September 25, 1999

Tanzania’s gross domestic

Product underestimated


TANZANIA’S Gross Domestic Product is underestimated by 20 per cent, an international conference in Arusha was told last week.

A reputable economic guru told the conference on Tanzania’s economy that the country’s GDP -a measure of the increase in wealth of a country in a year was grossly underestimated.

The chairman of the International Input-Output Table, Prof. Reiner Staeglin, said Tanzania’s GDP was underestimated.

Dr. Staeglin, of the German Institute of Economic Research was the consultant for the 1992 Input-Output Table of Tanzania.

An Input-Output Table is an economics method of obtaining both sector-by-sector backward and forward linkages and the GDP. Because it covers the whole economy at a very small sector, it is considered to be more reliable than the usual way of estimating GDP.

But, because its task is huge and costly, it is not done yearly: the last one for Tanzania was conducted in 1992.

Staeglin said that, in order to have an accurate GDP, the present GDP must be increased by 20 per cent.

He said the main problem of the estimated GDP was in the manufacturing sector where underestimation was the highest by more than 100 per cent!

According to the Professor, the first estimate of manufacturing sector was based on enterprises employing 10 people and more – thus leaving out enterprises employing less than 10 people.

By including enterprises employing less than 10 people, the contribution of manufacturing was getting closer to reality though there might be some other minor adjustments.

The 1992 Input-Output Table which was constructed about four years ago was the focus of the September 12-17 conference in Arusha.

Staeglin said transport and communication were underestimated by about 70 per cent; followed by mining and quarrying (about 60 per cent), and trade by more 40 per cent.

On the other hand, it was found that the agriculture was over-estimated by about 5 percent; and finance and real estates were over-estimated by more than 7 per cent.

Wages, salaries and other finances accruing to employers were underestimated, too. This was due to high reliance on the government’s budgets- which were only a part of the big sources of wages and salaries of employees in Tanzania.

This sector alone was underestimated by about 180 per cent. Consumption of fixed capital was underestimated by 50 per cent.

Lack of information on subsidies resulted in their being over estimated by about 100 per cent. Tanzania’s GDP incorrectly represents the real situation of its economic performance.

The first attempt to correct this situation was done by Prof. Staeglin, when (after a study of the economy) found that the economy was underestimated about 60 per cent.

The figure 60 per cent was applied to per cent was applied to 1992; and was updated accordingly.

Later on, the World Bank sent an expert in GDP estimation who after studying the situation, concluded that the data on GDP was underestimated by about 100 percent. This was again adjusted accordingly.

The last adjustment –which was suggested at the conference by Staeglin is the third such attempt to arrive at a correct estimate of Tanzania’s wealth.

September 18, 1999


‘Tanzania Tourism 2000’ launched in North America


THE TANZANIA Tourist Board (TTB) has launched Tanzania Tourism 2000 in North America, covering a six-city promotion in Canada and USA.


Tanzania’s minister for natural resources and tourism, Zakia Hamdan Meghji, is leading a large delegation of Tanzanian tour operators and suppliers of tourism trade shows and seminars being held in Calgary and Edmonton in Canada, as well as in Los Angles; Washington, DC; New York and Atlanta (in the US) from September 8 to 24, 1999.


The promotion tour has been planned to coincide with the visit of Tanzania’s President Benjamin Mkapa to the United States who will visit Boston, Washington, New Your and Atlanta on a trade, tourism and investment missions.


A huge tourism industry delegation of 28 Tanzanian tour operators and suppliers are accompanying the minister on seminars and tourism shows organized by the tourist Board in Canada and USA. The team has already covered Calgary and Edmonton.


Minister Meghji stated in Edmonton that "the participation of President Mkapa in the tourism seminars demonstrates the high priority that our government places in developing tourism for the (northern America) market, and in encouraging American investments in the travel sector." The minister further stated that, "currently, the United States and Canada are the largest source of tourism to Tanzania; followed by Great Britain and Germany."


The objective of the Tanzania tourism 2000 campaign (launched in Edmonton, Canada) is to make Tanzania’s tourism the number one source of foreign exchange in the next millennium.


A series of tourism promotion activities has been planned to celebrate the next millennium in Tanzania.


