CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

by Ben Taylor

January to March 2021

The early months of 2021 saw rising alarm in Tanzania over a possible new wave of Coronavirus infection, with anecdotal evidence from hospitals and other sources across the country suggesting a rise in case numbers. Nevertheless, throughout January the government continued to insist that the country had defeated the pandemic. No new data on case numbers or fatalities was reported (as has been the case now for over 12 months).

And more significantly, the government signalled that it had no intention of participating in COVAX, the international effort to supply Coronavirus vaccines to developing countries. On February 1st, the Minister of Health, Social Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, said the government had no plans of procuring the Covid -19 vaccine which is already in use in other countries, and Tanzania was conspicuous by its absence from the initial COVAX distribution list, published on February 3rd. It was (and remains) unclear whether the country would even license the vaccines, which would allow private hospitals to import the vaccine and individual citizens to get vaccinated.

“The ministry has its own procedure on how to receive any medicines and we do so after we have satisfied ourselves with the product,” said the Minister. This came a week after President Magufuli warned the ministry of the danger of foreign vaccines, doubting their effectiveness and saying they came with ulterior motives.

Instead, the ministry encouraged people to take other precautions against “viral infections”, without specifically mentioning Covid-19: “We must improve our personal hygiene, wash hands with running water and soap, use handkerchiefs, herbal steam, exercise, eat nutritious food, drink plenty of water, and natural remedies that our nation is endowed with because we have quite many of these natural remedies, ”said Dr Gwajima. “Through the Chief Government Chemist, the Ministry has been working to inspect a number of natural remedies that have met the safety standards for use, are already in use and they have helped Tanzanians, including me and my family.”

A few weeks into February, however, there were signs that the government was edging towards an acceptance that the virus was still present and causing serious problems, perhaps pressed to do so by the growing weight of evidence.

The illness of the Vice President of Zanzibar, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, who was admitted to hospital with respiratory problems on January 31st after testing positive for Covid-19, and passed away on February 17th (see obituaries section), made the true situation harder to deny. On February 11th, an MP from the ruling CCM party, Zacharia Isaay, spoke in parliament to express concerns at the alarming number of “pneumonia” patients in his constituency – concerns that were echoed by other MPs.

Around the same time, several other prominent figures passed away, all with symptoms consistent with the Coronavirus. This includes Prof. Benno Ndulu, former Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, and the Chief Secretary, Amb. John Kijazi (see obituaries section). Tanzania Episcopal Conference (the Roman Catholic church in Tanzania) reported that more than 25 priests, 60 sisters and two elders of the laity had died within the past two months of various causes including respiratory challenges.

On February 20th, amid claims of a worrying rise in cases and deaths attributable to the pandemic, the government announced measures to contain the spread of the virus. In contrast to its previous stance, the government now asked Tanzanians to adopt preventive measures: prayer, handwashing, sanitisers, face masks, physical exercise, shielding for the vulnerable, improved diets and traditional remedies, but no lockdown measures.

The same day, President John Magufuli told worshipers at the Roman Catholic St Peter’s Parish in Dar es Salaam that Tanzanians should take precautions against the Coronavirus. He stated that the government hasn’t prohibited the use of face masks in the war against Covid-19, but stressed however that locally made masks – especially those from the Medical Stores Department (MSD) – should be used rather than imported masks. And he advised people to adopt traditional methods of containing respiratory diseases, including steam treatment, and to avoid fear which can itself have negative impacts. He reiterated that Tanzanians must continue to put their trust in God.

Also on the same day, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called upon Tanzania to take “robust action” to combat Covid-19. He noted that a number of Tanzanians travelling to neighbouring countries and beyond have tested positive for the coronavirus. “This underscores the need for Tanzania to take robust action both to safeguard their own people and protect the population beyond,” he said. “This situation remains very concerning. I renew my call for Tanzania to start reporting Covid-19 cases and share data.”

Two days later, on February 23rd, Minister Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, held a dramatic press conference from a lobby area within Benjamin William Mkapa Hospital in Dodoma, where he himself had been receiving treatment. Clearly exhausted, and coughing and crying as his spoke, he praised the hospital and its doctors for keeping him alive, and President Magufuli for his support. He spoke of having needed oxygen, but did not mention the Coronavirus by name.

By mid-March, however, events took a different turn. The possibility of President Magufuli changing course began to be overshadowed by the fact that he had not been seen in public since February 27th. Rumours around his own health began to grow.

Coronavirus update – April 2021
On April 6, President Samia Suluhu Hassan (see main article) announced what could be the start of an attempt to change the government’s stance on the pandemic. She stated her intention to form a committee of experts to professionally assess the state of the Covid-19 pandemic and advise the government on the way forward.

“We cannot isolate ourselves as if we are an island, but also we cannot accept everything brought to us. We cannot continue just reading about Covid-19 worldwide, but Tanzania is all blank – it makes no sense.”
Two weeks later, the President spoke at a national conference organised by religious leaders to remember ex-President John Magufuli and pray for the new leaders. She called on religious leaders to advise worshippers to take precautionary measures against the virus, and also reported that the committee of experts had been formed.

“I’m expecting to meet its members and representatives of the Ministry of Health and those from the Ministry of Finance and Planning in the near future in order to establish the way forward,” she said.

At the time of writing (April 27), the committee is yet to report, and no substantive change of policy has been introduced. There has been no new release of data on testing, for example, and no change in the country’s position regarding vaccines.

