March 10th will be a special programme for me. World Have Your Say will be coming to you from Tanzania.
I have always had a strong connection with East Africa. My great grandfather chose to migrate to Tanzania from India over a hundred years ago. He came from a small town in the west of India where economic opportunities were bleak – the land in his village was completely barren. He moved to East Africa for a better life and I have had family there ever since.
The family ran a small textile and DIY business in the centre of Dar-es-Salaam which shut down a few years ago. The business was the family’s pride and joy. Many of my relatives, including my parents left Tanzania when the country became socialist under Julius Nyerere.
I never got a chance to meet my grandfathers, but I would love to know why they chose Africa and not another part of the world as their new home-it was after all a totally unknown land for them. I often wonder if they had not taken that step whether I would have the same opportunities that I have today.
I was in Dar-es-salaam ten years ago. I returned with my parents who were amazed at how much the city had progressed since their youth. According to them, business was booming- but is that still the case today? The down side for them was the increase in crime that came with the economic boom. So is it still the place that my grandfathers called the land of opportunity?
I am really looking forward to producing the programme from Dar-es-salaam. The BBC team will be there for a big IMF conference looking at how the financial crisis has affected Africa. I’d love to hear from listeners in Africa about how (if at all) they have been affected by the economic crisis. Do you run or work for a small business in Africa? Has your business or job felt the impact of the financial meltdown? And if you are Dar-es-salaam, do you have any ideas about where we could broadcast from?