by Ben Taylor

Peace Corps Director accused of killing Tanzanian woman in drunk driving incident
In a case that has echoes of the killing of Harry Dunn in the UK, a senior American Peace Corps employee in Tanzania is reported as having killed a mother of three and injured two others in a series of car crashes that began after he left a bar where he had been drinking and brought a sex worker back to his home. The incident took place on the Msasani Peninsula on August 24, 2019.

The woman killed was 47-year-old Rabia Issa, a street vendor. She was gathering firewood around dawn at the roadside stand where she sold fried cassava and other foods when she was struck by a small SUV.

Reports in the newspaper USA Today identified the driver as John M. Peterson, then the 65-year-old director of management and operations for the Peace Corps in Tanzania. The newspaper provided further details of the case, citing a brief account of the incident in a report by the Peace Corps Inspector General.

According to these reports, Mr Peterson had been drinking when his vehicle struck a pedestrian at around 5am. He drove off at high speed, pursued by angry motorcycle drivers. In the chase, his vehicle then struck Ms Issa, before eventually coming to halt after colliding with a pole.

Mr Peterson was apprehended by the police, refused a breathalyser test, and was released to enable him to seek medical attention. The inspector general’s report says staff from the US Embassy and the Peace Corps then arranged for his speedy departure from Tanzania, which happened so quickly that local authorities were unable to charge him first. The U.S. government deemed it a medically necessary evacuation. Within a day of Issa’s death, Peterson was on a flight back to the United States.

Issa’s family told the newspaper they believe Peterson was released by police in order to cover up what had happened. A reporter visited the police station but found no record of the incident in the station’s ledger, and officers there declined to answer questions.

The case bears significant resemblance to that of Harry Dunn, killed in a road crash outside the US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, also in 2019, just three days after the fatal incident in Dar es Salaam. In that case, the US citizen Anne Sacoolas is accused of being responsible for the death, and left the country a few days later, citing diplomatic immunity.

Where the two cases diverge, however, is in the efforts to pursue accountability. Following much media coverage and diplomatic wrangling, the US citizen Anne Sacoolas is due to face criminal proceedings in the UK later this year, charged with causing the death by dangerous driving. The case in Tanzania has received very little media, diplomatic or police attention.

The US Department of Justice declined to prosecute Peterson, saying it lacked jurisdiction, according to the inspector general. A spokeswoman for the Peace Corps, in a statement, told USA Today that shortly after the incident, the agency placed Peterson on administrative leave and suspended his security clearance, pending an investigation.

Tanzanian authorities could charge him in absentia and issue warrants for his arrest with Interpol. Even if the US authorities decline an extradition request, Peterson could be effectively prevented from traveling internationally for fear of arrest.


by Ben Taylor

Government cuts growth forecast, secures IMF loan
In September, the Tanzanian government slashed its growth forecast for 2021 to 4%, down from 5.6% announced in June. This was expressed in a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government attributed the lowering of growth projections to the decline in performance of key sectors due to Covid-19.

“Some key sectors have been seriously hit by the third wave of Covid-19 in the first six months of 2021 that has forced us to review projections,” said Emmanuel Tutuba, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning. He noted that the tourism sector in particular suffered in the first and second quarters.

Growth figures and forecasts have been a source of tension in recent years between the government of Tanzania and major development partners including the IMF and the World Bank.

IMF Resident Representative, Jens Reinke, commented that the government has shown commitment for economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic. He made the remarks in approving an IMF loan worth USD $567 to help finance the urgent balance of payment needs, stemming from the effects of coronavirus pandemic.

The government also announced it will also table a supplementary budget before Parliament in February 2022, after the disbursement of the IMF funds. “This is a new source of income that will need approval of Parliament in agreed areas,” said Mr Tutuba, describing this as a normal legal requirement.

Later, the Bank of Tanzania’s monthly economic review for the year to October 31, 2021 reported an 11% rise in exports of goods and services compared to the equivalent period 12 months earlier. Exports amounted to USD $9.6 billion in the year to October 31, 2021, up from $8.6 billion in previous year.

This was driven by a rise in exports of manufactured goods and non­traditional goods other than minerals. Exports of goods increased by 10.4%, with non-traditional goods rising by 13.4%.

Analysts attributed the trend both to a recovery from the past impact of Covid-19 and in part to the efforts of President Samia Suluhu Hassan to establish a more supportive business environment.

“The right signals from the President bolster traders and investors’ confidence to invest in the country,” said Prof Abel Kinyondo of the University of Dar es Salaam’s School of Economics. He recommended, however, that these signals needed to be translated into legislative and policy reform in order for the positive trend to be sustained.

New statistical masterplan forthcoming
The World Bank senior economist in Tanzania, Rob Swinkels, has said the organisation is working with the government of Tanzania to support implementation of the new Tanzania Statistical Master Plan (TMSP) 2022-2027. Mr Swinkels gave the assurance after meeting with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the matter.

He said the bank is the long partner of the government in the development of the statistics system, which among others, is in response to demand for better information on updates in living standards and policy implementation. He added that the Bank has supported the implementation of TMSP 2010-2018, together with other development partners.

Speaking at the meeting, the Director General of the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Albina Chuwa said, “The World Bank project will help us achieve our vision for statistical development to support the government with quicker and better data to underpin the policy process”.

In a separate development, NBS has requested USD $80m financial support from the World Bank to help in conducting the 2022 Population and Housing Census. The request was by Dr Chuwa, saying the support would go into the purchase of more equipment to be used in the census whose preparations are at an advanced stage.

UK government pursues increased trade with Tanzania
November 2021 saw a UK-Tanzania Business Forum held in Dar es Salaam. It brought together government and business to discuss the trade and investment relationship between the two countries, and opportunities for increased economic partnership.

The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Tanzania, Lord Walney (John Woodcock), was in attendance as part of his first visit to Tanzania since his appointment to the role in August. He expressed the UK’s commitment to increasing Tanzania’s exports to the UK market, and investment by British businesses in Tanzania.

“Our particular focus will be on supporting quality and sustainable UK investments into Tanzania that create jobs, inclusive economic growth and mutual prosperity,” he said.

UK Trade Envoys are parliamentarians appointed by the Prime Minister, drawn from both Houses and across the political spectrum. The roles are unpaid and voluntary. These new appointments bring the total number of Trade Envoys who help support the UK’s trade and investment agenda to 36, covering 76 different countries.

Currently, trade between the two countries is highly imbalanced, with the value of Tanzania’s exports to the UK reportedly standing at a mere £29 million per year, while its imports are worth £127 million.

To raise Tanzania’s exports to the UK, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa urged the UK to bring in capital and inject it into various sectors especially in value addition. Mr Majaliwa also said UK-funded technical assistance and analysis will help to inform the prioritisation of economic reforms that the private sector could benefit from. He said Tanzania will continue to create an enabling business environment to increase investor’s confidence.

Industry and Trade minister Kitila Mkumbo said it was the government’s wish to see more Tanzania’s products sold in the UK market. “The trade volume between Tanzania and the UK is relatively large. But it is one-sided as it favours the UK more. We import more than what we export,” said Prof Mkumbo.

The forum was attended by over 20 companies from the UK, 150 British and Tanzanian (joint ventures) companies attending in-person and a further 300 participating virtually. It was organised by TanTrade, the British High Commission, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation and Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce.

UK aid to Tanzania in precipitous decline

Official aid provided by the UK to Tanzania has fallen sharply in the 2021-22 budget, to £28.5m. This represents a 68% drop compared to 2020-21 (£89.2m) and a massive 86% drop compared to 2015-16 (£204.8m), according to figures released by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The drop is most directly linked to the UK government’s decision to abandon its commitment to provide 0.7% of GDP in official development assistance, which came into effect in the most recent budget. It is also linked to the incorporation of the former Department for International Development (DfID) within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), now renamed as FCDO. However, though these changes have accelerated the decline of UK aid to Tanzania, the decline started several years earlier.
In 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned Tanzania explicitly as an example of a country where too much aid was provided, in contrast to countries in eastern Europe such as Ukraine and the Balkans, which are more strategically important to the UK.

Development practitioners within Tanzania responded with dismay to this argument, saying they were “left questioning the UK government’s assessment of what constitutes British interests.”

“We believe the move is short sighted, as there are global benefits to providing humanitarian aid to developing countries like Tanzania. A glaring example of this is the current coronavirus pandemic. A unified global response to the pandemic is in everyone’s interests, including the UK’s.”