AGRICULTURE

by Ben Taylor

Kenya-Tanzania dispute over maize imports
In early March, the Government of Kenya announced a ban with immediate effect on the importation of maize from Tanzania and Uganda. The ban was lifted the following week, though not before causing considerable strain on diplomatic relations, and with exports subject to strict conditions.

On March 5th, the acting Director-General of Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority, Kello Harsama, directed that the imports should stop after a survey found that maize from the two countries is not fit for human consumption.

“The authority has been conducting surveillance on the safety of food imports into Kenya. The results from maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits,” she said in a letter to Kenya’s tax authorities.

Long queues of trucks were seen over the following days at the Namanga border post after the Kenya Revenue authority denied the trucks entry into Kenya.

Tanzania’s deputy minister of Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, said the Government of Tanzania is taking the ban of maize imports seriously. “We are closely monitoring the ban and I can assure business people and the general public that the government will continue to protect its interests,” he said.

Aflatoxins, the form of mycotoxin reportedly found in this case, are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain fungi and can be found on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs including cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits and coffee beans, often spread during storage and under warm and humid conditions. Aflatoxins are capable of causing disease including cancer.

Mr Bashe who was accompanied by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) director general, Yussuf Ngenya, said no official communication has been made to the country.

He said even in the event of one or two incidents the Kenyan government should not draw conclusions to the entire maize industry without involving a wide range of institutions that should communicate during challenges. He added that since Tanzania and Kenya are EAC members their differences should be resolved through procedures governing the regional body instead of tarnishing the image of Tanzania’s produce.

Kenyan millers also faulted the government over the blanket ban, arguing the move will have a serious implication on the price of flour. The processors argued that the government should have only intercepted the maize that has high-levels of aflatoxin and allowed those that meet the set standards to be imported.

By March 11th, the Kenyan government relaxed the ban, but instead introduced tough new restrictions on maize imports. All stakeholders dealing in maize imports into Kenya would be required to be registered, consignments must be accompanied with a certificate of conformity on toxin levels and that traders have to issue details of their warehouses. The certificate of conformity should indicate that the aflatoxin levels comply with the maximum required levels of 10 parts per billion.

“While we strive to give Kenya safe food by addressing the challenge in production system, we equally expect our trading partners to trade safe maize as per the East African Community (EAC) standards,” said Mr Angolo, Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary of Agriculture.

Locust alarm in Longido
Farmers and residents of Longido District, Arusha, were thrown into panic in February when their farms were invaded by locusts. The pests, which attacked crops with devastating effects , were first seen in Namanga on the Kenya-Tanzania border and later crossed over into Tanzania.

Longido District Commissioner Frank Mwaisumbe said the locusts spread to many parts of the district. He said he had already contacted regional officials and the agriculture ministry who had promised to send experts as soon as possible.

Longido resident Jeremiah Sanka said they were afraid of their crops being eaten by locusts. “We have sent people to the fields because by this time the maize has started to germinate so if eaten it will be such a huge loss” he said.

President Samia announces priority areas in agriculture
During her first State of the Nation address to parliament on April 22nd, 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced several priorities for her government in the areas of agriculture, fisheries and livestock.

She said the sector accounts for only 27% of GDP and 25% of foreign currency earnings despite the fact that 65 percent of Tanzanians are farmers.

“This is because of low productivity,” she said. “For instance, while some can produce eight tonnes [of maize] per hectare, Tanzania’s farmers produce only 1.9 tonnes per hectare. In the same vein, a Tanzanian cotton farmer produces 250 kilograms per acre instead of 1,000 to 1,250 per acre.”

She added that the same applies also to livestock, whereby the sector contributes only 7.4% of GDP, despite the fact that Tanzania has the second largest livestock population in Africa.” She said cows in Tanzania produce an average of three litres of milk per day instead of between 20 to 30 litres if modern livestock keeping methods are put in place, and that Tanzanian cattle produce only 150 kilograms of meat instead of between 500 and 600 kilograms in some countries.

To address this, the President pledged that the government will foster investment in improved varieties and livestock keeping technologies through funding research and extension services. “We will give them seeds, capital and allow them to keep producing on commercial basis. That will prevent us from importing seeds because such seeds will be available locally,” she said.

She also promised that irrigation will be given special impetus, pledging to increase the size of land for irrigation from 561,383 hectares to 1,200,000 hectares by 2025. She said this will enable the country to reduce its dependency on rain-fed agriculture, noting that farmers will be required to farm on a commercial basis and contribute towards costs of irrigation infrastructures.

ENERGY & MINERALS

by Ben Taylor

Note: we are seeking a new contributor to take over this section of Tanzanian Affairs. If you are interested, please contact the editor.

Tanzania-Uganda oil pipeline agreements signed
Uganda, Tanzania and the oil companies Total SE and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) signed three key agreements on April 11, 2021 in Uganda that pave the way for construction to start on the planned east African crude oil pipeline (EACOP). Both President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania were present to witness the signing of the agreements.

The 1,443km pipeline will transport crude oil from oil fields near Lake Albert in western Uganda to Chongoleani terminal in Tanga on the Tanzanian coast. From Lake Albert, the pipeline will head southwards, crossing into Tanzania near Bukoba and passing to the west of Lake Victoria before heading west to Tanga via Kahama, Singida and Kondoa. On completion, it is expected to be the world’s longest electrically heated pipeline. Uganda’s crude oil is highly viscous, so it must be heated to be kept liquid enough to flow.

Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive of the French oil giant Total, described this as a “momentous occasion in history … Expect the first oil tanker to dock at Tanga port in early 2025.”

