Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ICT syllabus now included in curriculum for teachers in Tanzania

THE government has introduced an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) program to be included in the curriculum of teachers’ colleges in order to enable teachers in the country master and take control of issues pertaining to ICT development.

The program which has been sponsored by the Swedish government effectively from this year, was launched by the Swedish Ambassador accredited in the country Mr. Staffan Harristromill.

The Tshs. 4.25 billion (US$ 4 million) Swedish funded program aimed at attaining four major objectives, namely availability of experts who are to disseminate the said education in teachers’ colleges, availability of necessary equipment particularly computers and other relevant machines, training on the use of computers and application of technology in respective areas and sectors.

The move aims at ensuring that all graduates from teachers’ colleges are versed with the technology and later would be able to disseminate it in both primary and in secondary schools in the country.

The launching had come at an opportune time when the country is currently experiencing shortages of teachers, hence with the said technology, a teacher would be capable of teaching three classes at a go. The Swedish government would continue working jointly with Tanzania in other important issues.
Improvement of the education sector was part of Tanzania’s National Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, a saying that is popularly known as ‘Mkukuta’ in the local Kiswahili language, and the donor funding nation would work effectively towards ensuring the country is keeping abreast of international modern technology.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Is CCM’s stance a legitimate political standpoint?

I think that, it’s now high time for African governments including Tanzania to change on their political trend and focus on the formation of coalition governments as this is the only way to end up political indifferences currently dominating in the continent. Most political chaos across the region are exacerbated by one group that tend to monopolize people’s power.

Ruling parties in most governments are the main causers of most problems arising in their governments, these problems arises as a result of their refusal to accept the idea of power sharing deal, like what is presently happening in the country whereby CUF, the main opposition party is accusing CCM the ruling party of violating the agreements signed during peace talks in the Isles.

The recent walkout of the opposition legislators from the National Assembly in Dodoma town in protest against the ruling party CCM’s recent move to postpone implementation of an agreement to form a coalition government in Zanzibar sealed between CCM and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) early this year, signifies yet another era of disappointment on the Isles political atmosphere.
A move shown by CUF members in parliament may be is to seek for the lasting solution of the peace accord signed in 2001, this was after the second multi-party general election held on the previous year. The two parties signed an agreement to form the government of national unity in Zanzibar.

CUF members came out very strongly indeed, saying it wanted an outright implementation of the agreement and that it would not go back to the negotiating table. Delay in the implementation of peace accord is an attitude that the ruling party and its government can regret in future.

This shows that the ruling party, CCM has resolved not to effect a power sharing agreement on the politically troubled Zanzibar. “There is a popular saying that, “Justice delayed, is Justice denied”. We must all agree the fact that CCM is reluctant to implement the agreed peace accord.

Instead, the party is diverting the trend on shelving an outright execution of the power sharing deal. The ruling party, CCM through its National Executive Committee has brought in a new idea of a referendum proposing collection of views from the people of Zanzibar regarding the formation of a coalition government.

It is a fact without hiding up the truth that, greedy politicians are likely to plug Zanzibar yet into another wave of crisis after political chaos in 2001 which left dozens dead and hundreds displaced.

Political analysts maintain that, there was a great possibility for Zanzibar to have a coalition government because, like many other countries in Africa now when it reaches a point whereby people want such governments and are given without resistance.

Tracing back the historic happenings of the Isles since the first multi-party general election of 1995, there had been life threatening posters which were being distributed during Dr. Salmin Amour’s administration which at the end of the day resulted in bloodshed.

I think time is ripe for politicians vested with the truth to make decisions on behalf of the people to act now before it’s too late. Time is running out, and it should be running out for greedy politicians forming big chunk of political monarchies who understands nothing but holding leadership of the country even if in doing so they risk loosing the will of the people

There is no point of asking a question which the people of Zanzibar have legitimately issued a clear answer for it not once but thrice. The last three multi-party general elections where the ruling CCM and the opposition CUF were tied, reflect the will of people in the Isles.

Political monarchies should not speak for them because their voices were loud and clear in 1995, 2000 and 2005 general elections respectively. Instead they should just give what suit them like a national unity government.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Introducing mobile banking in Tanzania

TANZANIAN Vodacom subscribers will soon benefit from e-banking services to be introduced by Vodacom Tanzania branch, the leading cellular phone operating company in the country.

This giant company will become the first mobile phone operator providing the service in the country. It will also be the third in Africa after Vodacom South Africa and Safaricom Kenya. Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director Mr Dietlof Mare said recently that the major technical issues had already been completed, and the operator would soon launch the new service.

According to him, the company is waiting for an official regulatory approval by the Bank of Tanzania. Once approved, the service would be made available in the country as from April 28, this year. The service known as ‘Vodafone M- Pesa’, would see users easily making financial transactions, including money transfers using their mobile phones.

Vodacom customers would register at any authorized M-Pesa agent where they would also be given handsets for that purpose, and be able to deposit and withdraw e-money credited into their M-Pesa account.

With e-money, customers will be able to send money to any other mobile customer via a simple text-based transaction. Recipients of such transfers will be able to convert the e-money back into cash at any authorized M-Pesa agent across the country.

This new service will also enable customers to make payments, and transfer cash, even to subscribers of other networks, in the same way banks do. But, the mobile banking service is more convenient, secure and offers competitive charges compared to other formal services.