A representative of the British High Commission in Tanzania responded that “bilateral aid represents one element of the UK’s contribution to Tanzania’s development. UK businesses and investors are a key source of foreign direct investment. And significant amounts of UK aid are channelled through non-bilateral mechanisms, including through major contributions to International Financial Institutions and multilateral programmes. Taking all channels into account, the UK remains one of the largest providers of aid to Tanzania.”

Some analysts have also linked the specific decline in aid to Tanzania to the country’s recent record on governance and democracy, and even to its unusual response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Where we have any such concerns on these issues, we have raised them with the Government of Tanzania,” said the BHC spokesperson. “The UK’s relationship with Tanzania remains vibrant and strong. In the year ahead, we will have a major focus on girls’ education and support for Tanzania’s efforts to improve its business environment and build a resilient and productive economy. We will also be working in partnership with Tanzania on climate change, tackling transnational serious and organised crime, and strengthening democratic institutions and the development of civil society.”


by Ben Taylor

Kabanga Nickel mine approved
A potentially lucrative new nickel mine has been approved at Kabanga, in Ngara Distrist in north-west Tanzania. The Ministry of Minerals in October awarded a mining licence for the project to Tembo Nickel Corporation Limited (TNCL). After a two-year construction phase, commissioning is expected to start at the end of 2024. The overall capital cost estimate for Kabanga (including a 20% contingency for overruns) is USD $1.3 billion.

Minerals minister Doto Biteko said the feasibility report showed total deposits of 58 million tonnes of nickel ore.

“The mining operations are expected to be conducted by underground mining method whereby production is expected to reach an average of 600,000 tonnes of ore per annum in the first five years, and later to 2.2 million tonnes per annum,” he said.

Operating at full capacity, and assuming the resource proves to be as productive as expected, the mine has the potential to become the world’s third largest nickel mine.

The concentrates produced from the mine will be transported to refinery which is to be built in Kahama District. This will include an estimated 33,000 tonnes of nickel per year, and smaller amounts of copper and cobalt. The inclusion of an in-country refinery is seen as key to ensuring the project won government approval. The plan is to process the metals in a refining process that uses less electricity and has a reduced carbon footprint.

The government expects to collect an estimated $7.5 billion (TSh 17.2 trillion) through various fees and taxes over the mine’s 33-year anticipated lifespan. In addition, the government expects the mine and refinery to directly provide over 1,000 jobs.

TNCL is majority-owned by Kabanga Nickel Ltd, a UK-based mining firm, with the government of Tanzania holding a free-carried 16% stake. In a parallel deal with Barrick Gold and Glencore, the previous owners of the project, Kabanga Nickel acquired all data and information relating to the previous mineral resource estimation, all metallurgical test work and piloting data, analyses and studies, including a comprehensive draft feasibility study report produced in 2014 and subsequent updates. Barrick and Glencore lost their licence to develop the site in 2018 when new mining laws were introduced.

Kabanga Nickel describes the site as “the largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit in the world, unmatched in scale and grade, with at least 30 years life of mine and further exploration upside. An extensive amount of exploration and resource definition has been completed to date, setting the Kabanga nickel project on a well-defined path to production.”

Chris Showalter, CEO of Kabanga Nickel described the issue of the licence as “a clear vote of confidence for the Project and team by our partners in the Government of Tanzania”. He acknowledged their support and as they move the project forward, and noted that development activities currently underway at the Kabanga Nickel Project can now accelerate in scale.

Kabanga will play a major role in accelerating the supply of much needed battery metals, essential for the global transition to a low carbon economy. The project will produce Class 1 nickel and cobalt products – two of the key elements used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) – and copper. The World Economic Forum has estimated that demand for high-purity nickel for EV battery production “will increase by a factor of 24 in 2030 compared to 2018 levels”.

Nevertheless, environment concerns remain significant. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers hardrock mining – such as this project – the top polluting industry in the US, and there is a long history of toxic emission problems at such operations around the world.

With this and the carbon emissions of mining in mind, Kabanga Nickel argue that the project will have a substantially lower environmental impact than most nickel mining. “Kabanga’s hydromet process is a game-changer,” says the company. “Traditionally, nickel sulphide deposits require smelting for beneficiation, which has a significantly greater environmental impact. Kabanga will be different, delivering Class 1 nickel on a sustainable basis.” They add that as a complete cradle-to-gate nickel operation, “refined metals will be produced in-country without smelting or the transportation of large volumes of concentrate over long, intercontinental distances,” reducing carbon emissions as a result.

Key to this is the adoption of an unusual, but more efficient refining process that replaces tradition energy-intensive smelting with “hydromet”, or hydrometallurgy – the use of water-based, solutions to extract metals – which has less than half the carbon footprint of smelting.

The nickel resource in Kabanga was discovered almost 50 years ago in the northwest corner of Tanzania, and has been the subject of repeated exploration programmes and feasibility studies by some of the world’s leading mining companies. Anglo American, BHP, Glencore and Barrick have collectively invested hundreds of millions of dollars in drilling and project analysis. It has never previously proved viable to exploit the resource, due primarily to its remote location. A combination of rising nickel demand – prices have more than doubled since 2016 – and more efficient technology for refining the ore have changed this calculation.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has asked companies to “please mine more nickel.”

“I would emphatically say we are very much positioned to start delivering to Mr. Musk and all other strategic battery EVs,” said Kabanga Nickel CEO Chris Showalter.

Gold mining
The later months of 2021 saw several significant developments in Tanzania’s gold mining sector, some of which continue to reflect the major shake-up of the industry under President Magufuli (see previous issues of Tanzanian Affairs).

First, Minerals Minister Doto Biseko announced that negotiations were progressing well for a new large scale gold project was expected at Nyanzaga in Mwanza region. Under the project, the Australian mining firm OreCorp is expected to invest around USD $500m.

Previously the project had been a joint venture between Acacia and OreCorp, but Acacia sold it’s stake to the Australian firm in 2018. Acacia and its parent company, Barrick Gold, has in recent years been involved in a fierce dispute with the Tanzanian government over tax liabilities, and while the specific dispute appears to have been largely resolved, Acacia and Barrick have been scaling back some of their involvement in other projects in Tanzania – including Nyangaza as well as the Kabanga Nickel project (see above).

The second development also involves Barrick Gold, in the form of their joint venture with the Tanzanian government, Twiga Minerals Corporation. In this case, Barrick expanded their investments in Tanzania by acquiring six new prospecting licenses for their Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, again in Mwanza region.

Barrick’s chief executive Mark Bristow said the acquisition was a “significant step” for the company.

At the same mine, Barrick also commissioned a new laboratory for testing minerals that speeds up the pace at which testing can be done. The laboratory can also process 1,000 samples in one day, compared to one sample per 12 hours previously, boosting the company exploration efforts by enabling rapid turnaround of critical operational information. The lab also gives more accurate analysis of gold, silver and other elements.

Barrick also updated its third quarter performance in which Mr Bristow said both Bulyanhulu and North Mara mines were set to meet their 2021 production targets as well as to replace depleted reserves through brownfields exploration.

Finally, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) won its case at the Court of Appeal against Geita Gold Mine (GGM) relating to VAT payments on fuel supplied to contractors. The case dated back more than ten years, and saw GGM given a tax bill for TSh 6bn.

GGM’s first attempt to fault TRA’s tax bill suffered a loss at the Tax Revenue Appeals Board (TRAB) which sided with TRA and dismissed the tax case. The company’s second approach was to challenge the TRAB decision was at the Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunal (TRAT), which decided again in favour of TRA in 2012. Dissatisfied with the TRAT, GGM took the case to the Court of Appeal in Dodoma to challenge the decision. In November 2021, the Court of Appeal came down against GGM.

Energy strategy
Unpredictable rainfall and high demand for electric power have plagued Tanzanian consumers – both domestic and business – for many years. Power rationing was introduced by Tanesco once again in November 2021 after what they described as a shortfall of 345 MW at hydropower generation stations due to drought.

In response, the business community called on the government to find a lasting solution to power woes, including stopping rationing electricity in industrial areas during production peak hours.

Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) advocacy and policy director Akida Mnyenyelwa said industrial areas needed a very stable power if manufactures were to operate at full capacity. Otherwise, he cautioned, the use of standby generators was not economically viable due to high running costs. “The scarcity of electricity linked to hydroelectric power generation poses a lot of woes to investors because we depend on the power that is not sustainable,” said Coca-Cola managing director Unguu Sulay.

