague Rolf Baldus has edited and self-published this book, which was written by Bill Harvey, the first warden of the Selous Game Reserve. Porini means ‘in the bush’, and the wild place of the book’s title is the Selous, the oldest and until recently largest protected area in Africa.

In 2005, while he was working for the Tanzanian Wildlife Division, Rolf Baldus was contacted by Bill Harvey’s son in Australia. Perry Harvey gave him a manuscript that had been written by his late father, who had worked in southern Tanganyika and the Selous in the 1920s and ’30s. Bill had written down his memories of that time while later being held captive as a Japanese prisoner of war. Perry had edited his father’s notes and records with the help of his wife and daughters, but unfortunately the family had not been successful in getting the manuscript published as a book. Instead, they had themselves produced a dozen copies.

Rolf Baldus was involved with the management of the Selous Game Reserve for many years. He has written a good number of articles about the Selous ecosystem, and edited the book Wild Heart of Africa (2009), a compilation of historical anecdotes and the natural history of the Selous, to which I also contributed. The Harvey family asked him if he could make the manuscript available to the interested public. All he could do at the time to honour their request was to upload it to his website,

The Selous Game Reserve was established by the German colonial administration in 1896, making it the first modern protected area in Africa that still exists today. The British colonial government retained it after the First World War and gazetted it officially in 1928. They called it ‘Selous’ in memory of the great hunter and naturalist Frederick Courteney Selous (1851-1917) who was killed in combat at Beho Beho in January 1917. Bill Harvey was the first warden of the Selous Game Reserve and surrounding ecosystem from 1928 until he handed it over to Constantine Ionides in 1938, who was succeeded in turn by Brian Nicholson in 1954. Ionides narrated his life’s adventures in A Hunter’s Story (1965) and Nicholson did the same in his book The Last of Old Africa (2001).

Harvey’s book is not only an important document on the history of Africa’s oldest game reserve, but it is also very entertaining. It is full of adventure and deserves to be preserved in printed form, to keep alive the memory of this naturalist, who describes an otherwise forgotten period in the early history of the reserve.

Baldus has edited the text where necessary but thought it important to retain Harvey’s style and the spirit in which it was written. Harvey worked in colonial times, and this is reflected, for example, in his use of the word ‘native’ in a way which would now be considered politically incorrect. However, it has been left in the text to preserve its authenticity.

Harvey tells us hair-raising stories about his adventures in problem animal control, especially with elephants. He also writes also about the management challenges he and his colleagues were facing. During the Depression in 1931, “staff had been reduced to a mere skeleton”, and he had to devise means to manage the huge area under his charge with meagre resources. Like all wardens he complains about senseless office work and bureaucracy. Only when porini, on anti-poaching and animal control safaris does he find himself truly of use. He names ‘cultivation protection’ as the most difficult part of his job: elephants and hippos being the main problem. In addition, carnivores like crocodiles and lions preyed on the local population. His stories also include tales of witchcraft and the role it played in hunting down maneaters.

Since Harvey’s days, the Selous has undergone many changes, both positive and negative. Ionides and Nicholson expanded it and turned it into one of Africa’s elephant havens and a jewel of conservation. But during the 1970s and most of the 1980s it was run down by bad management and corruption.

Under the German co-funded Selous Conservation Programme, we were able to stop the elephant massacre, secure the cooperation and participation of communities around the Selous, and get the reserve going again with sustainable finance from controlled hunting and tourism under full Tanzanian management. Our colleagues Gerald Bigurube and Benson Kibonde should be mentioned here as worthy successors of Harvey, Ionides and Nicholson. If one takes the number of elephants as a measurable indicator, these pachyderms recovered during our working years from around 30,000 in the mid-1980s to well over 70,000 when Baldus left at the end of 2005.

Unfortunately, at that time the self-financing system of the reserve was done away with by the wildlife authorities and poaching was once again facilitated. In the years that followed elephant numbers dropped to 13,000 by 2013.

In 2014 UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission listed the Selous as a “World Heritage Site in danger” due to excessive poaching and planned large-scale projects such as mining and dam construction. Despite this, the government of the late President Magufuli commissioned a large hydroelectric dam at Stiegler’s Gorge in the heart of the Selous. Experts fear that this will turn out to be another ‘white elephant’, and that the heart of the Selous along the Rufiji River, with its lakes, wetlands and once abundant wildlife is being destroyed forever. A move by the World Heritage Committee to strike the Selous from the World Heritage Site List was defeated, because Tanzania was able to convince enough like-minded countries to vote against it. This happened despite clear violations of the World Heritage Site principles that the country has committed to, thus setting a bad precedent for the future.

