We're planning a visit to explore opportunities and building professional and business relationships
The United Republic of Tanzania is the largest nation in eastern Africa, approximately twice the size of California, situated between 1o and 12o South on the Indian Ocean. Tanzania is a natural economic hub for east Africa, sharing borders and commercial links with eight countries and two trade communities with a combined population of > 300 million people.
Formed 1961-1964 from the British-administered U.N. mandate territory of Tanganyika (former German colonies on the mainland) and coastal Arabic-culture Zanzibar, Tanzania has overcome challenging social conditions (over 120 tribes and evenly divided Moslem and Christian populations), maintaining civil peace and forming a strong sense of national unity. It is an island of peace in a tough neighborhood. It is a peaceful and safe place to travel. Tanzania has rich wildlife and scenic resources that make it an exotic tourism destination. It is the home of Mt. Kilimanjaro (at 5895 m – 19,340 ft – the highest point in Africa), and the big national parks like Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, and Ruaha are accessible and well run.
Tanzania has a lot of challenges – but also a lot of opportunities for American water and wastewater sector companies (see following). Like South Africa or India before it, the pieces are in place for the nation to have an explosion of economic growth: infrastructure is being developed, and new sources of valuable natural resources discovered. It has a population that knows about and wants the basics of life, including safe and abundant water and proper sanitation. The Government of Tanzania is in the midst of an aggressive program to expand agricultural output and to raise the rural standard of living. This is a nation where Americans are well liked and appreciated, particularly as an alternative to other foreign service providers.
The Planned Trip
The trip is being planned by Ground Water Science (a US-based ground-water consulting company with interest and connections in Tanzania) and Ground+Water Tanzania Ltd. as a development promotion venture. Ground Water Science’s and G+WT's Stuart Smith has been organizing and leading trips to central Tanzania and advising water projects there for almost 10 years. We invite you on a trip to experience this amazing place and to sample the possibilities. The trip is for up to 15 people and will occupy a little over two weeks in country plus transit time. Dates selected will depend on travel logistics and the schedules of interested parties, but (UPDATE) the current plan is for mid 2013, delayed from a plan for August 2012. We should finalize plans during a visit in September 2012 when our Stuart Smith is speaking at the Water Utilities East Africa Conference in Dar es Salaam. Stuart Smith's interview on the event and our goals there is found here.
You will have guides with long experience in both the water and public health/sanitation sectors and Tanzanian travel, access to key government and development players, and reliable business people to discuss possibilities. The language of business is English, but translators will always be available, as English is very much a second language for most people in the region. Most people in Tanzania speak Swahili and many speak at least one other tribal language. English may be your new friend’s third language – and it is not American English.
Planned itinerary summary (some details can change):
The group will fly from the USA to Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) outside of the city of Moshi in the north, accompanied by your American guide. We will be met by our ground team (organized by our tour company partners) at JRO and taken to accommodations for recovery from the long ride. Visits with key people and institutions in Moshi and the Kilimanjaro region and local sightseeing follow (if lucky, you may even see the usually cloud-shrouded Mt. Kilimanjaro). Next will be a trip by our own bus booked for the duration of the visit to Dodoma, the nation’s parliamentary capital, in the interior, where the group will meet water authorities and development personnel on the front lines. We will tour villages and municipal water supply facilities in Dodoma and neighboring Singida, where water supplies have been developed, and where there is need. The group will then return north, visiting the Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions, and visiting water projects and professionals there, ending up at a comfortable tourist hotel outside Arusha. Finally, we will have the opportunity to visit two of Tanzania’s great wildlife parks. We will then say farewell to Tanzania at JRO to return to the West.
At two locations, Moshi or Arusha and Dodoma, we plan to arrange one-day seminars for local professional, agency and government people, with trip participants speaking on individual specialties. This is another opportunity to make contacts and to network.
Throughout, there will be opportunities to shop Tanzania’s high-quality handiwork, benefiting local artisans and their families, visit up-close-and-personal with Tanzania’s great people, well-known for friendly hospitality, and fill your choice of media with images you will cherish. People in Tanzania (native and foreign residents alike) take time to enjoy life. Here you see some of our brain trust in-country (seriously).
Trip preparation notes: This is a working trip. Accompanying teen and older family are very welcome if they are prepared for the experience. A separate spouse/family agenda is not planned, however, the scenic trips and village visits will all be very interesting, and you can count on families of our Tanzanian friends to make spouses and family feel karibu sana (very welcome).
You should have a sense of adventure and be flexible. If you must stay at the Hyatt Regency, or you can't adjust to a youth hostel experience, or if you faint at the sight of bugs or lizards, you won’t like this trip. Tanzania is big (remember: 2 Californias in size). Roads are long. Some of the road travel will be on rough dirt roads. The Arusha-Dodoma road (the legendary Cairo to Johannesburg highway) is mostly not paved. Dust is to be expected. People with allergies should be prepared.