“We have to refocus our attention away from hydroelectricity towards solar, wind and or natural gas,” recommended Mr Sulay.

Zitto Kabwe, leader of opposition party ACT-Wazalendo, said there were legal obstacles preventing effective power generation in Tanzania. He noted that Tanzania’s power system masterplan and its subsequent updates sufficiently prescribe national energy supply strategies, but that implementation had been suspended since 2016. The consequence, he said, was that “lined up investments such as those targeting gas exploration, investment in renewable energy and so on, weren’t fulfilled.” According to him, one of the immediate solutions to the power conundrum would be the implementation of the power system masterplan.

Earlier, the newly appointed Energy Minister, January Makamba, highlighted ten focus areas for his new portfolio to strengthen the sector. He promised reform to the leadership and management of Tanesco and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC). He promised also to revive the long-stalled negotiations over a proposed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing plant in Lindi.

The Minister said the government will focus on improving cooking energy as 70% of people use forest products and other biomass which are not sustainable for development. He also said the government would look at affordable and reliable energy from the private sector through independent power producers and focus on the renewables and go big now that tech allows stability of production. “There needs to be proper decision making. Tanzania is blessed with multiple energy resources (wind, solar etc). Tanzania can become an energy powerhouse,” he said.
Looming over all these debates is the hydroelectric power plant currently under construction at Stiegler’s Gorge. The controversial dam – a pet project of the late President Magufuli – is designed to have the capacity to supply 2,115 MW to the national electricity grid, a massive increase on the total national generation capacity of 1,600 MW in 2020. The dam will not have this capacity until at least 2027, however, though the first turbine could come online in June 2022, supplying up to 235 MW of power.


by Paul Harrison & James L.Laizer

James Laizer has over 20 years of experience working in natural resources management in Africa, both terrestrial and marine, and both public and private sectors, and is a long term associate of Paul Harrison. He takes over the Tourism and Conservation portfolio in Tanzanian Affairs from Paul, who is stepping aside in order to focus on his role as the new Chair of the Britain-Tanzania Society. I offer my sincere thanks to both – The Editor.

Better days ahead expected as tourism sector in Tanzania continues to be strengthened
The Tanzanian tourism sector is steadily recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and business. Ongoing attention to the sector by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the wider government and other tourism stakeholders, indicate that there is an opportunity to revamp the tourism industry to drive inclusive growth over the long term, whilst promoting climate adaptation and mitigation. As part of the effort to improve the tourism sector, the Tanzanian government recently allocated nearly $39.2 million (about TSh 90 billion) of funds to mitigate the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the travel and tourism industry. The funds are part of the $567.25 million loan approved in September 2021 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support Tanzania in responding to the pandemic by addressing health, humanitarian, and economic effects.

A recent television documentary initiative by President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been received positively throughout the country by tourism industry stakeholders. The Head of State’s decision to personally market Tanzania and invite an international film crew to shoot a documentary on the country’s tourism sector, is thought likely to improve awareness of Tanzanian destinations internationally and hence drive demand. The official trailer for the documentary is finally out (see and ‘The Royal Tour’ is showcasing at tourist, investment, arts, and cultural attractions. The documentary shows Tanzania’s Head of State in safari attire taking the audience on an adventurous tour to some of Tanzania’s most iconic landscapes including Bagamoyo in the Coastal region, Mount Kilimanjaro, iconic wildlife parks and an underwater room in Pemba.

Again, this is part of renewed efforts to make Tanzania more visible to the world and attract more foreign investors to the country and better the tourism sector for days ahead. It follows a similar initiative by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in partnership with the same US film maker, Peter Greenberg, in 2018, titled “Rwanda: The Royal Tour”.

Serengeti once again declared Africa’s best National Park
On 21st October 2021, the World Travel Awards declared Tanzania’s Serengeti as 2021’s leading African national park as reported in the Citizen (October 21st 2021). The Serengeti was pitted against other prized African contenders such as Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana), Etosha National Park (Namibia), Kidepo Valley National Park (Uganda), Kruger National Park (South Africa) and Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya). The World Travel Awards also recognized Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro among Africa’s leading destinations, meaning that three Tanzanian national parks claimed triple spots on the 2021 conservation awards list.

Tanzania won in ten different categories, including: Leading National Park, Leading Beach Destination, Leading Destination, Leading Luxury Island, Responsible Tourism Award, Leading Green Hotel, Leading Private Island Resort, Leading Safari Company, Leading Luxury Safari Lodge, and Leading Hotel Brand. This widespread recognition will help in promoting Tanzania’s tourism destinations internationally and raise conservation awareness in general.

Zanzibar remains a preferred tourist destination with its emergent blue economy drive
Zanzibar has expressed hope over an increase in tourist numbers from September 2021 onwards. Most tourists visiting Zanzibar are from Europe, particularly France and Poland, according to Tanzania Daily News. The Blue Economy agenda is a top priority for Zanzibar. For centuries, the people of Zanzibar have engaged in domestic and international ocean-based activities, though the sector has now grown in both size and significance. Blue economy activities are estimated to have contributed around 29% of Zanzibar’s GDP in 2019 and employ about a third of Zanzibar’s labour force. The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar developed the Zanzibar Development Vision 2050 and the Zanzibar Blue Economy Policy and is in the process of developing the Zanzibar Blue Economy Strategy. Vision 2050 sets out the long-term goals and aspirations of Zanzibar and distinguishes the blue economy as a key strategic driver for realizing them. The Policy provides a guiding framework for the implementation of the blue economy, and has identified five areas of focus, namely, fisheries and aquaculture, maritime trade and infrastructure, energy, tourism, and marine and maritime governance. A key question will be whether the framework can be implemented effectively, where a drive towards increased investment will need effective engagement with the private sector, including new entrants.

Tanzania calls for financing support towards climate change mitigation
As in other parts of the world, climate change in Tanzania is affecting both the natural environment and local residents. Average temperatures in the country are rising with a higher likelihood of intense rainfall events (often resulting in flooding) and of dry spells (often resulting in drought). Water scarcity is an increasing problem and many major water bodies have had significant drops in water levels, including Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Rukwa. This is having a major impact on the agriculture sector which employs the majority of Tanzanians. In light of this, and since the effects of climate change are seen as an increasing threat in Tanzania, President Samia Suluhu has called for urgent unlocking of climate change financing, warning that inaction means that countries with low adaptive capacity such as Tanzania had no option but to brace for more adverse effects.

While addressing participants in Scotland during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, President Samia Suluhu said: “What we ought to remember is when drastic climate change hits, it chooses no location, mighty, weak, poor or rich country,” and called for developed countries to scale up their financing efforts to mitigate effects of climate change by providing predictable and adequate funds to enable low-income countries to achieve ambitious sustainable development goals.


by Angela Ilomo
Angela Ilomo is the Acting Director of RLabs Tanzania, a lawyer by profession, and is dedicated to transforming opportunities for young women and men through leading RLabs’ entrepreneurship programme. She takes over the Education portfolio in Tanzanian Affairs from Naomi Rouse. I offer my sincere thanks to both – The Editor.

Tanzania lifts ban on pregnant school girls
The law which was originally passed in 2002 was reinforced by late President John Magufuli in 2017 barring pregnant girls from attending regular school.

Speaking in Dodoma on Wednesday November 24, Prof. Ndalichako said the government will now allow all students who dropped out of school due to various reasons including pregnancy to return to school in a formal system after giving birth. “Later today, I will issue a statement explaining how the students who dropped out of school due to pregnancy and other reasons will go back to school,” she said.

US Ambassador Dr Donald Wright said his country was pleased by the Tanzanian move. “This proclamation indicates a more inclusive approach to education in Tanzania and a positive step forward for Tanzanians,” he said. (The Citizen, The Daily News)

Issues that are still pending in Tanzania’s education system
One of the major pending issues is the ‘dualism’ in primary education in Tanzania. This dualism plays out negatively and has, unfortunately, been accepted as a fait accompli. This has led to better performance of children studying in private school during final standard seven examination.

A major driving force in this dualism the difference in the medium of instruction: English and Kiswahili. Pupils learning in an English environment, from nursery school to Standard Seven acquire English proficiency that those schooled in the Kiswahili system can only dream of. If Tanzania’s secondary schooling and university education was not conducted entirely in English this would not have been such a problem.

