Krupa in Tanzania


KofI Annan, Jeffrey Sachs, Bob Geldof and many other famous names are attending the IMF African economy conference in Dar-es-Salaam tomorrow – but none of the locals I spoke to today seemed to care. Most did not even know such a high profile event was even taking place on their doorstep.

Poverty isn’t obvious acute in Dar, but it exists. I was speaking to some relatives today who told me that no matter how poor an African woman may be, she will ensure her hair is perfectly braided and that she has a touch of make up on – appearance is important and just because you are poor, doesn’t mean you should look poor. We had a chat with Agnes, a mother of four who said she was sleeping rough with her children. She looked immaculate in her traditional outfit and tattooed skin. But many warned us here not to fall for the sob stories some might feed us. It’s hard to know who to believe.

The day has been full of insightful conversation and observation about the African economy. We stopped off to watch a local basketball match – youth versus the veterans. Turns out these top players were all lawyers, accountants and businessmen having some time out on a Sunday. They were divided about how much they had been affected by the economic downturn. Eke from the veterans believed things were going downhill for him whilst Saleem from the youth felt things were just fine as they were.

I had an interesting conversation with a group of Zimbabwean women in a local market too. They were busy stitching embroidery to be sold. They were mothers of young children who they had left behind in Harare in order to find work across the border. These women spent their days travelling back and forth between Tanzania and Zimbabwe to keep renewing their work permit. It was the only way to make money right now they said. Yet they also expressed a genuine optimism that things can only get better in Zimbabwe now. And they are waiting for that day. Their stories were touching, they expressed their views with a real honesty but were too afraid for me to take pictures of them or record their views.

I’ve noticed that the Asian and Arab populations are still thriving in Dar – as they were in my parents’ days. A local cafe owner Alfonse told me he was concerned at the fact that Indians were not mixing with Africans. “It will only work against them in the long run” he said. Angela, one of the few playing basketball agreed, “Things have changed in the past few years,” she said. “Indians and Africans are working together and since properties were nationalised they have been forced to live in the same areas. But there isn’t much social integration despite the fact that Indians have been here for so many years.” I’d love to hear how Indians feel about this as the days go on.

Tanzanians are very warm people, always willing to share their views. Tuesday is a national holiday here in Dar-es-salaam and the beach front will be full of people. We are hoping to broadcast the programme from a small bar/restaurant on the beachfront called Oyster Bay. Pictures of Oyster bay are on the WHYS flickr page.

Many locals hang out there, it is the only beachfront hang out in Dar-es-salaam. We went there this evening and it felt like the whole of Dar-es-Salaam had gathered to sit on the bonnets of their cars to eat corn on the cob and cassava. We’ll also have guests up in Zambia, speaking to us from a shopping centre built on the profits made from copper industry that is currently in decline there.

if you have any questions for our guests in Dar-es-Salaam or Zambia do get in touch.

12 Responses to “Krupa in Tanzania”

  1. 1 Dennis Junior
    March 9, 2009 at 12:51


    I have a question regarding Tanzania…

    *What is the percentage of poverty in the country…

    -Dennis Junior

  2. 2 Bernard Okello
    March 9, 2009 at 12:54

    when ever i listen to stories on African mothers i feel like shading tears but i have always draw courage from my mother who suffered tirelessly to raise us the FIVE boys single handedly, so big ups to the African MOTHERS from Zim you are our inspiration as long as yo there we will work hard and sky is the limit.
    Ben Juba

  3. 3 Adam Foya, Tanzania
    March 9, 2009 at 13:35

    Though the goverment has been blowing its horn on achieving the prescribed goals set by IMF and World Bank, most of the success are in papers and have not been transfomed into daily life of normal Tanzanian. For example Tanzania have been praised for achieving MGS esp Enrollement of students in schools, but the critical questions are not adequately addresses are whether these students have enough books, teachers and overall availability quality education to all.

    Agriculture which is claimed to be the back bone of the economy, has not received serious attention from the goverments, some ongoing programs have not been able to ensure market for peasants produces who faces challenges ranging from poor infrastructure network (roads), reduction of world prices for major export lack of bargaining power to mention few. Problem in agriculture has result into rural to urban migration esp for youth who expect better jobs in urban, but end up becoming petty traders with poor working and living conditions.

    In mining reforms and privatization were aid conditionalities from IMF and WB. But exemptions and tax evasion have left Tanzanians with little or no benefit from our own resources. There have been allot of environmental degradation and violation of human right by the multinational companies in mining areas. Critically looking at IMF and WB policies is manupulation and new form of colonialism in the name of AID. Tanzania and other Africa countries should strive for alternative policies to ensure People driven development.

  4. 4 Ogola Benard
    March 9, 2009 at 13:52

    Why is it that the people of Tanzania believe much on witchcraft and human sacrifice?

  5. 5 VictorK
    March 9, 2009 at 15:29

    @Adam: you’re right – when a country’s economic and social policies are dictated to it by organisations like the World Bank and IMF then that country is no longer sovereign. Colonialism is the right word. How did Tanzania allow itself to get into such a position?

    ‘Since properties were nationalised’: delicately put.

  6. March 9, 2009 at 18:29

    Hi krupa, wlcm 2 Africa, THE LAND THAT FLOWS WITH MILK & HONEY. Hope you broadcast from Nigeria too b4 you travel back.

  7. March 10, 2009 at 08:25

    why should african countries continue having ministries of national planning when they clearly know that their planning wont make us achieve millenium development goals and other issues.?
    kenya has lost much in seminars organised by such a ministry yet we never want to learn the lesson.


  8. 8 Taban Alfred David
    March 10, 2009 at 10:06

    krupa, you are coming to Africa, to find solution to African Economic Problems but I think it will not Work parfectly since African leaders are corrtupted. you better stay away from tham.

  9. 9 runjiv J. Kapur
    March 11, 2009 at 05:37

    Adam has hit the nail on the head with his correct evaluation of the situation in Tanzania and over all in Africa.
    The west and now China in particular are invading African and other resource rich countries for their own benefit. This time it is not with arms and ammunition (although that day too is not far away) but with bags of money to corrupt govt. leaders into selling them rights to their resources.

    What blights the poor countries is lack of poor leadership. Until this scourge is not addressed we will continue to see poverty in plenty and riches in few.

  10. 10 Emile Barre
    March 14, 2009 at 13:21

    Hoping to take a holiday in Tanzania sometime in the next 10 years.

  11. 11 Jack Hughes
    March 15, 2009 at 07:21

    How are KofI, Jeffrey, and Bob getting there ?

    Hope they’re not f-f-f-flying ? Just think of all those g-g-g-reenhouse g-g-gases.

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