Subscribers who cannot afford opening accounts with traditional banks would also get the chance to transact using the service. Vodacom Tanzania is one of the leading mobile operators in the country, now with over 4.1 million customers. The award winning mobile banking service was first introduced by UK’s Vodafone, and taken up by Safaricom in Kenya last year where it become an instant hit, registering over 20,000 customers within the first month of its launch.

Out of the available ICTs which are usable as new media facilities, the application of mobile telephony has to a greater extent improved communications for the rural people in Tanzania and Africa as whole despite of its advanced technology in use.

This can support participatory development as well as allow the voices of the people to be heard through a range of options that can be operated individually or within small networks not requiring elaborate infrastructure.

The use of ICTs has gone into overdrive, as a good number of innovations cementing real concrete results begin manifesting themselves. Although the ground is still the bottom line and the sky the limit, the use of mobile phones has reinforced initiatives in areas that were particularly averse to the use of any modern ICT as one of the ways of getting the much needed information.

Far away from being looked at as luxurious gadgets that diminish people’s incomes, people have come up with innovations that have placed mobile phones as one of the major tools for community mobilization and dissemination.

The use of mobile phones in African rural communities have a significant impact that provides immense opportunities to promote and foster aspects of human development in terms of social, economic, education and cultural political development.

Businessmen, farmers, teachers, engineers, doctors, ordinary people and any other professional body of all walks of life elsewhere in the world use the facility for communication purposes and for the mutual benefit of their gain and nation as well.

Various studies shows that new media facilities leapfrog the development divide and accelerate efforts to combat poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy in a bid to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

BWM special economic zone, a slow moving economic investment project

TANZANIAN government is currently constructing a multi billion worth of an economic project zone which on its completion, will be hired to the prospective investors to run their businesses and later earns the government with money.

The project by the name of ‘Benjamin William Mkapa’s Special Economic Zone’ (BWM) is under the Ministry of Planning and Economic Empowerment. It was named after the President of the third phase government whose term ended in December 2005.

The project is located at Mabibo suburb on the outskirts of the city of Dar es Salaam and is expected to create several job opportunities for Tanzanians on its completion, and between 3,000 and 5,000 people are expected to be employed.

The project was established with the objectives to contribute to the acceleration of the growth of Tanzania’s economy to at least to the tune of between 8 and 10 percent increase respectively.

In early February this year, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee visited the site to see for its development. After having checked the important documents in files, the committee found that the project had spent over Tshs. 24 billion (US$ 22 million) against its initial budget the government had set aside of Tshs. 14 billion (US$ 12 million). This was for the first phase construction which was earlier on expected to be finished after 18 months’ time, but due to some inconveniences the construction process had been extended than it was earlier expected.

Despite of the excessive use of the money which is said to have been spent on this project up to now, and a report issued to the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, it was later discovered that, its development had slowed down due to misappropriation of funds targeted mainly through illegal purchase of the building materials and other things. This issue has not yet been made open to the general public as well as in parliamentary debate chambers.

However, one member of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, Hon. Dr. Abdallah Kigoda (an MP for Handeni constituency), ordered the responsible persons and the assigned contractor to state truthfully about the expenditure incurred in this project. But it’s surprising to note that, the matter has been kept in drawing boards up to now.

Work in progress at Benjamin Mkapa economic zone at Mabibo in Dar-es-Salaam.

Dr. Kigoda was the former Minister of State responsible for Economic Planning and Privatization of the third phase government and who engineered the development of this project while in his capacity.

Monday, April 7, 2008


What do you think is the most important thing people need in order to develop? There are so many answers to this question, But perhaps, the most important of all is education and the applied curriculum out of which people gets “Knowledge”. Without knowledge, it means the affected society is subjected to brain drain.

It’s a well known fact that, in order to account for human development, knowledge is one of the most important thing to be considered, and it’s always considered as an element of hope that helps speed up every sphere of mankind development. Knowledge comes about after acquiring skills and experience on doing something practically, the two qualities drives the concept within peoples’ mind and conclude that ‘Knowledge Matters’ in all aspects of human development. People becomes skilful after having acquired enough trainings on a particular subject taught.

Have you ever heard of somebody saying or asking a friend to help look for someone who is competent and knowledgeable enough to perform a certain task that he or she might be ignorant about? I think most of you might have heard and probably have involved in one way or another to help seek for knowledgeable persons to accomplish the intended task. A trend of this imagination happened to me when I was looking for someone to guide me on how to create a blog which you are now enjoying reading. I had no alternative whatsoever but to admit the fact that, I do not know how to create one.

Someone came for my rescue when I contacted him for this purpose, Mr. Ilunga Khalifa a.k.a CP, is an IT expert and a professional designer based in Dar es Salaam city. Good enough, he also runs a blog popularly known as SIMUYANGUKAMERA.

With this introductory remarks, I hereby welcome esteemed readers of all walks of life wherever they are to exchange ideas and share experiences wherever possible. It’s my sincere hope that you would make comments wherever necessary for that matter. My views in this blog are general and mostly would target regular news reports, general feature stories, personal issues and more preferably ICT news.

You are welcomed

Promoting rural electrification to upgrade ICT development

IN this part of the world, when governments talk of infrastructural development, electricity is considered among the most important commodities. Others are roads and telecommunication networks.

Electricity, being the most powerful energy source is vital in every aspects of national economy as well as in human life. Electricity enables an effective use of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), other than any other energy source.

Important ICT components such as the computers, televisions, internet, faxes, cellular phones and many others, have proved ineffective in use to the majority of the people in both urban and in rural communities because of lack of reliable electricity supply.