The project is expected to cost at least USD $3.8bn, 80% of which will be spent in Tanzania. The full amount will be pooled through the EACOP holding company co-owned by the oil companies – Total E&P and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), and the governments of Uganda and Tanzania through their respective national oil companies, UNOC and TPDC. The transit tariff per barrel of crude oil going through the pipeline is to be capped at $12.77, after tax concessions were offered by the Tanzanian government.

President Museveni explained that he chose the date for signing the agreements as April 11th for sentimental reasons: to coincide with the toppling of former President Idi Amin by Ugandan rebel groups with the help of Tanzanian troops 42 years earlier on the same date. “So today is a triple victory for Uganda and Tanzania; militarily, politically, add economically,” he said. The event had been planned for March 22nd, but had been delayed out of respect for the late President Magufuli.
Environmental groups have expressed concern with the plans. A letter signed by 38 civil society organisations across both east African countries said the parties had failed to address environmental concerns over the pipeline and had steamrollered over court and parliamentary processes.

Diana Nabiruma, of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), told the (UK) Guardian newspaper: “It is concerning that major agreements are being signed and the companies are being given the go-ahead to award contracts and start developing the Lake Albert oil project. The projects pose major environmental risks. Resources, some shared with countries such as the DRC, Tanzania and Kenya, including Lake Albert as well as Lake Victoria and rivers, are at risk of oil pollution,” she said.

The #StopEACOP alliance campaign condemned the decision to build the pipeline, which it says will displace 12,000 families and would be a huge environmental risk at a time of climate emergency, when the world needs to move away from fossil fuels.

Vanessa Nakate, founder of the Rise Up climate movement in Uganda, said: “There is no reason for Total to engage in oil exploration and the construction of the east Africa crude oil pipeline because this means fuelling the destruction of the planet and worsening the already existing climate disasters in the most affected areas. There is no future in the fossil fuel industry and we cannot drink oil. We demand Total to rise up for the people and the planet,” she said.

David Pred, of Inclusive Development International, which supports communities to defend their rights against harmful corporate projects, said: “The oil companies are trying to dress up the investment decision signing ceremony, but fortunately this climate-destroying project is far from a done deal. Total and CNOOC still need to secure insurance and raise $2.5bn in debt financing for the EACOP to move forward and they are going to struggle mightily to find enough banks and insurance providers willing to associate themselves with such a project,” he claimed.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan commits to speed up LNG project
Among the many topics covered by the new President, she stressed the need to speed up the long-planned (and much-delayed) Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing plant on the southern Tanzania coast. The project cost is estimated at USD $30bn.

In two major speeches – on April 6 at a ceremony to swear-in new Permanent Secretaries and other officials, and April 22 in her maiden speech to parliament as President – she directed the Ministry of Energy to speed up the project by bringing in investors who are ready to start its implementation.

The LNG project has been stalled for some time now following the government’s decision to review Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs). Host Government Agreement (HGA) negotiations have been on and off, after they initially stopped in 2017 due to technicalities and resumed in 2018 only to stall again.

“We have been singing the LNG song for a very long time, I remember when I was sworn in as the Vice President I tried to work on it, but discovered it was beyond me and stopped,” she said. She stressed that it was time to understand who is in and who is out in the implementation of the project so that it can move forward. “We should do what we did when we decided to start construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and we all saw how they came back seeking to be put on board,” she said.

There are a number of complicating factors to deal with in kick-starting the project. In addition to maximising the benefits to local communities and national revenue, negotiations will be affected by global gas price projections and the security situation in northern Mozambique.

Barrick Gold CEO praises President Magufuli
The president and chief executive of Barrick Gold Corporation, Mark Bristow, said the company mourned with the people of Tanzania at the loss of President John Magufuli.

Bristow described the late president as “a visionary statesman” who saw the value of a thriving mining sector to his country’s economy. He praised the late President for partnering with Barrick in a joint venture, Twiga Minerals Corporation, to manage the company’s mines in Tanzania and to share the economic benefits they generated equally. Bristow said Twiga would stand as a monument to President Magufuli’s foresight and should serve as a model for future partnerships between governments and mining companies in Africa.

The joint venture came after several years of a strained relationship between the government of Tanzania and Acacia, a company majority owned by Barrick and operating gold mines in Tanzania. President Magufuli accused Acacia of “stealing” by failing to pay proper taxes and exporting more gold than declared, and slapped the company with a USD $190bn tax bill. Protracted negotiations led to a compromise with Barrick offering a goodwill gesture to Tanzania of $300m, and establishment of Twiga Minerals as a joint venture.

Anti-smuggling measures at Mererani Tanzanite Mines declared ineffective
President Samia Suluhu Hassan noted new tactics of smuggling Tanzanite at the Mererani mines in Simanjiro District, Manyara region, and demanded security reinforcement to curb the malpractice. Previously, President Magufuli had overseen the construction of a perimeter wall surrounding the mines in an effort to reduce loses.

In her speech at the State House in Dar es Salaam on April 6, she said smugglers have now resorted to digging underground channels through which they have been sneaking Tanzanite past the 24.5km perimeter wall. As a result, she said, the stones are escaping just as before. “We have TPDF (Tanzania People’s Defence Forces) soldiers protecting the mineral site yet Tanzanite finds its way out of the fortified place,” said the President. She expressed her dismay over the trend, calling on the Ministry of Minerals to further reinforce security despite a successful installation of 24-hour surveillance CCTV cameras on the perimeter wall.

TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Air Tanzania losses
The National Audit Office report presented to parliament in April 2021 reported that Air Tanzania Ltd (ATCL) recorded a loss of TSh 60bn for the financial year 2019-2020. The Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Charles Kichere noted also that the airline had been making losses annually for the past five years, adding up to a total loss over this time of over TSh 150bn. This is despite having received additional equipment in terms of aircrafts that were bought by the government to aid the company’s performance.

The period under review was one of the most difficult one in the aviation industry due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which forced most countries to go into lockdowns, and many airlines – includ­ing Air Tanzania – to suspend flights. Passenger numbers fell dra­matically worldwide. As an example of these challenges, in March, Air Tanzania suspended what should have been the airline’s maiden flight to Guangzhou, China. The airline cited Covid-19 control measures put in place by Chinese local authorities.

Since 2015, the government has purchased new eight aircraft consisting of two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, two Airbus A220-300 models and four Bombardiers Q400. These aircraft are leased by the government to ATCL. Partly as a result of the pandemic, these aircraft have been under­utilised, while the government continues to charge ATCL the full lease rate. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa announced that the government had completed payment for three further new aircraft, which were due to arrive in the financial year 2021-2022.

Analysts cautioned that profit-and-loss figures are not the only measure of an airline’s performance. Even without the Coronavirus pandemic, a new (or re-launched) airline should not expect to make a profit for sev­eral years, if at all, they noted. Aviation expert, Juma Fimbo, pointed out that the contribution made by national airlines to the national economy is more significant in terms of improved transport links fuelling other economic activities than the airline’s own profitability.

Ubungo flyover launched, named for Chief Secretary Kijazi
The newly constructed Ubungo road interchange was launched on February 24 by President Magufuli, who announced that it was to be called the ‘Kijazi Interchange’. This was in memory and recognition of John Kijazi, the former Chief Secretary (the country’s most senior civil servant), who died in February.

The interchange has three levels, at the intersections of Morogoro Road, Sam Nujoma Road and Nelson Mandela road, close to the Ubungo bus terminal for up-country bus connections. The middle section of the interchange, on Morogoro road, is 260m metres long and 8.9 meters high, while the top level is 700m long and 16.3m high. All three levels of the roads have six lanes.

ENERGY & MINERALS

by Roger Nellist

Tanzania’s gold earnings surge
According to the Bank of Tanzania the country earned US$2.72 billion from gold exports during the twelve months ending on 31 July 2020. It was an increase of almost $1 billion over the previous year. The 52% increase meant that gold exports overtook tourism receipts as Tanzania’s number one foreign exchange earner. The principal reason for the surge in gold earnings was the higher price of gold on world commodity markets, as investors switched to gold to counter economic uncertainty arising from the Covid pandemic. In July 2020, the average price of a troy ounce of gold reached $1,846, compared with $1,732 in June and $1,531 in May. The July 2020 gold price was the highest since September 2011.

Other recent gold news
In October 2020, the recently formed Twiga Minerals Corporation declared its first dividend, of $250 million. In accordance with the respective shareholdings, $40 million of it (about TSh 100 billion) was received by Tanzania, reflecting the government’s 16% free stake. Twiga is the joint venture gold mining company established between Barrick Gold and the Tanzanian government in January 2020, following the government’s protracted dispute with Barrick’s subsidiary, Acacia Mining. It operates the three gold mines at Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi.

In December 2020, five people in Mbeya region were suspended and arrested for allegedly smuggling 15.4 kilogrammes of gold worth TSh1.8 million. Three of the five were working at the Chunya Mineral Centre and were suspended by the Minerals Minister, Dotto Biteko. The other two were Police officers. The Director of Public Prosecutions announced that his office had acquired enough evidence to prosecute the five on six counts. Three of the five appeared in Court but the other two went missing.

LNG negotiations to resume
Just before Christmas the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) announced that it was hopeful that negotiations between Tanzania and foreign oil companies would resume in January 2021 for the Host Government Agreement (HGA) that will govern the establishment of the much-delayed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project at Lindi. The HGA is a crucial project agreement and the negotiation of it has been proceeding on and off for several years. Originally, it was expected to be concluded by September 2019. However, negotiations stalled when the many companies involved – Shell, Ophir, Pavilion, Equinor and ExxonMobil – supposedly could not agree amongst themselves on important aspects of the project. Then Tanzania decided to review and renegotiate some of the terms of the Production Sharing Agreements under which those companies hold exploration and development rights in the country. In December 2020 TPDC confirmed that it was still finalising the amounts of compensation to be paid to landholders in the Lindi region where the LNG plant will be sited. Once the HGA is concluded the investors will then be able to make a Final Investment Decision. The complex LNG project is likely to cost about US$30 billion.

The use and benefits of domestic gas
TPDC also announced that between July 2004 (when Songo Songo gas was first piped to Ubungo in Dar es Salaam) and the end of 2020, the use of domestic gas had saved the country $15.6 billion (TSh 36 trillion) – by displacing expensive imported fuels. $13.2 billion of the savings was attributable to the generation of electricity for the national grid and the remaining $2.4 billion was saved by industries that elected to use domestic gas directly rather than imported fuels. TPDC explained that 48 factories are fully using gas in their operations, as well as four institutions. Moreover, about 1,000 households in Dar and Mtwara are also now powered by gas. Additionally, a modest number of vehicles (about 400) are currently powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), the number being constrained by the costs of converting vehicles from petrol/diesel to CNG and by the lack of CNG refuelling stations. At the present time there is only one CNG station operating in Dar (at Ubungo). However, TPDC clarified in December that it is planning to build five more CNG stations – at Ubungo, Kibaha, the ferry/fish market, Muhimbili hospital and at the University.

