Monthly Archives: May 2012

Emerging markets

Two per cent.

I had two meetings today with media people, and both of them quoted that figure – the proportion of Tanzanians with access to the internet. They were exaggerating, surely?

Apparently not: recent research found that indeed, a mere 2.5% of Tanzanians had access to the internet. I’m not sure how “access” is defined: ITU figures from 2011 say that about 11% are classed as “internet users” – those who’ve gone online in the past 12 months. Either way, it’s a fairly insignificant minority. What’s incredible is how those 2.5% with (I assume) regular access get online, as the graphic pinched from shows:

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Numbers that don’t add up

There are always cute (and willing) kids to photograph in this country. But visiting a primary school yesterday in Temeke, Dar es Salaam, I was more intrigued by the walls in the headmaster’s office than by his pupils.

Teaching timetables, exam schedules, holiday plans, supervision rotas – they’re all meticulously displayed on handwritten coloured cards. And a long list of names and dates of birth – not of the pupils, but of the teachers.

This primary school has 73 teachers, and a whopping 3165 pupils. Continue reading

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Where to put the tourist dollars

Lucky/unlucky Tanzania is poor enough, but also stable enough, to attract thousands of international NGOs.

One of the more unusual ones in Dar es Salaam is Investours, a non-profit that combines microlending with tourism.* Visitors spend the day with local business owners and afterwards decide which one gets a loan, funded by the tour fees. A few months later, the money is repaid: the local microfinance bank responsible for prescreening businesses and administering loans keeps 30%, and the rest goes to Investours to cover their operational costs.

It’s not running perfectly yet – I did the tour over a month ago and am still waiting for the promised updates from the hair salon I selected, and for an invitation to the Investours online “community”. Continue reading

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Chicken Licken goes to Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a bit gloomy in the drizzle, in low season. Especially when you leave the faded beauty of Stone Town. But I quite liked the cool, grey weather, the empty streets, and the quiet.










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