Instead, most rural people are dependent on the availability of the solar panels and batteries whose voltaic power is not enough to provide economically viable technological solutions to raise a number of ICTs issues for their development.

Therefore in order to cater for the use of these superhighways, rural electrification initiative is an important milestone, and in this case the supply of electricity has to be prioritized.

Currently the main users of solar energy are water pumping machines, telecommunication plants, radio call communication components, and domestic vaccine refrigeration.

The rapid progress of the technologies in the world will open completely new opportunities to attain higher levels of development if there is abundant supply of electricity in both urban and in rural communities so as to hasten the development of the country’s social and economic sectors.

Tanzania is in the challenging position of being part of the global economy with its imperatives of innovation, speed and profit and therefore in view of this, it must embrace and harness the ICT use to succeed in pushing the wave of digital economy.

Based on this understanding, and coupled with the gradual ICT’s growth, most villages in the country do not have access to the ICT tools in order to participate in the global market, an aspect that still keeps them backward in terms of development.

Study shows that although 800 million people in developing countries have been connected to power grids in the last two decades, two billion people, mostly in rural communities still do not have access to electricity and modern energy services.

The African countries that find themselves in these have many difficulties to contend with, and among the most vital is to cover energy requirements. Energy is fundamental to fulfilling basic social needs for economic and social development and, not least, combating desertification.

Connecting low population densities in remote rural communities to a national grid can be costly, and often people opt to use renewable energy sources which are given impractical alternatives such as biomass, wind power, mini and micro-hydroelectric projects and energy conservation, solar power, and small diesel or petrol generators.

All these plans call for massive capital investments both in local and foreign, an aspect that most African governments cannot come up with for the necessary funding of their own. Despite the specificities of each African country, rural Africa has many things in common that influence the way the issue of energy development should be approached.

In early 2006, the European Commission(EU) proposed a Euro 250 million (US$ 320 million) grant to help African and Caribbean countries increase investments in energy projects, and the facility was expected to be available by early next year.

Mr. Laurent Ditrick, an energy officer at the Directorate of Development at the EU headquarters in Brussels-Belgium noted that, the facility is expected to be an additional boost to investors which will catalyze investment in rural electrification initiatives already being promoted in several African countries.

According to him, the grant is expected to attract additional funding, which is currently a key challenge in Africa.

Uganda has particularly established a rural electrification project and major donors like the World Bank have already committed support towards the initiatives, according to him, EU is doing a lot of work much further and considerably boost the provision of energy services to the poor.

The most prioritizing areas for funding, however, he noted that will include delivery of energy services, creating an enabling environment and facilitating future large scale investment to reach a substantial number of rural people and to improve access to modern energy services.

According to EU’s estimates, Africa’s continent is endowed with a wide range of energy resources including solar, hydro and bio-gas. But Africa today utilizes only 7 percent of its total hydroelectric energy potential. In most countries on the continent, less than 5 percent of the population has access to electricity.

The availability of electricity is not only essential for ICT development, the commodity can facilitate the establishment of small businesses or improve the services rendered by businesses accommodated in the house.

Rural electrification enables processing of agro-productions and the development of small-scale industries to expand. Such an establishment reduces migration of youths to urban centers as well as protecting the environment.

What is more with electricity in place is that employment opportunities for the youths and other people can be created and there would be many openings of getting jobs and this reduces significantly the problem of unemployment which now bedevils most towns and cities in developing countries.

Currently in Tanzania, only a small percentage of the people enjoy the benefits of electricity. This has raised several questions including whether poverty is the cause. But the country has a long way to go to effectively establishing the ICT network in rural communities to achieve the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Stakeholders have to adhere with the National energy policy calls for adequate energy supplies to enable the IT and other sectors such as the Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining, Commerce and Small industries to grow, says Dr. Cuthbert Kimambo of the University of Dar es Salaam.

The electricity sub sector is largely dominated by a state owned enterprise, Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) which has a vertically integrated monopoly in the generation and supply of electricity in the country.

Power generation is largely hydro-based with three main stations: Mtera, Kidatu, and Kihansi linked together through the national grid. The private sector is invited to participate in developing power generating projects. The only private investors to take the opportunity so far are Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) and Songas Limited.

The giant power supply company in the country, TANESCO, through its rural electrification department has indeed reinforced its responsibilities of ensuring work on rural electrification projects since the program was announced in the country in 1970’s.

The main task of the department is therefore to guide the company to achieve its goals out of its rural electrification project programs with initial focus on district headquarters in the country.

In general, the majority of TANESCO customers in the country are in urban areas especially in the city of Dar es Salaam which alone consumes about 50 percent of power generated in the country, while small portions are in rural areas.

According to company’s Rural Electrification Manager, Eng. Makala .E. Kingu, only about 11 percent of Tanzanians have access to electricity while only about 1 percent of the rural population have access to electricity.

He says that, all regional headquarters in the country are already electrified, and 89 out of 105 district headquarters are already electrified. This is about 84.8 percent of the work done since the country attained its independence in 1961. Currently 16 districts are not yet electrified, but plans are underway to ensure that they get electricity.

According to him, the major challenge facing the department and indeed the whole company is top ensure that 89 percent of the remaining population have access to electricity, this requires huge investment, hence the need for investors both international and local to participate in expanding the country’s power sector.

