Not long after arriving here, I wanted to write an article on the big unanswered question about this country. Why, having benefited from peace, stability and relative democracy (not to mention coastline, enough natural resources – but not too much, an English-speaking population…), is Tanzania still one of the poorest countries in the world? Why is it hanging out at the top of the list of aid beggars along with the war-weary Iraqs and Afghanistans of the world?
I planned to come back to that question after a year to see if I was any closer to understanding. But I didn’t publish the article in the end, and it’s probably a good thing, because it looks like the answer could end up being simple, but horribly un-PC: Tanzania isn’t working because Tanzanians don’t really want to work. Tanzanians are lazy.
I’m not convinced of this, yet. But both Westerners and other Africans I’ve met here say this is the case. Continue reading