These include: Plant a Tree for Millennium; Scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, highest mountain in Africa; Flying in a Balloon in the Serengeti; Thanksgiving at Olduvai Gorge: Cradle of Mankind; and a Millennium Gala Party to be held in Dar es Salaam.


Tanzania, the Land of Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar already a popular destination for Canadians and Americans on safari to East Africa – was given a boost in America when America’ first lady (Hillary Clinton, and daughter Chelsea), Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, and the governor General of Canada, visited Tanzania. Meghji personally escorted the Clintons on their wildlife safari to the famous Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, "the eight wonder of the world".


The minister and Team Tanzania – which includes 13 representatives from Zanzibar, 15 from Mainland Tanzania, and the ambassadors to Canada and the USA – are meeting with Canadian and USA tour wholesalers, travel agents, airline officials, and the travel trade press, to update them on new developments in the country’s tourist product; international and domestic air services, safari circuits; new hotels and lodges; and eco-tourism programmes, including the marine treasurers on the exotic islands of Mafia and Zanzibar.


M Brian, president of the Alberta Chapter of Travel Agents, said in a welcoming speech to Team Tanzania that Tanzania has a lot of opportunities to have a number of Canadian tourists visit Tanzania. He said the friendship that exists between Canada and Tanzania was a milestone in promoting Tanzanian tourist attractions to Canadians. Brian told the delegation that Tanzania’s long history of being a peaceful, safe country in Africa was a good calculator for choosing the country as a destination at which to spend holiday.


He advised Tanzanian local tour operators to increase their marketing in Canada; and establish contacts for supplying tourist information.


Brian expressed interest in having the annual conference of the Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA) in Tanzania so as to enable its members familiarize themselves with the country’s tourist attractions and facilities.


The High Commissioner in Canada, Fadhil Mbaga, agreed to the proposal; and promised to pursue the suggestion. Tanzania – through the High Commission is a full member of ACTA, which has 3500 members all over Canada.


With Tanzania having good air accessibility to north America, the country hopes for more tourists in the next few years. From the USA, good air connections have been established by Ethiopian Airlines (from New York and Washington to the Kilimanjaro International Airport); Egyptair (from Los Angeles to Dar es Salaam – with immediate domestic flights by Air Tanzania and Precision air). Traditional airlines – KLM, British Airways and Swissair – have good seat reservations during the next millennium; and some of them are contemplating to increase their flights to Tanzania.



TTB is hopeful that President Mkapa’s visit will peak American interest in Tanzania, and encourage more travel and hotel investors to move to the country. "We are also pleased to see that Tanzanian tour operators and suppliers have taken advantage of this promotional campaign to tap into the enormous potential that the US travel market has" said Robin Thompson, general manager in North America who was attending the ACTA travel shows and forums in Calgary and Edmonton. Team Tanzania has already met more than 300 Canadian travel agents; and their discussions have been encouraging.





THE LION population in the Serengeti National Park is increasing again after the deadly canine distemper was controlled.

The chairman of the Board of the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Professor Idris Kikulo, told Business Times: "The animal population has almost doubled."

However, he did not have exact figures of the current lion population at the park.

Canine distemper broke out in Serengeti for the first time in 1994; and it killed up to a third of the park’s lion population, researchers say.

The disease entered Serengeti through domesticated dogs in the surrounding villages.

In 1975, the lion density in the Serengeti was about 1 lion in every 7 sq km; while that in neighboring Ngorongoro was 1 lion per 2.3 square kilometre: the highest Ngorongoro has ever recorded.

The lion is one of Africa’s most majestic animals; and is a traditional symbol of power for many tribes.

Scientists associated with TAWIRI have been studying both the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater continuously for more than 30 years now.

September 11, 1999

ABSA COLLECTS Tsh 3 bn from debtors in a single Month


THE AMALGAMATED Banks of South Africa (ABSA) has, within one month of operations in Tanzania, managed to collect more than Tsh 3 billion owed to the NBC (1997) Ltd.


Gerald Jordaan, the new NBC (1997) managing director, told Business Times in Dar es Salaam last week; "Well not care whether the debtor is a big shot or not; the law will take its course with regard to any bad debtor regardless of his status or position- to make sure our debts are recovered."