In outlining the problems of the rural electrification in Tanzania, Mr. Kingu noted that most of the projected areas are not accessible due to poor road infrastructure, and already completed projects are not viable hence they don’t attract investors for any possible economic sector that would need investment.

Officials from the Ministry of Energy in the Country have assured rural dwellers of the provision of affordable energy in the country if the Rural Energy Act (REA) to be tabled in this year’s budget at the National Assembly will be passed.

The rural electrification bill explains government’s intention to provide electricity in the villages. The move according to him, will act as an engine of development to reduce poverty among the people.

According to the Minister, the provision for the establishment of a REA and Rural Energy Fund (REF) will promote access to modern energy services in rural areas of the mainland Tanzania.

However, he said that this is a good idea as it would encourage rural electrification, but the greatest hindrance to the implementation would emerge as a result of poverty that is among the people.

The cut-flower industry in Tanzania, a slow progress agricultural practice

FLOWER-growing in Tanzania or (Floriculture) is a new activity practiced in the northern highland zones, mainly in Arusha, and Kilimanjaro regions where the climate is favourable.

The industry is also growing in Southern highland zones with regions of Mbeya and Iringa and in central plateau region which includes Dodoma and Singida, while the coastal zone includes the eastern part of Tanga, Dar es Salaam, the coast regions and the Uruguru Mountains in the Morogoro region.

Flower industry and its impact on national economic development and local communities in Tanzania has taken advantage of the opportunity afforded by export diversification in relation to the pros and cons of the industry, paying particular attention to local communities that have adopted this new undertaking.

Being an agricultural activity, flower growing has the advantage of being a natural adjunct to more traditional exports, while the availability of ready markets in developed countries provides powerful financial incentives.

The horticultural industry in Tanzania has developed mainly in the highlands with a conducive climate and flourished in areas which have relatively easy access to the market. The central plateau and coastal zone also have a potential for the horticultural industry.

Despite the good growing conditions around Arusha and Moshi in the north, there has not been as much horticultural development in Tanzania. The grower association (TAFA) is not very active and there is no relevant regulatory industry authority. Drought and high temperatures are the main impediments of the flower growing.

As the cut-flower industry is new in the country, the Lake zone (Mwanza and Kagera) also has potential for horticultural crops. However, the country has not much to show in terms of actual horticultural products to be presented to the international market.

Horticulture is considered as Tanzania’s most dynamic and high-value agricultural sector which earns the country a substantial amount of foreign exchange earnings.

According to the Executive Director of Tanzania Horticulture Association Ms. Jacqueline Mkindi, some varieties like red giant and first red are having black rims on their heads due to excessive temperatures and this affects directly flower prices.

According to her, horticultural products export earnings in most growing regions such as Arusha and Kilimanjaro increased from US$ 16 million in 2005 to US$ 20 million as for August 2007. Arusha exports an average of 50 tones of flowers per week, and in Tanzania, about 6,000 tones of flowers are exported annually.

Tanzania is strategically located between 1° and 12° south of the equator, thus it commands an enviable tropical climate to accommodate the production of a wide range of fruits, vegetables, spices, and flowers, both tropical and temperate.

Some of the crops can be produced throughout the year and the majority are highly seasonal, consumed at farm level with a potential for local and export markets. Land suitable for horticulture is spread throughout the country and only 5 per cent is exploited. The field survey covers 12 flower farms in northern Tanzania.


The flower industry has experienced tremendous growth since its inception in 1987 with the establishment of the Tanzania Flowers Limited (TFL). The company started with the cultivation of cut flower/foliage such as Carnations, Euphorbia and Ami Majus.

All production activities were done in the open fields, rather than indoors under greenhouse conditions, a trade-off between capital investment and quality of the end product being involved. In 1992, however, TFL started intensive commercial production of roses indoors.

Initially, 6,000 sq. meters of greenhouses were constructed which has expanded to 36,000 sq. meters at the present time. A further tripling of the areas is planned. The switch to greenhouses was rewarded by gains in productivity as well as profitability and the entry of real investors (both foreign and local) in the industry.

By 2006, 12 farms were involved in the production of flowers in their horticultural farms and exports in the country. Some of these are, Hortanzia, Tanzania Flowers Ltd, Kiliflora, Kombe Roses, La Fleur d’Afrique, Arusha Cutting and Multiflower.

Others are Continental Flowers, Loliondo and Steeco systems in the Arusha region, and Florissa in the Kilimanjaro region.

The management structure of most of these farm companies are composed of boards of directors, managing directors, managers, supervisors and workers. The supervisors and workers are the implementers of the decisions.

Most farms, by the very exigencies of the crop, have to be efficiently organized to ensure timely production of the type of flowers demanded in the international markets. Moreover, flowers are susceptible to pests and diseases and highly perishable, requiring management in planting, spraying, harvesting, grading and packaging.

Production and quality types

The production of cut-flowers is both capital- and knowledge-intensive, but due to high yields and high prices two hectares under greenhouse may be commercially viable. Per hectare, greenhouses employ many more workers than does a typical traditional farm.

Due to the extreme sensitivity of the product professional management and constant vigilance is needed during all phases of growing, packaging and shipping.

Because fresh cut-flowers do not undergo any processing between harvesting and sale, they enjoy a peculiar regulatory status in the importing countries and growers are essentially producing a finished product.

Cut-flowers sold in international markets often retain the identity of the individual grower, and growers who can successfully differentiate their products can attain profit levels far in excess of other agricultural products.