In November 2020, TPDC’s Managing Director, James Matarajio, told a conference that TPDC plans to extend the use of gas by households in up-country areas like Morogoro, Dodoma, Mwanza and Tanga. He pointed to both environmental benefits and significant household energy cost savings arising from the use of domestic gas. Matarajio added that Tanzania has discovered sufficient gas resources to be able to export some to neighbouring countries after satisfying Tanzania’s domestic needs, including those of the LNG and perhaps other export-oriented projects too.

East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)
TPDC has confirmed that preparations are now well advanced for the construction of the Uganda–Tanzania East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), that will enable the oil discovered in Uganda in 2006 to be exported through Tanzania. The 898 miles long pipeline will link Uganda’s oil fields with an export terminal at the port of Tanga. About 80% of the pipeline will run through Tanzania. The project is expected to cost $3.5 billion and create more than 18,000 jobs for Tanzanians.
The two governments signed the overarching agreement for EACOP in September 2020, at a ceremony attended by Presidents Museveni and Magufuli. That was followed in October by signature of an agreement between the French oil giant, Total, and Tanzania. Total is the majority stakeholder in the Ugandan oil discoveries and is developing the pipeline project together with the China National Oil Company.

Map showing the proposed route of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) from Uganda to Tanga.

Possible fertiliser project
The Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority (PURA) which regulates the exploration, development and production of natural gas in Tanzania announced in mid-December 2020 that the planned $1.9 billion fertiliser project on the Mtwara coast is still on – but, significantly, the commercial terms have not yet been agreed with investors. According to PURA’s acting director general, Charles Sangweni, the main stumbling block is disagreement over the price that Tanzania’s natural gas will be sold to the fertiliser plant. Gas is the main raw material feedstock in the manufacture of fertiliser. Sangweni told the media at a workshop that the natural gas price should be at least $3 per MBTU but a German investor wants it reduced to $2.6, which would mean government having to subsidise the gas input. The plant is expected to export 70 percent of the fertiliser produced and the remaining 30 percent will be sold to Tanzanian farmers. It is unclear when the project will be realised. It had been expected to commence in 2016 through a joint venture between TPDC and foreign companies, but the partners were unable to agree on the commercial terms.

The project is reminiscent of the planned Kilwa Ammonia Company (KILAMCO) fertiliser project that this contributor advised on in the Tanzanian Ministry of Water, Energy and Minerals in the early 1980s. As a joint venture between TPDC (26%) and a large USA fertiliser company (74%), KILAMCO was to be a world-scale export-oriented project intended to earn the country much-needed foreign exchange at a time when the economy was in dire trouble. At $645 million (though subsequently downscaled to $425 million) it was to be the largest single investment ever in Tanzania. Intensive domestic and international efforts were made over several years to realise the project and by 1985 in-principle funding commitments were received from the World Bank Group, UK (CDC), Sweden, Italy, USA, Yugoslavia and China. However, by the late 1980s world fertiliser prices had softened considerably, undermining KILAMCO’s commercial viability. Moreover, TPDC was unable to raise the foreign exchange to support its equity stake and, given the magnitude of the sums involved, donors signalled that their financial support for the project would have to be fungible (reducing their commitments to other Tanzanian developmental projects). During the 1990s, the Songas gas-to-electricity project was developed as the preferred alternative use of Songo Songo gas, and began generating electricity at Ubungo in 2004.

Zanzibar’s hopes for oil and gas
Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein told reporters in mid-October 2020 that the results of preliminary 2D seismic and other pre-drilling technical work undertaken to date point to the existence of geological structures with high oil and gas potential in five areas in the Pemba-Zanzibar block. The potential natural gas reserves there have been estimated at 3.8 trillion cubic feet. (For comparison, Tanzania has so far discovered coastal and offshore gas reserves of at least 57 tcf). He cautioned that it is early days yet and that more sophisticated 3D seismic needs to be acquired before any wells are drilled to confirm the possible reserves.

Editor’s Note: This is Roger’s final article as our regular contributor on Energy and Minerals, after eight years. I am confident that our readers would like to join me in thanking him for the brilliant way he has handled this important, sensitive and complex subject. Asante Roger, and best wishes for the future. Ben

HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

Dr Elsa, the mobile app for health workers
A mobile app to assist health workers in rural areas, known as Dr Elsa, is currently working across 20 health facilities across Tanzania. The app, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, is designed to support health workers to make more accurate diagnosis and make better decisions about a patient’s next steps.

Dr Elsa is a project of Inspired Ideas, an Arusha based organisation, working in partnership with the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), the Tanzania Data Lab (dlab) and others.

Megan Allen, the Head of Operations for Inspired Ideas, explained that they are targeting rural areas in particular. “Initially, we wanted to use technology as a way to get people healthier and focus on the prevention side of things, but then we realised we can make a lot of impact at the point where people come into the healthcare centre to get services. The health infrastructure isn’t the same in rural areas as it is in urban areas, and similarly there are not as many doctors and specialists in rural parts of the country. This means that communities in these areas are not getting access to expertise.”

The app runs on a tablet operated by the healthcare worker. On meeting the patient, they input information about the patient, what symptoms they have, and their history. Dr Elsa will then generate further questions relevant to the specific case.