Prof Herme Mosha cautioned 10 years ago, while giving an assessment of 50 years of independence, that the differences in performance in examinations between pupils in public and private schools might produce the ruling class from those studying in private schools and the ruled class from those studying in poorly equipped public schools.

When public schools become much better equipped and well-staffed with teachers with high morale, with healthy pupil-to-teacher ratio, then more parents will send their children to public schools, which might lead to the natural death of many of the many private schools. (The Citizen)

Over 900,000 set to start secondary education in 2022
This year, 2021, has been one for the goodwill of the government and the education sector as a whole. More than 900,000 pupils who passed the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will for the first time join Form One within the first selection window, thanks in part to funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October of $576 million that have facilitated construction of over 10,000 classrooms across the country.

For five consecutive years there have been challenges in selecting a pile of primary school leavers who sought slots in public secondary schools due to shortage of classrooms vis-à-vis demand for accommodation.

The Minister of State in the President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said that no selected pupil will have to sit on the floor in the constructed classrooms as the fund will also be used to support the making of 462,795 desks. (The Citizen)

Government commits to work with Camfed
The government has committed to work together with the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) to explore the potential for scaling the Learner Guide Program across the government school system by ensuring children access relevant life and work skills in their education. Camfed, since its inception in 2005, made it possible for 8,000 marginalized boys and girls to attend primary school and 55,000 girls to attend secondary school.

The Learner Guide Program sees that young women who have experienced first-hand barriers to education receive support to return to their local schools as mentors and role models. Now they are working to keep more girls in their communities in school.

In view of this, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Prof Caroline Nombo, said the programme should not only focus on girls and forget boys who also face challenges and need quick interventions that will encourage them to remain in school.

She noted that the initiative supports government key priorities including equitable access to education and providing education with relevant life and works skills that will provide youth with employment. (The Citizen)

Fresh concern over lecturer shortage in Tanzanian universities
Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) figures show that the number of university academic staff increased from 6,238 in 2019 to 7,187 in 2020. At the same time, student enrolment has increased by an average of 4.7% annually from 177,963 students in the 2017/18 academic year to 206,305 in 2020/21. In Education, Law, Medical and Health Sciences, Humanities and Arts as well as Business programmes, there are unsatisfactory ratios of students to lecturers.

Education stakeholders are of the view that if these factors are not looked into and dealt with accordingly, the quality of education in the country runs the risk of experiencing a calamitous drop. The reasons TCU banned 19 institutions of higher learning from admitting new students in the 2017/18 academic year, was due to the lack of relevant human resources. “Producing a PhD holder takes much time, and is very expensive as well. It can even take up to ten or twelve years to get one,” said Dr. Jabir, an education consultant.

It is suggested by experts that the government should create conducive environment for universities to develop relevant human resources. (The Citizen)


by Ben Taylor

Omicron wave reaches Tanzania
The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has reached Tanzania and spread widely. This conclusion is not based on analysis of official data on case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths, but instead on anecdotal (but very widespread) reports of case numbers having risen sharply in December 2021 both in health facilities and in the community.

On November 27, the government urged Tanzanians to take all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the new Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus threatened to roll back the global fight against the disease. A statement issued by Tanzania’s chief medical officer, Dr Aifello Sichwale, said the fourth Covid-19 wave caused by the new variant was “deadly”.

There is still very little official data being released on the state of the pandemic in Tanzania (with the exception of data on vaccines – see below). The government has released some data – for example Situation Report No.14, dated December 20th, 2021, reported 1,366 new confirmed cases in the previous week, 92% of which were in Dar es Salaam, bringing the reported total since the start of the pandemic to 27,849, with 737 confirmed deaths. However, such releases have been highly sporadic and inconsistent. Moreover, the figures they contain are thought to be massive underestimates.

Nevertheless, in contrast to earlier phases of the pandemic, doctors and others are far more willing now to speak openly about what they are seeing. The story they tell is remarkably consistent from different parts of the country, and paints a mixed picture.

“We’re seeing a lot of patients arrive at the hospital,” said a senior doctor at Muhimbili National Hospital, “but most do not actually need to be admitted.” A doctor in Iringa said there were clear signs that the virus was spreading widely in the community – “everybody has it”, he said – but that for most people it was proving no more serious than an unpleasant flu.

The Situation Report cited above also included a revealing chart showing confirmed case numbers across the full period of the pandemic. The chart is interesting not so much for the specific figures (which are likely to be underestimates) as for the pattern of numbers rising and falling in particular periods. These waves match closely those experienced in Kenya and Uganda where data has been released regularly throughout.

Even more interesting still, however, is the fact that the chart shows case numbers from times when Tanzania was not officially collecting such data, and indeed when the government was publicly making the claim that the country had defeated the virus and was experiencing no cases.

fig 1 (Source: Tanzania Ministry of Health Situation Report No.14, Dec 20, 2021)

STOP PRESS: At the time of writing, President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced a cabinet reshuffle, which returned former Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, to the position, replacing Dr Dorothy Gwajima. Mwalimu had previously served as Minister of Health from 2015 to November 2020, when she was removed from the post, reportedly as a result of disagreements with the President over the national response to Covid-19.

Tanzania hits 2,000,000 Covid-19 vaccines milestone
Shortly before the end of 2021, Tanzania reached the figure of two million people having received at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 (3.4% of the population). This puts the country at a similar level to Zambia and Malawi, but well behind Kenya (over 7 million people vaccinated), Uganda (8 million) and Mozambique (9 million).

fig 2 (Source: Our World In Data, January 7, 2022)

Tanzania started later than many other countries in providing vaccines, with the vaccine rollout not getting underway in earnest until August 2021, compared to February or March for many of the country’s neighbours.

This is a direct effect of the anti-vaccine stance of the late President John Magufuli, who had refused offers of vaccines, arguing that they did not work and could even be dangerous. President Samia Suluhu Hassan changed this position, joining the global COVAX initiative that supplies vaccines free of charge to poorer countries and accepting offers of vaccines donated by the USA and China. Between July and December, Tanzania received a total of 4.8 million doses of the Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Sinopharm vaccines from various sources.

Nevertheless, the relatively slow pace of vaccination in Tanzania reflect two separate legacies of President Magufuli’s idiosyncratic response to the Coronavirus pandemic, in addition to the late start.

First, in contrast to her neighbours, health authorities and service providers in Tanzania had not been making preparations for a nationwide vaccine rollout. Nor had they shifted to pandemic-footing more generally – with no systematic monitoring of case numbers, for example, or efforts to raise public awareness of the virus. Indeed, under President Magufuli, there were concerted efforts to downplay the pandemic’s seriousness.

Second, many Tanzanian citizens who a few months earlier had heard their much-loved President tell them that the vaccines were ineffective and dangerous, are now reluctant to put their trust in those very same vaccines. A recent survey of public opinion by Twaweza , a civil society organisation working in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, found that just half of Tanzanian citizens (54%) would be willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, compared to 76% in Kenya and 85% in Uganda.

fig 3 (Source: Sauti za Wananchi, Twaweza). Disclosure: the author of this article works for Twaweza

Overcoming such resistance will not be straightforward.

Malaria vaccine approved for widespread use
The World Health Organization in October endorsed the first vaccine against Malaria, a disease that kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly African children. The decision followed a review of data from trials of the vaccine developed by GSK, conducted since 2019 in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in which more than two million doses were given of the vaccine.

After reviewing the evidence, the WHO said it was “recommending the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine”, the agency’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. The WHO said it was recommending children in sub-Saharan Africa get four doses up to the age of two.

Findings from the vaccine trials showed it “significantly reduces severe malaria which is the deadly form by 30 percent,” said Kate O’Brien, Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. The vaccine is “feasible to deliver”, she added and “it’s also reaching the unreached… Two thirds of children who don’t sleep under a bed net in those countries are now benefiting from the vaccine.”

Many vaccines exist against viruses and bacteria but this was the first time that the WHO recommended for broad use a vaccine against a human parasite.

“From a scientific perspective this is a massive breakthrough,” said Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme.

The estimated cost of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa is over 12 billion dollars a year, Alonso said at a news conference following the announcement. The GAVI vaccine alliance said they will consider whether and how to finance a new malaria vaccination programme for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The WHO also hopes this latest recommendation will encourage scientists to develop more malaria vaccines.