ABSA has an option to acquire 70 per cent NBC (1997) Shares, while the Tanzania Government intends to retain the remaining 30 per cent.


Jordaan said debt collection will go on until all debts are fully recovered.


"Ones we come to a debtor , we negotiate with him so that he can pay in time -- and strictly according to the commitment."

Although Jordaan declined to spesify ‘big bad’ debtors, reliable sources have it that most of the debtors are prominent figures in politics or business circles

Asked why debtors are now ‘willing’ to pay their debts than they were before he said: "If you demand, They will pay you; and if you don’t, they wont"

He said NBC (1997) has no plans to close any off its branches; or to lay off workers unnecessarily. However, he stressed that any staff member who becomes involved in fraud would immediately be sacked and prosecuted in court.

Jordaan also stressed the need of adherence to banking ethics and principles for both bank staff and clients. "A bank cannot operate without ethics, principles and integrity: the three must be adhered to if success is sought."

Jordaan says his management is busy securing ‘lost’ customers; however, he would not disclose his strategy on this; but his bank has started ‘talking’ to them.

To make the bank more efficient, he said, moves are under way to review bank rates and charges. "I can’t comment on what will actually happen in this exercise. It will depend on what will be seen," he said.

NBC (1997) is the largest commercial bank in Tanzania, with more than 1,100 employees, and customers deposits amounting to Tsh 237 billion






A Committee has been formed to promote Tanzania’s Tourism in the coming millenium.


Called the Tourism Millenium Committee, it will conduct mass awareness campaigns to promote tourist attractions. Various events-including essay writing competitions, picture drawing and tree planting-will be conducted to promote tourism. The committee’s Chairman, Amant Macha, said in an interview last week: "We want more people to know the potential of Tourism, which can generate employment and revenue at an accelerated pace-and at much less cost."


Above all, we need to create a tourist-friendly culture which is, in fact, inherent to the Tanzanian tradition.


In Tanzania, tourism is viewed as a preserve of the rich; and there has been antipathy towards the tourist industry because a large section of the population is not provided with employment, income and the capacity to spend money in the manner reflected by the tourism industry. This picture needs to be corrected,’ he said. Tourism touches everyone.’ The millennial celebrations are primarily aimed at involving people, and creating awareness among them about using tourism for economic development.


‘We want the private sector to take the lead, for example, in offering discounted excursions to Tanzanians, and creating affordable entertainment programmes,’ he said.

September 4, 1999


Shilling has stabilished at last


THE Tanzania shilling has stabilished at last against both the USD and pound Sterling between August 13-26, 1999.

Surveys by Business Times at the bureaux de change in Dar es Salaam show that the shilling stabilised at an average rate of Tsh 801 per US dollar between August 13-26 and at Tsh 1,280 per pound.

The shilling fell against the dollar and other hard currencies, reaching Tsh 801 per USD and Tsh 1,280 per pound. The situation was caused by the scarcity of both USD and pound in the economy of Tanzania due to low production of export commodities accompanied by low international export prices.

At the bureaux, the dollar was selling at an average of Tsh 803 and the pound was at Tsh 1,275.

On the other hand, all supply of the dollar at the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) has been absorbed, showing that the demand was still high.

The increase of supply the dollar at IFEM was the remedy used by Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to stop further falling of the Shilling against the dollar.

A businessman at Tandale in Dar es Salam, Hamisi Seif, said if BoT had not pumped more dollars into the economy, the shilling was going to hit the Tsh 1,000 before the end of September 1999.

He said the falling was going to continue because Tanzania’s exports were falling at a high speed while the imports were also increasing tremendously.

At the IFEM, the shilling was exchanging at an average rate of Tsh 797 per USD after fluctuating at between Tsh. 787.50 and Tsh 790 Per USD.

BoT governor, Dr. Daudi Bilal, told journalists that the bank would continue to protect the shilling from further fall by putting more dollars in IFEM.

He also said the bank will strive to make annual inflation remained as low as possible to bring it to the level of Tanzania’s trading partners in the world.