Cut-flowers are an agricultural imports which are pest free to avoid introduction of plant diseases or insects. But because they are not an edible crop, they are exempted from regulations on pesticide residues and hence are not inspected for residues.

Roses are the dominant export flowers produced and exported in Tanzania, contributing more than 75 per cent of the total cut-flower production. More than ten different varieties of roses are produced. In Tanzania flowers other than roses can be grown at low altitude high temperature climates such as the coastal belt in Tanga, Dar es Salaam and Mtwara.

Water and irrigation systems

Floriculture like any other agricultural industries is a farming operation that use the most efficient means of farming irrigation, and in this case, water is a key input. If roses go without water for 24 hours, replanting may be necessary and this is expensive.

Farms are therefore located in areas where water supply is assured. Deliberate steps are taken (through reservoirs, boreholes, etc.) to ensure that water availability is at least twice as much as demand at any time. Sources of water include springs, rivers and boreholes.

Drip irrigation is the system most commonly used, being the most efficient available. Six farms uses drip irrigation while the remaining two uses overhead sprinklers. The sources of water are boreholes, springs and rivers such as Usa and Nduruma in Arusha region.

Planting materials and chemicals

Seeds and cuttings are the planting materials most commonly used. All planting materials are imported. Frequency of use depends on weather and flower variety. Complaints abound that most of the chemicals used in the flower industry have not been registered under the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) and their availability is a problem.

Only three companies are registered importers of some chemicals – Balton Tanzania Limited, By-trade (T) and Tri-Chem. An outbreak of diseases commonly finds the registered companies out of stock.

The intensive focus on floriculture has Potential to produce scientific benefits. New studies of the industry may be poised to produce vital knowledge about the occupational and environmental health that effects of agricultural chemicals.

The cut-flower industry in Tanzania has exploded in recent years and pesticide poisoning has become so common according to statistics made available by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO’s report quotes that, although statistics on pesticide use in the floriculture industry in Tanzania is rare, the industry is known to be using a wide range of chemicals including fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, nematocides and plant growth regulators some with potential for serious harm to human health.

The report cited few deficiencies in pesticide handling as due to shortage or lack of materials safety data sheets and instruction materials, worker ignorance of identification hazards of chemicals

Workers need to use protective gear against chemicals. These are uniforms/overcoats, masks, sunglasses, boots, gloves and respirators or ,sprayers, slide rules (for measuring stem height), trolleys, etc, are provided for particular tasks. At the Horticulture Farm workers are provided with special jackets.

Production problems

The study has identified the following production problems in the cut-flower industry: Poor infrastructure (feeder roads).Unavailability of chemicals. Low international prices. Lack of research and development on the industry to the extent that even small problems need seeking solutions from abroad.

Inadequacy of land in the case of some farms which necessitates the replacement of crops. Inadequacy of investment and insufficient working capital. Scarcity of experts and over-dependency on expatriate consultants.

Too much rainfall – for example El NiƱo – causes an outbreak of fungal diseases such as downy mildew and botrytis and the flooding of greenhouses. High temperatures cause the over-ripening of flowers and hence negatively affect quality. Too much wind wears out the roofing materials of greenhouses, causing the scorching of flowers.

Another problem is basing on the transport, Floriculture is deteriorating at a gateway available through Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) and to the proximity of the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Kenya, due to a limited space in the air cabin. There are few planes at the moment


The sector appears to make intensive use of female labour. It is quite evident that it has created new jobs for women and provided additional income-earning opportunities for field research and case studies were carried out on cut-flower growers who have significantly altered their local production and employment base by entering the cut-flower export market.

Cut-flower production employs 2,347 workers from surrounding villages, the majority (57 per cent) being women, their jobs being harvesting, grading and packing. Men spray, irrigate and do similar manual tasks.

Employment is categorized into four groups – management, skilled labour, casual labour and others (especially the consultants engaged in the maintenance of cooling machinery, extension and quality control services, and marketing).

Local communities have benefited from increasing incomes. Inter-regional migration has been encouraged from Singida, Dodoma, Tanga and Kilimanjaro. Coffee farmers in the Arumeru district of the Arusha region have sold/leased their farms to foreigners for cut-flower production.

Most employees come from the surrounding areas with Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Singida, Tanga and Dodoma being the major sources. Seven farms indicated that most of their labour force came from Arusha and Kilimanjaro.

This implies that the labour market allows mobility of workers to the cut-flower industry. These workers are sufficiently adaptable and flexible to respond to changing requirements of the workplace and to enhance the competitiveness and growth of the industry.

Was it right for the African Union (AU) to invade the Comoro’s Island?

IN early March this year, many people had received the action portrayed by the AU troops of invading Comoro Island in a bid to topple Anjouan’s local leader in different perspectives. But since the invasion took place there is no any country in the world except South Africa which openly commended on the authenticity of the action saying it was against the humanitarian rights. With 1,350 African Union led troops in support of the union government under the current President Ahmed Sambi walked through the easy way and successfully managed to topple Anjouan’s local leader, a French trained former gendarme Colonel Mohammed Bacar who allegedly clung in power in an illegal election last year. He is now held for trial before the country’s High Court

The whole world witnessed how AU Soldiers took to task when they landed in Moheli Island and walked along the streets as they were passing across crowds of Jubilant people from all walks of life which some citizens saw it as a warm welcome for them. Their injected move aimed to penalize a self-proclaimed President of Anjouan in Comoros, a small Island with 300,000 population.

