Kikwete Impresses

The Economist (and George Bush)

While still very poor, Tanzania is set for 5.8% GDP growth this year and perhaps 6.7% next. A popular president, former foreign minister Jakaya Kikwete, hopes to build up the country’s sparse infrastructure, expand access to drinking water, and improve agricultural productivity. What’s so different about a president who makes big plans? Just this:

  • Mr Kikwete travels with minimal security.
  • He scrolls through several hundred text messages on his mobile phone each day, most of them from ordinary citizens who have somehow obtained his number. Sometimes he texts back.
  • He is clearheaded on international issues. He is happy to contribute three battalions to a prospective UN peacekeeping force in the Darfur region of Sudan, he says, so long as someone else foots the bill.

(From PSD blog)

But also troubling in the Economist is this article abut a possible threat to tourism at the Kenya coast from unstable elements in neighbouring Somalia.

13 thoughts on “Kikwete Impresses

  1. Kudrinketh

    Hopefully most kenyan muslims realise that islamic fundamentalism is not in their best interest.

    “One bomb and it’s over for us for another five years,” That quote just surmarises the reality on the ground.

  2. kenyanentrepreneur

    Julius Nyerere set that country on the right path – yes, they were poor, but they are united and there is no tribalism.

    Mkapa began tanzania’s path towards capitalism, kikwete is following it and tanzania will soon surpass kenya.

  3. Shiroh

    TZ will never surpass Kenya, that is a dream i would like to live to realize. A country where you still cant travel by road to some places aiiih?

  4. coldtusker

    The Namanga-Arusha road is far better than the Nbi-Namanga road!

    The road to the Masai Mara is awful! A 2 hour journey becomes 7 hours when it rains!

    At 7% vs Kenya’s 5%… will make a huge difference in 20 years…furthermore, if TZ starts exploiting its mineral wealth…

    A mere 60 years ago, the USA surpassed the economies of Europe & has never looked back….

    Japan emerged even later but has handily beaten ALL (except USA) economies including the then larger UK & Germany!

  5. Anonymous

    i heard somewhere that there was a precious mineral called tanzanite that is like diamond … i wonder how lucrative it is and how widely available it is … in any case, african leaders should borrow from Fidel Castro … he is been able to provide one of the best medical care systems for the citizens of Cuba … i hold my breath hoping his demise does not come soon … he is a strong man … let him push on

  6. bankelele

    Kudrinketh: Hopefully it may not happen and no Coastal leader tries to make it an issue

    kenyanentrepreneur & Shiroh & Coldtusker: am hoping to visit TZ soon and discover for myself everything from people to roads. Frequent bus travelers have also mentioend that the roads in TZ are much better than on the Kenyan side

    Mdkims: A few years ago, US made it seem like tanzanite stones were being sold to finance Osama (and that hit their sales). It’s hard to imagine but Castro has pulled off free education and health all these years. Can we adapt that model (or elements of it) somehow?

  7. Kenyananalyst

    I spent some time in TZ in 2004; their worst roads beat our very ‘best” in several respects. They have some things going for them. It would be a shame, though, if they overtook us. As for the Malindi thingy, I can’t help but think we are going to have to confront the discussed challenge someday. I’ve been a part-time Coastarian for several years now and I think the prospects aren’t looking too good.

  8. coldtusker

    Tourism is HUGE in Malindi & if the Italians are spooked, well, they will go elsewhere!

    TZ can easily take up all the tourists headed for Kenya as soon as they build capacity.

    If tourism goes away, we will have more poverty, hunger & all the problems that come with it back in Malindi.

    The growth in tourism is a key component for TPSEA, KQ & EABL among other listed firms.

    Remember what a hit our economy took after the Likoni clashes?

  9. Ken

    I’m currently in TZ and can clearly state that it’s not a matter of whether they will overtake us but a question of when.

    Their government has done much in improvement of infrastructure, availing small loans for the public, corruption and they are now looking at improving their trade imbalances.

    Considering the path Kenya is on, and the route TZ is on, it’s just a matter of time.

    btw: Shiroh, there is not a single place in the mainland (Except to the islands Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba) that you cant get to by road.
    As it is most exports to Zambia, Malawi, Burundi and Rwanda are now pass through TZ since clearing is less of a hassle.

  10. bankelele

    For me, the fact that Jay Z is in TZ, not Kenya, speaks volumes about good business opportunities

    Kenyananalyst: Will tour TZ and Malindi next year (hope to find good roads & people)

    coldtusker: No doubt tourism is a major contributor to our economy and teh corpoartes you mentioned. We can’t have a repeat of 97!

    Ken: They are going like that? They need better PR in Kenya in that case

  11. Kenyananalyst

    @ Banks – MLD folks are gr8t, bt beneath the facade of niceties is a seething wave of poverty amidst plenty, religious tensions, etc. The road gets better from MLD to Garsen. It’s not as smooth btwn MSA and MLD. Tz also has its own issues, if the heated blog debates on the recent diplomatic spat btwn Nrb & Dar is anything to go by.

  12. mccoy.F

    It is amazing what armchair analysis can do in misleading people from the truth.

    I have lived in Tanzania for 2 years now. Your analysis here was accurate about a year ago. However things have changed dramatically over the last year or so, especially with President Kikwete coming to power. The following problems are a serious threat to Tanzania’s continued economic growth.

    1) 12 hour power rationing, set to increase to 18 hours according to yesterday’s Sunday Standard.

    2) Power crisis is said to have been caused by corrupt ministers in the Kikwete government, one of whom was duped into importing an unserviceable Boeing 747 engine he was told was a power generator. A scandal similar to Anglo-Leasing is brewing in Tanzania, involving a company called Richmond Development that is a briefcase outfit linked to some ministers.

    3) Unfriendly policies towards South African investors (the major investors in that country) that has resulted in capital flight and a free falling Tanzania shilling.

    Be careful Bankelele, investors take you very seriously, don’t cause someody to lose their shirt over innacurate information here.

    In my opinion Kumekucha ( comes closest to a true analysis of the current situation in Tanzania today although some of his analysis is a litte exergearrated.

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