At the end, they get an assessment which shares the diseases that the patient is likely to have and the recommendations for the next steps. Dr Elsa is able to generate these questions and assessments thanks to the medical expertise and data that has been input into her, with a machine learning model. Megan says that this tool “puts the knowledge of specialist healthcare providers in the hands of a dispensary worker, so they can then use this to make better decisions.”

There are, of course, challenging with adopting such innovative tech­nology. Megan notes that while internet use is growing, it is still a chal­lenge in rural areas, and most technology will require a strong internet connection. She also notes that changing people’s attitude to technology and training medical staff on AI and new systems can be difficult.

Despite this, the new innovations in healthcare systems are proving to make services more accessible to those who would usually struggle to get quality care. The opportunities are significant. “Technology is making us all more connected than ever,” said Megan. “And in relation to healthcare that means we can bridge the gap between those who have the healthcare knowledge and those who need the services. We are moving in the right direction.”

Higher charges for Covid-19 tests
The Minister for Health, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, announced in January that everyone testing for Covid-19 will now have to pay TSh 230,000 or USD $100 irrespective of whether they are nationals or foreigners. This replaces the previous arrangement where Tanzanians were required to pay TSh 40,000, residents were charged TSh 70,000 and foreigners paid USD $100.

The Minister said results of the test would be obtained within 48 hours for travellers who are upcountry, whereas those in Dar es Salaam will get their results in 24 hours. In Dar es Salaam travellers can visit Muhimbili National Hospital, Amana Hospital in Ilala, Temeke Hospital, IST Clinic, or the Aga Khan Hospital, among other sites, for tests.

According to the ministry the rise of new Covid-19 variant across the world and technological changes in testing has forced the cost of testing for the disease to rise. “Some countries have requested an increase in IgM Antibody testing in conjunction with PCR and an increase in demand for sampling facilities,” said the Minister.

“Tanzania is one of the countries that has taken strong measures to control Covid-19 infections,” explained Dr Gwajima.

AGRICULTURE

by Ben Taylor

Government allays fears of food shortages
Rising global food prices will have no impact on Tanzania’s food security, according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Gelard Kusaya. “As a country we have enough food and we have never depended on any foreign assistance when it comes to feeding our people,” said Mr Kusaya.

Mr Kusaya was responding to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which said prices of the most globally traded food commodities rose sharply in November to their highest levels in nearly six years, a situation that was putting extra pressure on Tanzania’s food security. The agency named Tanzania as among 45 countries that would continue to be in need of external assistance for food.
In its quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, FAO stated that there are localized shortfalls in staple food production in Tanzania. Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma and Singida regions were mentioned as areas of concern.

But Mr Kusaya said currently the country’s food stocks are nearly 3.5m tonnes, with adequate food supply as the weather favours farming activities across the country.

“There are only three commodities that Tanzania imports from abroad which are wheat, cooking oil and sugar. The government is strategising to make sure that we reduce the import levels by producing these commodities locally,” he said. (The Citizen)

Cashewnut production misses target
Cashew nuts production will be short of target by over 20 percent this year, according to projections by the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT). Earlier projections had put the cashew nuts production at 278,000 tonnes for the 2020/21 harvest season. But this may not be reached for various reasons including vagaries of the weather and crop diseases.

The decline means cashews production will be unlikely to exceed the 232,681.8 tonnes produced last season.

Annual production varies considerably. Over 313,000 tonnes were produced and exported in the 2017/18 season, earning $575 million (about TSh 1.3 trillion) before declining to 225,304.98 tonnes the following season.
According to the CBT acting director general, Francis Alfred, 159,196.17 tonnes of the produce worth TSh379.929 billion have been sold reaching the 40th round of auctions in November 30, this year.

Further, despite improvements in cashewnut trading compared to previous years, some farmers complained of delays and other problems with payments for their cashewnuts. Farmers in Mtwara region reported to have sold their produce to various cooperative unions in November, but receiving no payment by Christmas. (The Citizen)

Agriculture in a difficult year
The turbulence of 2020 – with general elections in Tanzania on top of a global pandemic – did not spare Tanzania’s agriculture sector. The pandemic has impacted on both global and local demand for agricultural produce.

One study found that grain sales by wholesalers within Tanzania declined by 40% at one point, when the closure of schools and higher education institutions deprived traders of a major source of custom. Coffee exports declined over 5% year-on-year.

In contrast producers of lemon and ginger profited from the situation, with the price of a single lemon rising from Tshs 50/ to Tshs 500/, due to widespread belief that these products can protect against Coronavirus infection.

The pandemic is also blamed for a shortage of fertiliser in Tanzania, which could impact on productivity into 2021. (Daily News)

EU support for farmers
Cinnamon and Avocado growers across Tanzania are among those benefitting from an EU initiative to support East African farmers in accessing EU markets. The EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARK-UP) is a €40m, four-year initiative launched in 2018, co-financed by the EU and the Government of Germany.

Spice farmers and exporters have been trained in production and post­harvest techniques, leading to a substantial rise in the value of their sales – from $2 per kg of cinnamon to $10.

“More than 1,300 smallholder farmers, over 200 SMES and 20 institutions have so far benefited from MARK-UP interventions in Tanzania,” said Mr Safari Fungo, senior regional technical advisor for the initiative. In addition, 71 private sector representatives and 130 trade experts from the public and private sectors were trained in market research analysis.
The initiative assists farmers and exporters with compliance with Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) which is key to penetrate the food export markets.

Research shows potential for increased cotton production
Research by the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) has demonstrated how the profitability of cotton farming can be more than doubled by the use of improved agricultural practices.