Separately, the fight against malaria earlier in 2021 received a major boost when researchers from Britain’s Oxford University announced that their Matrix-M vaccine candidate had become the first to surpass the WHO’s threshold of 75-percent efficacy. Germany’s BioNTech, which developed a coronavirus vaccine with US giant Pfizer, also said it aimed to start trials for a malaria vaccine next year using the same breakthrough mRNA technology.

The Oxford team launched a phase-3 trial in summer 2021, enrolling 4,800 children in Burkina Faso, Mali, Kenya and Tanzania. If all goes as hoped, results could be submitted to regulators in late 2022.

Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford said that “in Africa, malaria has probably caused four times as many deaths as COVID-19 over the past year”.


by Ben Taylor

Air Tanzania grows, and struggles
Tanzania’s national airline, Air Tanzania (ATCL), maintained the rapid pace of growth in its fleet with the delivery of two new Airbus A220-300 aircraft in October 2021, in addition to the two similar craft received in 2018. Each plane holds 120 economy seats and 12 business class seats.

A week later, Tanzania made a down payment of USD $258.7m for the purchase of five additional new aircraft for the airline. The order includes cargo planes, which are all expected to be delivered before the end of 2023.

Aviation industry sources told The EastAfrican newspaper that the funds were approved by the current government despite heavy losses incurred by the carrier under a revival programme initiated by former president John Magufuli and the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

The planes, once they arrive in the country, will raise Air Tanzania’s current fleet size to 16. Air Tanzania also operates two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, two other Airbus A220-300s and five Bombardier Q-400/ Dash 8-400s. The aircraft are owned by the Government and ATCL is leasing them.

Further, Air Tanzania announced four new regional routes to be launched in November 2021 from Dar es Salaam to Bujumbura, Ndola, Lubumbashi and Nairobi. The first flight to Nairobi touched down on November 26, fifteen years after the last Air Tanzania flights to the Kenyan capital. Flights are scheduled twice daily between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Nevertheless, Air Tanzania continues to face major challenges. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the travel industry across the world and Tanzania is no exception. As a result, the company has ruled out the possibility of breaking even in 2022 contrary to their initial plans.

In October, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) listed ATCL as having borrowed money without going through the correct approval process. Specifically, the committee concluded that the company had borrowed just under TSh 900m without the approval of the Ministry of Finance as required by law.

The PAC’s investigations were prompted by an audit report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Mr Charles Kichere, released in March, which found that ATCL had incurred losses worth TSh 150 billion in the five years to 2020. Mr Kichere said ATCL aircraft travelling abroad run the risk of being impounded because of the huge debts and the related interests.

Roads and bridges in Dar es Salaam
In December, President Samia Suluhu Hassan officially opened a newly-widened 4.3 km section of New Bagamoyo Road, phase II, linking Morocco junction and Mwenge junction, as part of the government strategy to decongest the city. She stated that the government will continue with the efforts to strengthen road funds as well as securing adequate funding for the maintenance of all roads in the country.

Works and Transport Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa said the Mwenge-Morocco section had been constructed at a cost of TSh 71.8bn, funded by the government of Japan.

“The completion of widening of New Bagamoyo road will not only reduce traffic congestion but also reduce accidents to the users and ensure smooth transportation to and from Dar es Salaam city,” said Eng Mbarawa.

Other road projects in the city experienced slight delays however, that meant they were not able to officially open on schedule in 2021.
This includes the newly-expanded eight-lane highway linking Kimara in Dar es Salaam to Kibaha in the Coast Region. The government explained the delay in completing the project, citing some adjustments in the project as the main factor. “We saw the need to construct feeder roads, a bridge at Mbezi Kwa Yusufu and a flyover at Goba-Mbezi to ease traffic plying the Goba-Segerea route,” he said. This is expected to delay the official inauguration of the road by several months.

New Selander Bridge in Dar es Salaam, linking Oyster Bay to the city centre near the Aga Khan hospital (GS E&C)

More imminent is the launch of the New Selander Bridge in Dar es Salaam, linking Oyster Bay with Barack Obama Drive (formerly Ocean Road) in the city centre near the Aga Khan hospital. Construction was completed in December 2021, leaving only minor works (security barriers) remaining before the bridge can open.

At a cost of TSh 256 bn, this is the largest development project funded by the South Korean government in Africa. It measures 670m in length and combines the characteristics of a girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge to make it lighter. “Basically the bridge the construction has been completed and the construction of the barriers will be completed soon. We could have allowed one side to be used but we decided to wait until we are done with the barriers,” said the Tanroads’ Chief Executive Officer, Rogatus Mativila.

Once open, the bridge is expected to radically improve connections between the Msasani peninsula and the city centre. It will have the capacity to carry 55,000 vehicles per day, easing congestion at the old Selander Bridge, which has been a major bottleneck for many years.

Bagamoyo back on the table?
President Samia Suluhu Hassan has taken steps to revive the stalled Bagamoyo Port and Special Economic Zone (BSEZ) project, inviting Chinese investors back to the table.

Previously, under President Kikwete in 2013, the government had reached agreement with the investors – China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) and Oman’s State General Reserve Fund – for the project, costing USD $10bn. However, in 2016, President Magufuli dismissed the it, saying it was exploitative and inappropriate. He said the Chinese financiers had set “tough conditions that can only be accepted by mad people,” and argued that the project was incompatible with the ongoing expansion of Dar es Salaam port.

Speaking at the Summit of the National Business Council, President Hassan announced “the good news that we have started talks to revive the whole project. We are going to start talks with the investors that came for the project with the aim of opening it for the benefit of our nation.”
It would be the largest port in East Africa, and was a key component in China’s $900-billion Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious transnational infrastructure building programme.

Analysts speaking in responses requested anonymity in reporting their views. One stated that the investors were unable to respond to some of the “gravely false statements” by those against the project because the statements were being put forward by senior figures who they would not want to engage into tussles with. Another argued that the whole project could create as many 270,000 jobs in its first phase.

ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe shared similar sentiments, saying by cancelling the BSEZ, Tanzania was simply losing its international reputation to its strategic partners like China and Oman. “The Bagamoyo project was a very important venture for the Chinese President’s Belt and Road Initiative. The failure of this project indicated a diplomatic weakness of our country, which is costly for the development of our country,” he says.

Renowned economist, Prof Samuel Wangwe, said what Tanzanian negotiators needed was to know what value addition the country wanted by developing Bagamoyo Port. “It’s about ensuring that the development of the port complements the Dar es Salaam port,” he said.


by Ben Taylor

Taifa Stars fall short in World Cup qualifying
The national men’s football team, Taifa Stars, fell agonisingly short of winning their qualifying group for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. After an impressive 1-0 away win against Benin and a 1-1 draw away at DR Congo in earlier matches, Tanzania led the group going into the final two matches in November 2021. However, a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to DR Congo in the penultimate match left the Stars with only a slim chance of qualifying, and results of the final matches did not go their way.

Winger Saimon Msuva, at times deputising for the team’s sole international star, Mbwana Samatta, as striker, delivered three goals in six qualifying matches. This result means Taifa Stars have narrowly missed out on qualifying for two major tournaments in 2021. In March the team finished third in their qualifying group for the Cup of African Nations, after conceding a goal in the 90th minute away to Equatorial Guinea.