Comoro is a union of three Islands, Ngazija, Moheli and Anjouan, all under a federal President. Under the Comoro ‘s constitution, each Island has its own President but all are responsible to the Federal President. Anjouan was an autonomous state before coming together with two other islands to form the Comoros. As people, they have a natural right to decide on the future and destiny of their ancestors’ land, a chance they haven’t been given so far. After suffering some 20 coup attempts since independence from France in 1975, Comoro is trying to shrug off a history of instability and inter-Island bickering. The Island lie off Africa’s east coast and grow Vanilla cloves and ylang-ylang a flower whose oils are used in aromatherapy. These were first settled by Arabs seafarers 1,000 years ago.

It is very interesting to note that, a peaceful country like Tanzania was the principal architect behind the move. They led the local troops under AU cover to apply force in settling an affair of a democratic nation. Despite of this, a continental heavyweight South Africa condemned an assault saying dialogue would be more preferable. Some elements in a divided Tanzanian opposition queried the validity of the participation of the country’s military soldiers in the AU mission which was done without the endorsement of the National Assembly as required by the country’s constitution. Political analysts say that, the 750 Tanzanian soldiers obeyed the orders that were issued by current AU Chairman who is also Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

An AU incursion on Anjouan, cannot provide a lasting solution but marks the beginning of a new chapter of a long historic book. Short sighted solutions like these suggest many chapters yet to be written on the Comoros. With me personally, I am equally upset by the extra-ordinary Tanzanian military presence in the AU mission on the Comoros. I am driving my point in regard to the basic economic issues of our country. Besides, Tanzania appeared to push so much for a military solution than other countries taking into account a poor economic background, with approximately 40 percent of its people living below the poverty line.

Generally speaking, to be open with the matter, I am neither proposing nor opposing the move by AU’s invasion. To some extent it actually depicts the fact that Africa is terrorizing itself, while in some other instances the move helps to restore peace to the few marginalized groups of the people. I thought, the people of Anjouan should have been left free to decide their future and that peace could not be achieved through military action. Dialogue and freedom of choosing a destiny is democracy that cannot be achieved militarily.

If this is how AU saw it as a fitting approach in dealing with the greedy power-hungry leaders like Col. Mohammed Bakar who prepared to shed blood to remain in power, but AU must have set an example to other leaders across African continent if that was the case. From Darfur to the DRC, Uganda to Ethiopia, Kenya to Somalia. Both tribal and political violence have taken their toll. There has been horrific happenings such as the atrocities being committed at the expense of the few leaders who wants to stay in power by force. Ethnic clashes and mass killings have remained the order of the day, a result of which many people have been left destitute and displaced, as well as homeless. The most astonishing thing to note is that, the AU seems to have kept a blind eye to these happenings and never intervened why? Don’t you see the world is making a laughing stock by seeing it being quite and probably seeking help from international bodies?

If military action was the best option for people who do not respect constitutions, why shouldn’t AU apply its forceful movement in the war torn areas where rebel groups have become so troublesome and notorious doing mischief acts to the majority of citizens, why shouldn’t they teach these people a lesson? Why didn’t AU troops take an appropriate actions when it realized President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya clung to power in an illegal post-election results of last December? Which accounted for the loss of innocent civilians? I can say President Kibaki is a traitor and a terrorist as well who clung to power by violating the majority vote cast against his opponent Raila Odinga during the Presidential vote counting last December.

How many African leaders who have clung to power in an illegal election results which are outweighed in a way of forgery and leave the majority with nothing to say? Why don’t the AU intervene and rectify the political instabilities which arises as a result of these chaos? And bring the situation to normal?

Should Col. Muamar Gaddafi apologize for his sayings?

Colonel Muamar Gaddafi, the President of Libya was recently in Uganda for an official state visit. Together with other activities as the visiting head of State, he attended the Afro-Arab youth festival which was taking place in Ugandan capital city Kampala. He also opened a State-of-the-art mosque which has been named after his name, this mosque is believed to be the biggest in East, Central and Southern Africa region. The old Kampala mosque the name given to the building before is now called ‘Gaddafi National Mosque’ which has been built in magnificent scale.

While closing the Afro-Arab youth festival as a guest of honour, Col. Gaddafi in his speech openly advised Ugandan President who was his ghost, Yoweri Museveni (Who has been in power since 1986) that he should not retire for as long as he has the will of the people. Gaddafi expressed skepticism about democracy as seen or recommended by the west, saying it is not compatible with the African system. Should Gaddafi’s words of thought be left to rule over? Is this the way of developing and maintaining the sprit of democracy in Africa? Does democracy stands in someone’s views?

What an unhelpful guest was he before the eyes of Ugandan political analysts and intellectuals? Instead of wishing Ugandan President the best in his final term, he instead endorsed a fourth term and mocked the country’s constitution. My views would never pass without a comment on this issue as it sounds like a painful catalyst made to lure peoples’ mind into dismantling peace and tranquility in Africa region. I would urge Ugandans to stand firm and not to accept kind of a belief. Do you think there are no good people who can rulke Uganda?

President Gaddafi also hailed President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe for being a true African leader more than anybody else, something that is quite untrue. Mugabe’s issue has clung in a reverse trend. It shows Africa needs helps and the fact that one was a freedom fighter for the land, those ideas are gone and they should whatsoever guarantee their positions in power for long.