According to Everina Lukonge, the lead researcher, use of improved technologies has delivered impressive results, as cotton farmers are clearly benefiting from the increases in seed cotton yields by using fertilizers – and reduced use of chemicals by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques.

From the training conducted for farmers, extension staff and other cotton communities in the covered villages, farmers were able to harvest at least 1,200kg of cotton crop per hectare. Profit per hectare rose from TSh 150,000 to just under 400,000.

The initiative has trained over 360 extension staff and 1,800 farmers in the Western and Eastern cotton regions on IPM, farm business and entrepreneurship skills. (The Citizen)

NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER

Mr David Concar, the new High Commissioner (photo FCO)

A new British High Commissioner for the UK in Tanzania, Mr David Concar, took up his post in August.

Mr Concar previously served as Director of Protocol at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as UK Ambassador in Mogadishu, Somalia between 2016 and 2019, and as the FCO head of international organisations department and commonwealth envoy between 2014 and 2016. He also worked as the FCO’s head of climate change and energy department between 2012 and 2014 and from 2006 to 2012 as the counsellor responsible for prosperity, climate change and energy, science and innovation in Beijing, China. Before joining the FCO he was a science journalist.

Mr Concar tweeted that he was “really excited to be returning to Africa, to start work with the UK’s wonderful team at the High Commission.” He replaces Sarah Cooke, who had served as UK High Commissioner in Dar es Salaam since 2016, during a time of sometimes strained relations between the diplomatic community and the government of Tanzania. Over this period, western diplomats in Tanzania have grown increasingly concerned about declining respect for democracy and the rule of law in the country, and have on occasion spoken out publicly with their criticism of the Tanzanian government.

Ms Cooke’s departure comes shortly after she attracted some controversy in Tanzania by meeting with opposition leader Zitto Kabwe of the ACT Wazalendo party. The Registrar of Political Parties wrote to Mr Kabwe demanding assurance that the meeting did not violate Section 6C(4) of the Political Parties Act, Cap 258. The Registrar’s office says the law prohibits non-citizens from holding meetings with leaders of Tanzanian political parties. ACT General Secretary Ado Shaibu responded by saying that “they held private talks, after all, he (Kabwe) is free to meet any person and talk about anything as provided under the country’s constitution.”

ENERGY & MINERALS

by Roger Nellist

Historic mining agreement signed in January 2020
On Friday 24 January the Tanzanian Government signed an historic mining agreement with Barrick Gold, finally putting an end to the three or more years of acrimonious relations with Barrick’s former subsidiary (Acacia Mining, now wound up) and establishing the arrangements under which the new joint venture, Twiga Minerals Corporation (TMC), will operate in the country. In a televised ceremony in State House, witnessed by President Magufuli and Barrick’s President and CEO Mark Bristow, nine detailed agreements were signed which establish the terms under which the parties can go forward together with confidence. Amongst other things, they provide for a 16% free-carried interest shareholding for government in TMC (with representation on the joint management committee) and for the economic benefits to be split 50/50 after recovery of costs.

TMC will now operate the three gold mines at Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi which together generate Tanzania’s biggest export earnings. After the signature Bristow said: “Reflecting our confidence in the potential of this highly prospective gold region, we have budgeted $50 million for exploration here in 2020 alone and are looking at various opportunities to sustain and expand our operations”. Barrick will also invest $40 million to upgrade the road between Bulyanhulu and Mwanza as well as building a housing estate and related infrastructure. In partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam they will also be supporting a $10 million programme to upgrade mining skills in Tanzania.

In welcoming the new deal, President Magufuli clarified that the many metal concentrate containers stored for the last two years at Dar es Salaam’s port will be sold by TMC to willing buyers and the profits shared. He said they are worth millions of dollars.

The nine agreements which cement this deal comprise: Framework Agreement, Twiga Shareholders Agreement, Bulyanhulu Shareholders Agreement, North Mara Shareholders Agreement, Buzwagi Shareholders Agreement, Bulyanhulu Development Agreement, North Mara Development Agreement, Pangea Development Agreement, and the Management & Administrative Service Agreement.

The new deal hopefully puts an end to a protracted period of enormous disruption in Tanzania’s mineral sector. The new terms are expected to improve Tanzania’s revenues from the gold mining operations. However, the detailed terms of those agreements were not made public and, in a session of the National Assembly in Dodoma a few days after their signature, Opposition MPs called for them to be made so. Chadema’s Shadow Minister of Minerals demanded that the government explain what the 16% and 50/50 split provisions actually mean for Tanzania. He also pressed Government to explain what has happened to the earlier claim for Barrick to pay unpaid tax of $190 billion. It is reported that the Government made major concessions to Barrick during the “arduous and frustrating” negotiations – allowing international arbitration, permitting the export of mineral concentrates again and waiving the requirement for the mining company to establish ore beneficiation facilities in the country. The offering of significant concessions by both parties during a major negotiation is, of course, the essence of the process by which an agreement can be concluded that, overall, is satisfactory to both sides.

Cooking with LPG rather than wood and charcoal
With Tanzania having lost eight million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2010 to firewood and charcoal for burning, the Government has embarked on a plan to raise to 50% the number of Tanzanian households using instead Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking. The plan was unveiled in mid-February by the Tanzanian Environment Minister, Hon Mussa Zungu. Government wants to build further on the increasing use of LPG witnessed in recent years, and also to introduce more competition into LPG supply so as to reduce its price to households.