Tanzanian athletes return empty handed from Tokyo
Tanzania sent a team of three competitors to the 2020 Olympics, held in Tokyo in July-August 2021. All three were marathon runners, two in the men’s race – Gabriel Gerald Geay and Alphonce Felix Simbu – and one in the women’s race – Failuna Matanga. Matanga finished in 24th position, while Simbu finished in a highly creditable 7th place. In very difficult running conditions (due to heat), Geay was one of 30 runners in the men’s race who did not complete the course.


by Donovan McGrath

Tanzanian opposition leader Freeman Mbowe in court to face charges
(Aljazeera online – UAE) Extract: Freeman Mbowe, leader of Tanzania’s main opposition party, has appeared in court to face “terrorism” charges, in a case denounced by his supporters as a politically motivated move aimed at crushing dissent. The 59-year-old chairman of the Chadema party has been behind bars since July 21 when he was arrested along with other senior party officials in a night-time police raid just hours before they were to hold a public forum to demand constitutional reforms… The opposition has denounced the arrests as a throwback to the oppressive rule of Tanzania’s late leader John Magufuli who died suddenly in March. There had been hope that [Salmia Suluhu] Hassan would bring about a new era of democracy after the increasingly heavy-handed rule of Magufuli but Chadema leaders say the arrests of Mbowe and his colleagues reflect a deepening slide into “dictatorship”…. (31 August 2021) Thanks to John Rollinson who informed me of two brief mentions of Freeman Mbowe’s court appearances published in the weekly politics section of the Economist – Editor

‘No power to stop it’: optimism turns to frustration over east Africa pipline
(Guardian online – UK) Promised an income, those affected by $20bn oil project are losing their land and resources instead. Extract continues: The villagers in the Kijungu settlements welcomed the project when the route was announced in 2017, hoping that the government and companies involved would buy their land and change their lives for good. Their optimism has since given way to frustration. Adrin Tugume, 53, depends on her land to feed her 10 children and sell bananas, cassava, beans and maize. Although construction is not yet under way, she has been asked to stay off the portion of land where the pipeline will be built. “I was stopped from using my land for three years. It is where we get food for our children… The opposition to the project is not just about humanitarian concerns. The east African crude oil pipeline (EACOP) will transport oil 900 miles (1,450km) from the shores of Lake Albert on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo through Tanzania to the port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean… Uganda and Tanzania signed agreements with the French oil and gas company Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The pipeline will pass through the habitats of at-risk species. It could jeopardise community water sources and pollute the air, and its construction will be intrusive and noisy. In Shinyanga in Tanzania, local government authorities have admitted that environmental disturbance is inevitable. The $20bn (£14.8bn) project … comes as world leaders are aiming to divest from fossil fuels. The pipeline will contribute to the climate crisis, locking in more oil use and planet heating emissions for decades to come. Total did not respond to a request for comment, while CNOOC’s spokesperson said it was committed to avoiding environmental damage… In Tanzania … an environmental impact statement prepared for the companies noted that vulnerable or endangered species had been found in the pipeline’s path, including elephants, hippos and lions… (7 November 2021)

Tanzania: Seven die in Zanzibar after eating poisonous turtle meat
(BBC online – UK) Seven people, including a three-year-old, have died on Tanzania’s Pemba Island after eating poisonous turtle meat. Extract continues: The meat is a common delicacy among those living on Tanzania’s islands and coastal areas but the authorities have now banned the consumption of turtles in the area. In rare cases turtle meat can be toxic because of a type of food poisoning known as chelonitoxism. Its exact cause is not known but it is thought to be linked to poisonous algae which the turtles eat, according to the Turtle Foundation charity. At least five families on Pemba, which is part of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar islands, ate the turtle meat … local police commander Juma Said Hamis told the BBC. The effects were first felt the next day and the three-year-old was the first to die. Two others died that night and then four more [later on]. A further 39 people were admitted to hospital… [I]n Madagascar, 19 people, including nine children, died after eating turtle meat, the AFP news agency reported at the time. Cases have also been reported in Indonesia, Micronesia and India’s Indian Ocean islands. (29 November 2021)

Twitter removes more than 3,000 accounts related to state-linked operations from countries including China, Russia and Mexico
(Mail online – UK) Extract: …The Twitter accounts that were removed were linked to operations attributed to six countries: Mexico, China, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda and Venezuela. In a blog post, Twitter said that ‘every account and piece of content associated with these operations has been permanently removed from the service.’ … It is not yet known how Twitter knew which accounts to remove, but the blog post did outline that: … [in the case of Tanzania] A network of 268 accounts dedicated to filing bad faith reports against free speech platform Fichua Tanzania were removed … (2 December 2021)

In conversation with Jane Goodall on climate change – and remaining hopeful for the future
(Washington Post online – USA) Extract: A half century ago, Jane Goodall was spending months at a time sitting in the Gombe forest in what is now Tanzania waiting for wild chimps to approach her so that she could observe their behaviour. Her superhuman patience paid off. The young researcher discovered that chimps are more like us than we had imagined – lavishing affection on their young, forming social hierarchies, making tools and even warring with rival bands. But Goodall says that her most vital work began when she left the forest and started traveling across the globe to talk about climate change and the tragic loss of biodiversity. The pandemic has kept the 87-year-old naturalist at home in Bournemouth, England, where she continues to speak out online, especially with young people participating in “Roots & Shoots,” a volunteer program which she organized that empowers young people in 60 countries to work in their communities to improve the lives of humans, animals and the environment. She’s also been working on “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” [published October 2021]. In a series of dialogues with co-author Douglas Abrams, she spells out her four reasons for hope: the amazing human intellect; the resilience of nature; the power of young people; and the indomitable human spirit. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Goodall spoke on climate change, the state of the planet and why she has not yet given up hope on the human species… Q: Isn’t it a bit audacious to come out with a book about hope at this moment when so many are feeling anxious and fearful? What makes you hopeful? A: I was 5 years old when World War II began. There was a time when Britain stood alone in Europe against the might of Nazi Germany. The rest of Europe was overrun and defeated, or they capitulated. Actually there was no good reason for hope. We didn’t have the defenses. We hadn’t built up an adequate army, navy or air force. But we did have some very brave young men, and we had [Winston] Churchill saying “We’ll fight on the beaches, we’ll fight in the cities, we’ll fight in the lanes and we will not be defeated.” I think we can prevail now with the same spirit… “We will defeat covid, we will fight to prevent another pandemic.” Q: Some people say that we need to go through a period of real destruction before humans are moved to actually change the way we operate. A: Well yes, when I say “good news” don’t get me wrong, but the good news for climate change is that no longer is it mainly in the news about countries like Bangladesh, but it’s hitting the Western world. Think of the recent Hurricane Ida in the U.S., think of the flooding in Europe. It’s when people get personally hit by these things that they start to realize – “Wow, this is really terrible we need to do something about it.” Q: Much of the land around Gombe forest has been deforested. You speak in the book about how you’ve been inspired by young people and others are helping to restore it. A: Years ago I flew over this bleak landscape, the Gombe Forest surrounded by bare hills because there were more people than the land could support struggling to survive, cutting down the trees on the slopes in a desperate effort to get more land for crops and to make charcoal. That’s when it hit me: If we don’t help these people to find ways of making a living without destroying the environment, we can’t save chimps, forests or anything else. Now we don’t have bare hills around Gombe thanks to our TACARE [or “Take Care”] program, which has been planting trees and working with the villagers to help improve their lot. Alleviating poverty is a major task. But we need to do it if we are going to save the environment… Q: You say in your new book that humans are intellectual but not necessarily intelligent. What’s the difference? A: The intellect solves problems and it can do intricate mathematics and work out what’s out there in the universe, galaxies and solar systems and so on. But if your intelligent, you don’t destroy your only home, that isn’t intelligent. We seem to have lost wisdom… (19 October 2021)

Britain moves to ban big-game hunters from bringing trophies back into country
(Washington Post online – USA) Extract: Trophies of endangered and threatened species killed by hunters will soon be banned from being shipped to Britain, according to a government proposal that has been called one of the toughest in the world. The proposed ban … would cover nearly 7,000 animal species, including lions, rhinoceroses and elephants that many big-game hunters seek. It would be notable for including some 1,000 animals with “near-threatened” status. Over the past half-century or so, the world’s wild animal population has dropped by an average of 68 percent across different monitored species, according to a World Wildlife report from 2020. The decrease is primarily attributed to the loss of natural habitat, although some species, such as the Plains zebra, are threatened by hunting… Big-game hunters say that they contribute to local economies, a point disputed by conservation groups, which regard the activity as cruel and bad for biodiversity… British hunting enthusiasts often travel abroad – top destinations for trophy hunters globally include Tanzania and Zimbabwe – where they can obtain licenses to shoot wild animals according to animal welfare advocacy groups… (11 December 2021)

Fossil footprints hint at mystery hominin with unusual walking style
(New Scientist online – UK) Extract: Ancient footprints that were originally thought to have been made by a bear walking on two legs were actually made by an extinct human species. The discovery means there are now three known sets of hominin footprints from the same locale in Tanzania. It isn’t clear which hominin species made the prints. The authors of a new study say they don’t match the other sets of footprints at Laetoli, a site in Tanzania, so were probably made by a different species. If this is true, it would mean that two hominin species coexisted in the same region at the same time… (1 December 2021)