The National Bureau of Statistics of July 1999 showed that Tanzania’s annual rate of inflation stood at 7.6 per cent, less than 7.8 per cent in June 1999.

Before BoT started controlling the shilling fall, it had also lost ground against most of other hard currencies such as Yen, Euro, Deutsche Mark and French Franc.





BENEATH a canopy of clouds, and high-perched atop the Southern Pare Mountains, sits the solitary village of Mbaga, a virgin treasure trove of cultural tourism.

Located in the rear of the mountains 35 km north of Same town along the Dar es Salaam Arusha road, Mbaga Hills can be spectacular viewing – at sun rise or sunset – of mountainous scenery, and an endless view of the Mkomazi game reserve, home to the rare Black Rhino.

The winding route along a steep mountainous landscape from Same town provides a thrilling experience to the traveller. Blue ridges, the vast Ruvu river plains to the west, the splendour of the Mkomazi game reserve stretched out below, and the lush forest-crowned hill-side, leave a lasting memory on one’s mind, as one approaches the villages.

Its friendly villagers strolling along the green pathways and beside crystal-clear water streams, make visitors feel like have truly come to one of the most picturesque scenes in Africa.

Combined with the fact that the culture of the people of the mountains, the Pare, have not changed very much for centuries, Mbaga Hills provide memories that will last well beyond just mere recollection of scenery.

‘The notorious Malameni rock, a huge boulder rising above the hillside, is a popular topic for local story tellers. As the tale goes, long ago hundreds of children were tossed from the edge of the rock to their death to appeased some evil spirit. The practice continued well into the 1930s. A visitor seated on top of this rock contemplating the view below, finds it hard to imagine those fearful and superstitious times when looking out over the neat terraces and peaceful village today.

Coves on the hill-side not only tell the history of the place, but also fascinating Pare people used to hide their families and livestock from slave traders and marauding Maasai of the last century.

One tale goes that villagers could put whole herds of cattle inside the caves and stay for many days hiding out from the enemy prowling the hills above.

Rich forest and the lush hillside provide a paradise for trekkers and backpackers.

Day trips can be taken though the dense wood and rare trees species of the Shengena natural forest, and to the banks of Ranzi Dam. Its shore gives a cool breeze in the hot sun; and is a site for sighting the fish eagle poking out its head amongst the reeds. Almost every site is ideal for setting up camps beneath the star-lit African sky.

At Mbaga Hills you will be at the centre of the moist Eastern Arch mountains harbouring 30 to 40 per cent of Tanzania’s species of flora and fauna, and the second highest bird diversity on the African continent.

Mbaga Hills sits strategically above the Mkomazi game reserve where one can make transport arrangements to the place to enjoy traditional safaris, as well as walking safaris. Mkomazi is enjoyable for its solitude, with no hordes of vehicles getting in you way.

In Mkomazi, one can have the chance to see the Black Rhinos that were Imported from South Africa in 1997 to set up a captive breeding programme.

A safari to Mbaga is ideal for local holiday makers, too, including students and picnic lovers: the perfect destination for budget travellers. Mbaga virtually lies along the famous Northern Great Road, from Dar es Salaam to Arusha.

A two-hour drive from Same town, using the winding bus route, brings you to the destination.

Camping can be established almost every where without worrying about safety to person or property. One can stay inexpensively at the historic Tona Hilltop Lodge. Local guides will take you on a day-trip to explore the beauty of the Pare mountains on foot. Villagers are ready to share tales of their traditional, spiritual and other African myths. One can have the opportunity to see Pare’s century-old sugar cane crusher driven by two to four strong men. One can also find out how to make Pare traditional beer Dengulua, using fermented sugar cane Juice!

The Tona Lodge is a historic building that takes you back in time: built in the 1800s, each of its five modest brick wings has been turned into a small cottage with electricity (a local generator), running water and private rooms.

One need not have to worry about customary dangers of Africa in these hills.

It is too high for mosquitoes, too small for thieves, and too densely populated for lions. In deed, a safari in this part of Africa is an enjoyable and leisurely: a simple life.

Visitors, both local and foreign, looking for an escape from modern day chaos – telephone calls, speeding traffic, city noises, etc, Mbaga Hill is ideal.