Data shows that marketing companies imported 8,000 tonnes of LPG in 2008. The volume had grown to 120,000 tonnes by 2017/18 and Government expects this to rise to 145,000 tonnes annually. Currently, 50% of the LPG imports are consumed in Dar es Salaam and the Coastal Zone; the Northern Zone consumes 23%, the Lakes Zone 12% and the Southern Highland Zone 8%.

Contract reviews and delays
Investor representatives, analysts, commentators and Government officials continue to look forward to the resumption of negotiations concerning the Host Government Agreement that will kickstart the mega Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Lindi. Those crucial negotiations are being held up whilst Government continues to review and renegotiate the country’s existing Petroleum Production Sharing Agreements, to bring their terms into line with the new natural wealth and resource legislation enacted in 2017.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment has stated that it is undertaking a similar review of the contracts governing the associated Mchuchuma coal mining and power generation project and the Liganga iron ore project. Those complex projects, said to be worth $3 billion, have so far taken nine years and are still not ready. The current contract reviews are introducing yet another delay. The implementing partner and investor – Tanzania China International Mineral Resource Ltd – has already invested considerable funds in the projects (which were originally expected to be implemented by 2016) and has completed necessary geological, technical and environmental impact work. However, it is understood there have been wrangles over certain tax exemptions on imported project equipment and supplies as well as the provision of other incentives. The investor says the projects are beset by burdensome red tape. However, construction is under way and reports indicate that the project could create 35,000 direct and indirect jobs. It has an expected lifespan of between 50 and 100 years.

MANGI MELI REMAINS

Mangi Meli – Photo courtesy of Deutsche Fotothek

Traces of Chief Mangi Meli of the Chagga community in Old Moshi can still be found in songs, stories and archives. But his head is missing. As chief for a little under a decade, Mangi Meli fought the German colonial occupation of territory in Kilimanjaro. He was executed for his resistance on March 2, 1900, by hanging in a public square.

His head was then cut off and said to have been shipped to Berlin, Germany at the request of the Ethnological Museum’s Head of Africa and Oceania department Felix von Luschan. Von Luschan collected thousands of skulls from all over the world for scientific testing based on Rassenlehre – racial ideology.

For the past 50 years, Isaria Meli has been campaigning through the Meli Foundation, appealing to the Tanzanian and German governments to seek the return of his grandfather’s skull.

His efforts have finally paid off – in part. Chief Mangi Meli’s story has been brought to the attention of the German government through an exhibition in Berlin. This was centred around a video installation titled Mangi Meli Remains – an innovative short film animation in Kiswahili, German and English on the life, times and death of the chief, his links with other chiefs in the resistance to German colonial rule and the events leading to his death.

After the exhibition closed in Berlin, it moved temporarily to Dar es Salaam before reaching its permanent home in Old Moshi, where it opened in March 2019 at the Old Courthouse.

Along with the video, the exhibition includes documents and photographs of the Chagga people and chief Mangi Meli taken in the late 1800s to the early 1900s by colonial German army officers, and never previously displayed in Tanzania.

The exhibition is the work of German national Konradin Kunze and the Tanzanian Sarita Mamseri. Mamseri is a heritage educator with a Masters in History of Art & Archaeology, while Kunze, a German national, is a theatre producer with Flinn Works.

Mangi Meli (centre) with two Chagga officials – photo courtesy of Deutsche Fotothek

The idea for the exhibition started when Kunze started researching German colonial history in Tanzania. “When I first came to Tanzania eight years ago, I was shocked to learn about my country’s colonial history. I didn’t learn it in school back in Germany, which would have been the proper way, I think. We maybe had just about one hour of it because ‘Germany had some colonies but it was for a short period.’’’

“The objective of this project is definitely to educate the public. This story should not be forgotten and on the other hand, it is giving back to the community by permanently install something in Old Moshi, although it is not the chief’s skull, which we’re still trying to find. However, at least we can bring back the information that I have gathered back in Germany,” Kunze added.

Kunze thinks the photographs he found, as well the archived material in Germany (such as http://www.deutschefotothek.de/list/freitext/hans+meyer), should be readily available in Tanzania since it is a crucial part of the country’s history too.

Mamseri concurs, saying, “The atrocities, tragedies and theft, looting, and acquisition of personal items of significance and of human remains cannot be undone or indeed forgotten when still so much is to be acknowledged and then repatriated. It also continues to amaze me how much of Tanzania’s history can be found in foreign collections, both private and state. It just reinforces my opinion that efforts to counterbalance the role of colonial archives and collections in Europeans’ understanding of Africa must be readdressed through the collecting and presenting “It is clear that the Europeans saw us as savages and were trying to prove that we aren’t real human beings,” said Cloud Chatanda, an illustrator who worked on the project. “Mangi Meli’s father, Mangi Rindi sent his best soldiers to meet the Kaiser in Berlin and gave his two best soldiers ivory, minerals and leather to present to the Kaiser and in return asked for a few weapons. The Kaiser sent the soldiers back with a music box and a sewing machine.”

Currently, Germany holds over 5,000 skulls of its former colonial subjects, including 200 from Tanzania. Among the skulls, six were as being from Moshi, dating back to the time of Mangi Meli’s death. Some of them have the inscription Dschagga/Wadschagga.

Mangi Meli Remains is a collaborative project between Flinn Works (Germany), BSS Projects (Tanzania/UK), Old Moshi Cultural Tourism, ArtEver (Tanzania) supported by the Ethnological Museum Berlin and the Humboldt University Berlin. It was funded by the Goethe-Institut Tanzania, the Berlin Senate Department of Culture and Between Bridges (non-profit exhibition space organised by Wolfgang Tillmans).