Bidders for Unilever’s tea business pulled out on plantation concerns
(Business Fast online – UK) Extract: Two of the three final bidders for Unilever’s tea division baulked at taking on the company’s plantations because of concerns about working conditions, according to people familiar with the matter. The tea division, which included PG Tips and Lipton brands, was sold … to CVC Capital Partners for €4.5bn. But the Luxembourg-based buyout group was left as the only bidder willing to buy the whole division after Carlyle and Advent International decided they could not take on tea plantations in east Africa, which face difficult questions over human rights and fair pay… Advent had grown increasingly concerned about accepting responsibility for the health, welfare and security of thousands of plantation workers, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Bosses on the plantations have power not only over workers’ jobs but also their housing and medical care, as the sites are often in remote areas and rely on workers brought in from elsewhere… Around 8,500 people are permanently employed on the Unilever plantations in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, and this rises to about 16,000 when temporary workers are added in peak season, Unilever said… (19 November 2021)

Climate change will melt Africa’s last glaciers ‘within two decades’
(Times online – UK) Extract: Africa’s last mountain glaciers will disappear within two decades, the United Nations has said. The UN World Meteorological Organisation’s latest annual report said that the glaciers on Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Rwenzori range along the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda are receding faster than the global average and will have melted entirely by the 2040s. The glaciers of all three ranges have shrunk by more than 80 per cent in the past 100 years as a result of rising temperatures caused by man-made climate change. Mount Kenya is expected to be the first peak to lose its glaciers completely, with the ice at its summit forecast to melt away within the next 10 years…(24 October 2021)

Fastest growing cities in Africa 2021
(Business Insider Africa online – Nigeria) This article gives a top ten list of the fastest growing cities on the African continent in 2021, according to the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) research. Tanzania, which is of interest here, is listed in tenth place (Ghana’s capital, Accra, is listed in first place, and Nairobi in ninth place). Extract: According to Brahima Coulibaly, director of Brookings’ Africa Growth Initiative, “About half of the world’s fastest-growing economies will be located on the continent, with 20 economies expanding at an average rate of 5% or higher over the next five years, faster than the 3.6% rate for the global economy.” By 2050, Africa’s population is anticipated to reach about 2 billion inhabitants, and more economic activities are taking place, counterbalancing the increasing population. … Dar es Salaam has more than 6 million inhabitants making it the largest city in the country… Considering the population of 3.4 million from the census data obtained in 2005, it is projected that by 2025 the population of Dar es Salaam will be about 6.2 million [a rise of] 82%. (3 December 2021)


by Martin Walsh

SWAHILI SOCIAL LANDSCAPES: MATERIAL EXPRESSIONS OF IDENTITY, AGENCY, AND LABOUR IN ZANZIBAR, 1000-1400 CE (STUDIES IN GLOBAL ARCHAEOLOGY 26). Henriette Rødland. Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden, 2021. xii + 321 pp. (paperback and e-book). ISBN 978-91-506-2896-8 (print). Print copies available from online booksellers: free to download at

I am delighted to review Rødland’s work. Swahili Social Landscapes makes an important and thoughtful contribution to our study of Zanzibar’s rich history. Based on her doctoral dissertation, it focuses on the “social and productive landscapes” of Tumbatu and Mkokotoni. Tumbatu is an island off the northwestern coast of Unguja (Zanzibar) Island, while Mkokotoni lies on Unguja itself, across the channel from Tumbatu. Both sites were occupied between the 11th and 15th centuries CE.

This study questions traditional narratives of the Swahili that are based exclusively on Indian Ocean trade networks, Islam, stone towns, and hierarchically organised societies. Instead, Rødland explores how Swahili social identity and status were expressed through labour, foodways, gender, and material culture. In short, she seeks to decentre much of the focus of Swahili archaeology until now, looking instead at how social identities were created and maintained by other means. Thus, rather than focusing on how elites gained status through a display of imported ceramics, Rødland examines how space, craft production, and its attendant knowledge were all used to create and maintain identities. As Rødland points out, even though Tumbatu and Mkokotoni were part of ‘the Swahili World’, both sites revealed scant evidence for status distinction. Rødland interprets this to mean that imported material culture was not monopolised by an elite, but rather was available to most of the population.

Rødland’s assertion that the two sites were “neighbourhoods” of the same settlement, with Tumbatu being devoted to trade and Mkokotoni devoted to production, is backed up by strong evidence. It is difficult to disagree with her conclusion that space and its use played a powerful role in the creation of social identities.

My hope is that Rødland’s work will serve as a model for future conversations about the Swahili and the creation of identity. As Rødland notes, the term “Swahili” itself has been in use only for 200 years, and it is a term originally used by Omani Arabs to refer to some of the local population. Rødland’s wry observation that no one consulted the Swahili about their preferred identity hits home, especially in archaeological studies, where “Swahili” is used to describe peoples on the East African coast for at least the last millennium.

All in all, Rødland’s work shows us the importance of breaking from traditional narratives about the Swahili, and in exploring new ways in which precolonial African populations conceived of themselves and generated social identities. Hopefully, Rødland’s work heralds a new phase in the archaeology of the East African coast, where more nuance and sensitivity is employed to understand the past.

Akshay Sarathi
Akshay Sarathi is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University. His research concerns the movement of meat across landscapes. His current work is focused on the site of Unguja Ukuu, Zanzibar.

THE SLOPE OF KONGWA HILL: A BOY’S TALE OFAFRICA. Anthony R. Edwards. Agio Publishing House, Victoria BC, Canada, 2011. 420 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-897435-65-6. £22.89. Also available as an e-book: a pdf sampler can be downloaded from the publisher’s website here: http://www.

Kongwa town, 60 miles east of Dodoma, will be known to readers, first, for the cattle ranch of the National Ranching Company (NARCO), and secondly, for the British government’s notorious and ill-fated Groundnut Scheme of 1949-52 (reviewed in Tanzanian Affairs 129). But the Scheme left a legacy which is less well-known – first, the good health of the local people, nourished on a plentiful supply of groundnuts, and secondly, the establishment of Kongwa School for European children.

This book is the story of that school, seen through the eyes of a boy whose father served as Mayor of Lindi. Hundreds of children from many parts of East Africa attended the school from 1949 to 1958, when it moved to Iringa, until it was liquidated with the approach of independence. True to the English public school tradition, it featured fagging, bullying and corporal punishment – a life of misery for young children snatched from their mothers’ arms sometimes at far too young an age, but exciting for older teenagers who were asked to bring their rifles to school so that in times of meat scarcity they could go out and hunt their own. The beginnings of romantic experiences in this mixed school are described, also the hospitality and kindness received from local villagers on the rare occasions when a group of children broke bounds to go exploring. Even incursions from the Mau Mau of Kenya were thought to be a threat, but the incident when they set up camp near the school, communicating with one another by Morse code, was found to be a fictional tale invented by one boy’s over-fertile imagination.

Remnants of those far-off days are still visible – the English style village church on the hillside, the swimming pool, the hospital, the teachers’ houses called ‘Millionaires’ Row’, the railway station – all inherited from the Groundnut Scheme. Perhaps the most significant legacy is the local Mnyakongo Primary School, with 800 pupils using the same old buildings. In 2008 a group of now quite ancient alumni paid a nostalgic visit to their old School and were so warmly welcomed by the teachers and children of Mnyakongo that they have set up an ongoing partnership, with gifts of books and equipment, described in an appendix with a collection of photographs of those far off days both in Kongwa and in Lindi.

This book is a snapshot from the ‘bad old days’ of colonialism, but the school left in the minds of those boys and girls a love of Africa and a respect for Africans which makes old sentiments of racial superiority or segregation quite meaningless, and is bearing fruit 70 years later. The book is an easy read, interspersed with Swahili and Cigogo and full of personal touches.

Roger Bowen
Roger Bowen taught at St Philip’s Theological College, Kongwa, in the 1970s and chaired the Swahili Theology Textbooks programme of East Africa.

PROTECTED AREAS IN NORTHERN TANZANIA: LOCAL COMMUNITIES, LAND USE CHANGE, AND MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES (GEOTECHNOLOGIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT 22). Jeffrey O. Durrant, Emanuel H. Martin, Kokel Melubo, Ryan R. Jensen, Leslie A. Hadfield, Perry J. Hardin, and Laurie Weisler (editors). Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2020. viii + 179 pp. (paperback). ISBN: 978-3-030-43304-8. £69.99. Also available in hardback and as an e-book.