President Robert Mugabe has assured the people of Zimbabwe in his recent campaign rallies that he would never see an opposition party tasking over the control of Zimbabwean government. “One would think he is the one who created it” He had either sworn in public view that he would never see the MDC party, the strongest opposition party in the country see ruling his country may be when he is dead. In fact those are stupid ideas for an educated man in a society. Mugabe and Museveni are examples of those African greedy leaders who have resolved to stay in power until death separates them. A change of rule is as a good as a rest, people needs change to restore their mindset in peace. African leaders must show examples like what the Late Julius Nyerere of Tanzania did. Another good example was shown by Nelson Mandela of South Africa who sacrificed most of his teenage life in prison just for the sake of the majority South African population who were being subjected under the imperial laws of apartheidsm.

How mobile phones shapes Africa’s communication revolution

IN an attempt to make life better across African continent, mobile telephony has contributed a lot to the growth of the Africa’s most potential resources. Africa is a continent where opportunities are endless and economic development has no limit.

A prime example of Africa’s promising and positive economic potential lies in the telecommunications sector. International business giants are realizing this as they invest heavily into the vast continent.

Latest statistics shows that Africa has the fastest annual average growth rate in mobile subscription in the world at 65 percent when compared with the Europe’s average of 33 and 35 percent respectively.

According to the study conducted by African Telecommunication Indicators, Africa continues to be the fastest growing telecommunication market in the world with mobile subscribers on the continent have increased by over 1000 per cent between 1998 and 2008.
According to the largest Telecommunications Company in Africa, “The Celtel International”, this is a relatively impressive record and the development implications are therefore immense. African success story has been achieved through hard work and commitment.

Despite of the fact that African telecommunications market is the fastest growing in the world, but penetration levels remain low with only 6.2 per cent cellular penetration against the world average of 22 per cent and the market remains both fragmented and challenging preferably due economic hardships.

However, a closer look at this revolution when examined from rural perspectives, shows that most of the growth has been in the cities. Overall national figures for Tele-density and the number of phones per 100 people hide the fact that there is just but one telephone per every 200 people in most rural areas in Africa.

Nearly a decade after the liberalization of the telecommunication industry in Africa, the promise of delivering the last mile of connectivity has remained unfulfilled for the rural communities and the poor in Africa, with most handsets still retailing at over US$ 50 are too expensive for rural communities and providing fixed line connections is too costly for governments.

Some Analysts believe that mobiles can replace fixed lines for they are more appropriate for providing services to rural areas because of lower infrastructure costs and easier delivery. Though the current cost of using cellular phones is still prohibitive, enthusiastic of technology argue that the cost of a new technologies will eventually come down. And meet rural needs.

International Development Agencies also argue that market deregulation and competition will help bring down costs and subsequently close the glaring communication gap between rural and urban communities. Currently most providers tend to concentrate on urban markets shying away from rural areas while arguing that they are not profitable enough.

These factors highlight the importance of mobile phones in shaping Africa’s communication revolution. Yet for the over 24 million people waiting for fixed line connections, cellular phones have clearly not been a substitute.

The entry of mobile communications as a new media facility in Tanzania came into being in early 1990s. This wireless technology has brought significant changes in the telecommunication sector as well as in the country’s economy since then.

Having to come to terms with realities of the information revolution, the Tanzanian market and by extension, the African continent is steadily embracing this new technology that has really had an impact in the way people communicate and conduct business.

In order to guide the nation in ICT development, a number of policies in the communication sector were put in place such as the Information and Broadcasting Policy of 1992 led to the enactment of the broadcasting policy of 1992 which limited broadcasters individually to cover 25 percent of the country.

The National Telecommunication Policy liberalized mobile and value phones and value added services except for fixed line services which the government granted exclusive right to the incumbent operator, Tanzania Telecommunication Company Ltd (TTCL).

Tanzania has four mobile phone operators from the mainland and one from the Isles, in all these companies there is a total of over ten million subscribers countrywide. The number accounts for almost 25 percent of the country’s total population.

Tigo company Ltd (Formally Mobitel Co. Ltd) being the first to be licensed in the country in 1991, has relatively the lowest customer base of not more than 1.5 million subscribers and it’s followed by TTCL mobile phone, a subsidiary company of a sole fixed line telephone company in the country which came into the market in early 2007.

Vodacom having been licensed in 1999 had increased its customer base from 50,000 in 2000 to currently 4 million subscribers by December 2007. Celtel (T) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary company of TTCL was licensed in July 2001. Its customer base has increased from 40,500 customers in 2002 to currently 3.7 million in December 2007.

Zantel which operates in Tanzania’s Isles was licensed since 1997 has increased its customer base from 6,000 in 2001 to currently 200,000. It has covered all regions of Unguja and Pemba islands alone and some parts of the coastal regions of the mainland Tanzania.

Celtel was the late entrant to the market and its rapid growth has been remarked in the first 2 years of its existence. The four companies operating on the mainland have covered all the regional and districts headquarters in the country.

With a total number of telephone connections in the country, the National Telecommunication Policy had anticipated a Tele-density of 6 telephones per 100 people by 2010. The Tele-density by December 2004 was 5 telephones per 100 people.

However, the Tanzania’s Public Switched telephone Network (PSTN) a hybrid backbone network using fibre optic microwave and satellite based links is now over 95 percent digital which paves the way for allowing the provision of new services enabled by ICT.

With the reforms in the telecom sector taking place in the country was increasing, some industry watchers say that the increase of mobile phones in the last 10 years, has shown that the number of subscribers would easily reach fifteen million people by 2010.