Other infrastructural projects and surveys for minerals are ongoing, and it is apparent that the economic exploitation and fragmentation of the Selous is being officially sanctioned, with little respect for wildlife. Moreover, the Selous has been split into a reserve and a national park – an action that was taken without proper planning or following the usual legal procedures. Most of the new Nyerere National Park is unsuitable for photographic tourism, and it will likely become an additional financial burden for the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), while depriving the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) of essential income from sustainable hunting tourism.

Bill Harvey’s account of the early days is a good match for all those great publications in which game wardens of the past tell their exciting stories, such as Miles Turner on his Serengeti years, Bruce Kinloch on his time in Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika, Michael Bromwich about the National Parks and wildlife management in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, Iain Ross on Uganda’s Kidepo, and – perhaps the most entertaining of them all – Ian Parker and Stan Bleazard’s An Impossible Dream (2001), about Kenya’s last colonial wardens.

These books open up windows onto a bygone era and the lives of the custodians of game who not only achieved much for conservation under the most difficult conditions, but also enjoyed the freedom of the bush and the joy of nearly unlimited hunting as part of their job description. As Ian Parker wrote, “Our Game Department days were great fun, we led lives that, with good reason, were widely envied and, for a while at least, we were indeed the Heaven-born”.
Ludwig Siege

Dr Ludwig Siege is an economist who joined the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in 1980 and worked there in various capacities until his retirement in 2016. His first assignment in Tanzania was in 1983-85. After working in Zambia and Eschborn in Germany, he returned to Tanzania at the end of 1993 to take over the Selous support programme from Rolf Baldus. He left when the programme came to its end in December 2003, and subsequently worked as head of conservation programmes in Madagascar and Ethiopia.

Also noticed:
I REMEMBER AFRICA: A FIELD BIOLOGIST’S HALF-CENTURY PERSPECTIVE. Thomas Struhsaker. BookBaby, Pennsauken, New Jersey, 2021. 604 pp., 110 photos (paperback). ISBN 9781667805955. US$32.99.
Readers familiar with research on Tanzania’s wildlife are most likely to have come across Tom Struhsaker’s work on different species of red colobus, especially the Udzungwa red colobus (Piliocolobus gordonorum) and the Zanzibar red colobus (Piliocolobus kirkii). Now he’s written a full-length account of his half century in Africa. Here’s the publisher’s overview (from, with thanks to Guy Norton):

I Remember Africa is a memoir based on the author’s wildlife research and conservation efforts in Africa spanning 56 years (1962-2018). It describes some of the challenges scientists and conservationists faced in the early days of field research on primates and other wildlife in Africa. The stories range from the savannas of East Africa to the rain forests of Central and West Africa. The Kibale Forest in Uganda was the author’s home for 18 years (1970-1988) during the reign of vicious dictatorships, genocides, civil wars, and economic collapse. The author describes how he, his colleagues, and students managed to continue with their research and conservation efforts in Uganda, despite these adversities. Their efforts, along with many others, eventually led to the creation of The Makerere University Biological Field Station and The Kibale National Park. The stories relate humorous and uplifting experiences, set in the context of very dark times. The author also describes the behavior of the primates and other creatures he shared the forest with. This memoir tracks some of the many changes that have transpired in Africa over the past half-century.”
Martin Walsh


by Ben Taylor

John Sankey
Former British High Commissioner to Tanzania, John Sankey, died in November 2021 at the age of 91.
He was appointed to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) in 1983, while serving as High Commissioner in Tanzania.

Born in 1930 in London, in a Catholic family, John attended Cardinal Vaughan School before winning a scholarship to Peterhouse at Cambridge University, where he studied classics and graduated with first class honours.

He did national service with the Royal Artillery, seeing active service Malaya in 1952, before joining the Colonial Office a year later. In 1961 he was posted to the United Nations in New York, then in 1964 he transferred to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He served in Guyana, Singapore, Malta and the Netherlands, before returning to London in 1979 to become the first head of the newly formed Central African Department.