This edited collection of papers on Protected Areas in Northern Tanzania is the outcome of a collaboration between the College of African Wildlife Management at Mweka and researchers – mostly geographers – at Brigham Young University in the United States. Following a foreword by the Rector of Mweka, Professor Jafari R. Kideghesho, the volume is introduced with a brief overview of Tanzania’s protected area system and its history by Jeffrey O. Durrant and Rebecca Formica. This introductory chapter is followed by eleven more on different aspects of protected area and natural resource management in northern Tanzania.

In order to give potential readers a fair idea of this book’s varied contents, the following paragraphs are taken from the summary that is tacked onto the end of the opening chapter:

“Chapter 2 illustrates some of the real costs of population growth and modern society’s move toward mass production of agriculture, such as at coffee plantations. While cavity-nesting birds have done well in protected areas, [Hamadi] Dulle et al. found the birds are facing some irreversible forces through population growth and changes in land use outside of protected areas. Dulle et al. found that heavy losses of deadwood near coffee plantations are negatively impacting cavity-nesting birds. Dulle et al. examined the effects of providing artificial nesting boxes and suggest them as one option to address losses of these nesting birds that is seen as irreversible.

[Leslie] Hadfield takes a historic look at how Africa’s colonial past is impacting current tourist interaction with the porters and guides on Mount Kilimanjaro (Chap. 3). Hadfield examines how some attitudes from the use of porters in colonial expeditions have evolved to modern-day tourism. Even with current porter organization efforts to prevent colonial-type practices that require constant service to outsiders with little regard for the health and well-being of the local porters and guides, challenges such as heavy loads, poor equipment, and inadequate food and safety remain.

Looking at Arusha National Park, [Obeid] Mahenya [and Naomi Chacha] (Chap. 4) study how the individualized impacts to those living nearby affected their attitudes toward the Park. Mahenya et al.’s [sic] study found that the attitudes of locals were more positive toward Arusha National Park in relation to giraffes, since giraffes present few problems to the residents and are associated with the positive benefits of tourists. However, more negative attitudes resulted from interactions with more destructive animals such as baboons or when people had been fined for domestic livestock grazing in the Park.

Similarly, [Kokel] Melubo et al. (Chap. 5) found that having personal experiences in protected areas contributed to better attitudes and ability to manage protected areas. Melubo et al. studied students at CAWM who had been involved in a wilderness training program that involved at least a short overnight experience in a protected area. Students who participated in these programs were found to be better equipped to operate and manage protected areas in their future careers.

Extending the theme of effective protected area management, [Rehema Abeli] Shoo evaluates the impact of having an effective management structure in place on the success of ecotourism (Chap. 6). Shoo found that a sound management plan can help managers avoid obstacles that often prevent successful ecotourism, such as environmental deterioration and inequitable development among the local communities. Shoo studied Lake Natron, which has a high potential for ecotourism development However, Shoo found that without a sound general management plan, Lake Natron suffered from inadequate funding at the operational level, lack of mechanisms to secure a fair distribution of ecotourism benefits, and poorly developed tourism infrastructure and facilities that reduced the potential for successful ecotourism at the park.

[Alfan] Rjia and [Jafari] Kideghesho examined nine poacher’s strategies used in the Serengeti ecosystem (Chap. 7). They argue that increased enforcement of wildlife crimes has influenced adaptability in poacher’s strategies. Field rangers and wildlife managers can use the nine strategies they described to more effectively combat wildlife crimes, and the authors provide three recommendations to help inform field patrols and other mitigation efforts.

In Chap. 8, [Alex] Kisingo and [Professor] Kidegheso present findings from previous community governance studies using a V3 model. They found some changes in community governance with regard to conservation, livelihood improvement, and social benefits. They also note some setbacks in community governance that need to be addressed. Several chapters examine biophysical characteristics of protected areas in northern Tanzania.

[Emmanuel] Martin et al. (Chap. 9) used temporal remote sensing data to study land use and land cover change near the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor in northern Tanzania. They found that while a paved road provided better connections between two towns, it also impacted animal movement between two national parks by providing a physical obstacle and bringing in more settlement. Satellite remote sensing data showed that over time, the most significant changes were from bare ground to “savanna with some agriculture” and “agriculture with some grassland.”

[Gideon] Mseja et al. used transect lines in Mkomazi National Park to count wild animals as ground reference information for the population density (Chap. 10). A total of 22 species were estimated, and African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) was the most common species, while Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) was the least. Mseja et al. suggest other methods be used to count more elusive species. For example, camera traps could be used to estimate carnivores and dung counts for elephants. The combination of these methods can give a benchmark for future population estimates.

In Chap. 11, [Emmanuel] Martin et al. used MODIS land cover data and scripts in Google Earth to examine vegetation change within Mkomazi National Park in northeastern Tanzania both before and after it became a national park in 2008. The data showed relatively subtle changes and most likely reflect that only subtle changes in land management policy have occurred since its conversion from two separate game reserves.

Finally, in Chap. 12, [Professor] Kideghesho et al. review the challenging dynamics between wildlife conservation and human population growth and urbanization. The authors provide recommendations on the best manner to minimize the negative impacts of human population growth on large mammals.”

As this summary indicates, this is very much a mixed bag of papers, and there isn’t a very strong or even coherent theme to the volume. The nature of the collaboration between the two institutions involved is not explained, and the book appears to have been assembled hastily and without proper proofreading. A paragraph introducing the above summary of chapters is repeated word for word, except that the first time round (on p. 11) it states that the book has eight further chapters, and the next time (on p. 12) it says ten, when there are actually eleven more chapters.

This is not good enough for a publisher of Springer Nature’s status and such a costly volume. No doubt many researchers will find something of interest in this collection, but I suspect that most would rather consult it in a library than dig into their purses and wallets.
Martin Walsh
Martin Walsh is the Book Reviews Editor of Tanzanian Affairs.

Also noticed:
BIRDS OF EAST AFRICA: KENYA, TANZANIA, UGANDA, RWANDA, BURUNDI. SECOND EDITION (HELM FIELD GUIDES). Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe. Illustrated by John Gale and Brian Small. Helm, London, 2020. 640 pp., 287 colour plates (paperback). ISBN: PB: 978-1-4081-5736-7. £31.50. Also available in hardback and as an e-book.

This new edition of Birds of East Africa substantially updates the first, which appeared in 2002 and is described by the publisher as “the best-selling Helm field guide of all time” – a reflection, in part, of its comprehensiveness and the popularity of birding in East Africa. The authors describe the changes they have made to the species accounts as follows:

“This second edition covers 1,448 species, which represents around 70% of the birds that have been recorded in sub-Saharan Africa. […] Recent taxonomic changes include the creation of three new families: Modulatricidae, Nicatoridae, Hyliotidae.

Although our knowledge is steadily increasing, there is still an enormous amount to learn about East Africa’s birds. New species and races are still being described: Udzungwa Forest-partridge, not only a new bird but also a new genus to science, was found in the montane forests of south-central Tanzania in 1991. New species in this edition include range extensions, taxa now considered specifically distinct, and additional scarce and vagrant species.

In our first edition, the taxonomy and nomenclature were largely based on the East African list that was published in 1980 (Britton, P. L. 1980, Birds of East Africa, East Africa Natural History Society). Since then, the growth in birding and citizen science worldwide has seen the emergence of four major global lists: the IOC World Bird List, the Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, the eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World (in collaboration with Cornell University), and the HBW (Handbook of the Birds of the World) and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist. All of these lists are compared online by the comprehensive and regularly updated resource, Avibase.

While taking close account of the first edition and the three other global lists, we have chosen to base the majority of this revised Birds of East Africa on the HBW/BirdLife taxonomy and nomenclature. Throughout, we have provided alternative common names, as well as explaining any scientific name changes in notes. Although this means that a number of changes in common names have occurred, we hope that it actually represents a move towards wider stability in names, both in East Africa and worldwide. If hyphens and capitalisation are excluded, there is agreement on 85% of the common names in the HBW/ BirdLife, IOC and eBird/Clements lists. For the birding community, working together to agree and stabilise taxonomy is crucial for citizen science and conservation.”

As this implies, birders will always find something to quibble about. But whichever way you look at it, this is a superb resource. My main wish, as with the first edition, is that arrows had been used on the distribution maps to indicate the presence of species on the region’s larger islands. Those tiny splotches of colour can be hard to see without a magnifying glass.

Martin Walsh