The reforms has been streamlined as a result of the merging of the two communication regulatory bodies to form the newly active regulatory body, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA). The merger was facilitated by the enactment of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Commissions Authority Act.

The new body known by its acronym TCRA became operational in November 2003 after having taken over the functions of the former Tanzania Communication Commission and the Tanzania Broadcasting Commission.

According to TCRA’s Director General Professor John Nkoma, the projection is pegged on a number of reasons but notably the majority of Tanzanian citizens had opted for mobile phone service compared to landlines.

He says, while the number of customer base is increasing in mobile phones, TTCL has also installed an intelligent network platform to facilitate pre-paid calling system which effectively started to operate in the country three years ago.

A cross section of mobile phone users said handsets had many advantages over fixed lines that include cheap and convenient communication by using SMS system. The multiplication of mobile phone providers in the telecommunications sector has forced a drop in tariffs by about 70 percent.

The reason for the increased use of mobile phones also include the low quality and unreliability of fixed line services. Most likely the rates might drop by between seven and 10 percent in the coming one to two years because of competition.

In addition, the pre-paid mode of payment under this aspect for example means that many customers who would not otherwise be granted access to a phone if their credit status were checked first are able to get connected.

Tanzania’s mobile phone subscribers continue to grow each day. The country appreciated cellular service way before the two other east African countries, eg Kenya and Uganda.

Looking at the three East African countries’ level of adoption, Kenya leads the pack with more cellular phone subscribers followed by Tanzania. In Uganda, the number of mobile users are still low compared to other EA states.

Kenya’s cellular phone operation has been over 1,000 fold owing to the vibrancy of the giant company the Safaricom which according to observers it’s still controlling the lucrative market in the region.

The Safaricom which in 2004 celebrated its fifth year anniversary, notably leads the competitive market with over an estimated 5 million subscribers. It is the leading in the East African region followed by the Vodacom cellular company in Tanzania.

A combination of different media and the World Trade Organization (WTO) telecommunication agreements are two major forces behind the revolution of the info-communications industry in the continent.

African government providers often are inefficient and hampered by expensive infrastructure with outdated technologies have lost their monopolies in the new and changed competitive environment.

Community radios are the furthest ICTs for rural people

LOCAL Scientists believe that local communications can boost development and democracy in rural areas by using community radios. Their transmission enables isolated communities across Africa to voice their own concerns and explore ways to improve education, share farming tips and income generation ideas.

THROUGH Community radio stations, the vast majority of the marginalized African group listeners in remote rural areas can hear news, practical information and the views of their neighbors.

But despite of a multitude of new information outlets, millions of Africans especially in rural areas remain voiceless. Most media remain largely state controlled. But the tide of democracy sweeping the continent has seen governments loosening their grip on the airwaves.

While radios are best form of communication and the furthest reaching ICT in rural African communities, some cannot operate properly because of lack of finances. But the majority of the people can afford and do not need to be illiterate.

The device enables the poor in most African rural communities to solve their isolation as they do not have any other cheap and reliable access to information apart from other communication channels such as the internet, telephones and televisions which need stable infrastructure.

Since the emergence of community radios in Africa which came into being as early as in 1990s, few challenges have dogged them as constantly as the one of sustainability, and in most cases their operations have been intervened by governments.

Traditionally, radios have changed the lives of the rural communities as people listens extensively and put announcements on the air to tell relatives about important social events, and other forms of traditional entertainments.

Community radios might have engaged in income generating activities such as small scale farming, market gardening or chicken rearing. Radio projects bring opportunities for community members to learn new skills, thus improving prospects for employment at commercial stations.

In 1985, statistics made available by the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) by its French initials, showed that, there were fewer than 10 independent radio stations on the entire African continent.

But today, South Africa alone has more than 150 community radio stations, and other countries are catching up. But despite of the proliferation, Tanzania has none, this is because of the fact that, the government is not yet in a position to allow them as almost 99 percent of the country’s population are unified in one Kiswahili national language.

Mali the second from South Africa, has one of the strongest community radio networks in Africa, and it has more than 110 private radio stations, 86 of them are community radios mostly rurally based.

This is contrary to Tanzania whereby the state has registered 35 radio stations to operate in the country in the last 10 years. Unfortunately, out of these there is no a community based radio station or vernacular radio stations.

This is for reasons basically known as related to the strengthening of national solidarity. Before that, only one radio station was workable since independence in 1961. This is a state owned radio, known as Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (“Former Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam”).

Moreover, community radios are especially important in countries with high illiteracy rates and where many rural people speak primarily local, indigenous languages.

Statistics issued by a registering body, Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) as up to December 2007, shows that out of these 35 registered radio stations, among them are privately owned and there are those owned by the religious institutions.

The idea of accelerating development by using both older media such the radio and newer information and communication technologies such as the internet and mobile phones has gained momentum in Africa over the past decade.

Broadcasting services can foster regional trade and improve integration into the global economy. The ability of ordinary people to communicate each other also helps promote democracy and good governance.

The cost of setting up communications infrastructure is steep, however, especially in rural areas where distances are vast and population densities are low. Radios by contrast are inexpensive and can run on batteries or solar power, and by far is the dominant mass medium in most rural communities in Africa.

Studies shows that, there is one radio receiver for every five people compared with one telephone receiver for every 100 people, and the content of radio programs is also cheap to create and cheap to consume, says Mrs. Grace Githaiga, the Executive Director of Eco-News Africa.