Between 1982 and 1985, John served as British High Commissioner in Tanzania, a posting that overlapped with the handover of power from President Julius Nyerere to President Ali Hassan Mwinyi. While in the role, John fought hard to ensure British aid spending was maintained despite the political and economic differences between Tanzania and the British Conservative government under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – most notably by ensuring the British-funded road from Makambako to Songea was not simply abandoned halfway, as had been proposed.

In 1985, John took up a new post as UK Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, his final position before retiring in 1990.

“Retirement” however, for John, merely meant the start of a new career. He took up historical research, having become fascinated by the life and work of Sir Thomas Brock, sculptor of the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace. He earned a PhD from the University of Leeds, and then published a book, Thomas Brock, Forgotten Sculptor of the Victoria Memorial (2012). In 1990, John was appointed secretary general of the Society of London Art Dealers and later became a director of the Art Loss Register.

In retirement, John was also an active member of the Britain-Tanzania Society, including contributing to the publication of Tanzanian Affairs. He finally stepped down as proof-reader in 2013.

John is survived by his wife of 54 years, Gwen, their four children and eight grandchildren.

Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela

Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela

Highly respected Tanzanian scientist, Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela, died in Geneva in February at the age of 58. She had revealed in 2019 that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Dr Mwele was serving as the World Health Organisation’s director of the Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Born in 1963, daughter of the future Prime Minister John Malecela, she graduated in Zoology at the University of Dar es Salaam, and went on to join the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in 1987, where she worked at the Amani Centre to conduct research on lymphatic filariasis. Between 1990 and 1995 she pursued further studies in London where she attained a masters and PhD at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

She held numerous leadership roles in Tanzania, including as Director of Research Coordination and Promotion (DRCP) at NIMR from 1998 and then the Director of the Lymphatic Filariasis program from 2000. She further climbed the leadership ladder and in 2010 was appointed NIMR’s Director General – the first woman to hold this prominent position.

In 2016 in this role, she found herself in conflict with President Magufuli. She reported the presence of the Zika virus in Morogoro, at a time when the virus was causing alarm in Brazil and elsewhere. The President fired her immediately, explaining much later that “The imperialists had sent her to announce we have the disease so that tourists would not come to our country. Then they gave her a job [at the WHO].”

Dr Malecela’s unceremonious exit from NIMR was seen by researchers as an attack on science, and it was something talked about each time her name came up. Some also argued that the dispute stemmed from her unsuccessful attempt to become the CCM Presidential candidate in 2015, running against the future President Magufuli.

Shortly after this incident, in 2017, Dr Malecela joined WHO’s Regional Office for Africa as Director in the Office of the Regional Director. 18 months later, she was appointed by WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to her defining role as Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, based at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

In 2021, she was awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of Science by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. On the occasion, Professor Mark Taylor described Dr Mwele as “a truly inspirational figure in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases, and a proud daughter of Tanzania.”
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine posted a statement, describing Dr Malecela as “an eloquent and passionate speaker, her approach was characterised also by strict adherence to honesty and integrity on behalf of the people and causes in which she believed. She preferred the truth over seeking to please and this earned her widespread respect.”
The statement also spoke of Dr Malecela’s position as an African woman in the predominantly male field of science. “She consistently broke through glass ceilings and remained conscious of the role she had to play in empowering and mentoring the generations of women who will follow her. Always generous with her time, her energy and her wisdom, she encouraged and inspired younger people from around the world to see science, in the service of global health, as viable and vital avenues for their talents.”

A WHO statement said that “Dr Malecela will be remembered as an inspirational figure, a dedicated leader and a committed listener. She deployed her many qualities in the service of ideals, all of which were firmly rooted in community service and in the intrinsic value of people’s lives. Her death will be felt deeply and personally by many across the globe, and her inspiration, enthusiasm and unstinting engagement will continue to serve as a guide to all those who knew her.”

President Samia Suluhu Hassan called upon Tanzanians to emulate Dr Mwele Malecela’s efforts as demonstrated both within and outside the country. “She is a great role model for public servants and Tanzanians in general as she worked for many years, held various positions and her ability to work found her rising to become one of the Tanzanians who have worked abroad holding high positions,” said the President.

She added that Dr Mwele’s death “has caused a great loss to nation, and surely she was an important and hardworking woman.”