Accommodations will be clean and sanitary but may be modest – certainly a good bargain. WiFi may be out sometimes. Facilities most resembling modern hotel standards will be found in Dodoma and Arusha/Moshi. We will spend time in poor and difficult surroundings. You will be escorted at all times. Local medical facilities are basic but care is good. It can be a long way to specialized care. You should be healthy and not have health conditions that may require immediate high-tech medical attention. Chronic manageable conditions such as high blood pressure, allergies, or diabetes are OK. We will provide full information on necessary immunizations, which you will need to arrange. You will need a valid passport good to at least six months past the planned trip dates. We will advise you on arranging for the proper visas, which you will also do personally (less bureaucratic scrutiny).
Trip cost: This is an estimated $5,000-$5,500 per person all-inclusive of all food, transport, services, accommodations, tours, guides, insurance and preparation. A deposit will be required (we have to book costly airfare and ground transport early). MC-VISA and PayPal accepted and a payment plan is available. This may be a legitimate business expense (consult your tax professional about this – don’t take our word for it). Your trip fee will include briefing information and webinar preparation sessions to help orient you to what you will encounter, keeping healthy (food and water advice), introduce you to the cultures you will encounter, tips on interacting with business and government people, and to teach you a little tourist Swahili. Tanzanians almost universally speak Kiswahili, and appreciate the gesture of your trying their logical, adaptive, and beautiful national common language. They will laugh with you.
With a sense of humor and willingness to dive in, experience and be friendly, this will be a trip of a lifetime.
Tanzania Challenges and Opportunities
Climate and economics are more challenging. Tanzania has a climate similar to California’s, only closer to the equator: the interior is relatively dry, with Dodoma being a developing wine region. The coastal areas good for fruit and tree crops, and the mountainous northeast hosts coffee and tea. Sisal is grown in huge plantations. Tanzania has a high rural poverty rate. However, the people are entrepreneurial and businesses flourish. Malaria is endemic and saps the energy of many working people. HIV-AIDS is taking its toll on the working and professional sectors. Rural poor families expend immense energy gathering water, fuel and other essentials of life.
Demographics are challenging. At present, about 80 % of the people live in rural areas and 20 % in urban areas. This is expected to shift to majority urban in the next 20 years. It is a demographically young population that is expected to expand considerably, especially if endemic diseases are curbed as expected. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s large coastal city, is already highly congested and with inadequate water and sewer for many residents.
Transportation and ports. Tanzania has three major ports (Dar es Salaam, by far the biggest, Tanga and Mtwara). These are served by rail and highway networks. At present, highways are poorly developed, but this is changing rapidly with a lot of national and international investment and some main roads are good. Most international flights land at Dar es Salaam and some at Kilimanjaro in the north. Many flights stop at Nairobi, and an alternative way to enter Tanzania is to fly into Nairobi and bus into Arusha. In the future, a new international airport in Dodoma will be the entry point for the nation.
Water and sanitation: Although semi-arid, Tanzania has productive aquifers that can support a well-managed civil infrastructure and irrigation. Unfortunately, much infrastructure is in a state of disrepair. There is a desperate need for basic sanitation and larger scale wastewater facilities and watershed management to reverse degradation of surface water streams. This has been identified as a serious risk to quality of life.
Only 40 percent of the rural population and 80 percent of the urban population had access (as defined) to a clean safe water supply. Access would be higher in rural areas except for the high percentage of nonfunctioning rural systems already built. With regard to sanitation and sewerage services, many urban areas continue to be affected by poor sanitary services, and these may be effectively lacking in rural areas. The urban influx is already taxing fragile urban facilities, especially in Dar es Salaam.
To address these needs, the national government has issued a Water Development Strategy that envisions a strong private sector component.
The Tanzanian government technical sector is highly dedicated and professional. They recognize and welcome a strong private sector role in supplying water (build-own-operate or other similar arrangements) and sanitation that will be part of the mix, and also private foreign investment in water infrastructure and especially sanitary waste facilities. The cultural environment is open to innovative approaches if local “buy in” can be achieved.
We can see serious opportunities for American companies and organizations in forming, equipping and training water and sanitation facility construction companies (e.g., as subsidiary branches or Tanzanian companies -- even better), marketing high-quality USA-produced equipment and tools, training and other capacity-building (equipping local communities to plan and manage projects, training technicians and professionals), and related fields (telecommunications, etc.). It’s certainly worth a trip to check out the possibilities, and you’ll have a memorable time besides – and not everyone you know has done this.
Your American trip leaders: Stuart Smith is a consulting hydrogeologist with over 30 years of experience in water supply construction consulting and supervision, and is a partner in Smith-Comeskey Ground Water Science, with offices in Bluffton and near Youngstown, Ohio, and the newly formed Ground+Water Tanzania, Limited, Dodoma, Tanzania. Since 1999 in particular, he has been collecting information on and studying the water construction and supply needs of Tanzania, and has been traveling there periodically. Joining Smith will be Naftal Mandi, MPH, MBA, partner in G+WT with experience in both public health and sanitation and business, as well as being an instructor at St. Johns University, Dodoma. Smith and Mandi will be assisted in country by a Kiswahili-speaking Tanzanian support team of drivers, translators, business and tour leaders to make our trip safe, informative and enjoyable.
“We learn the value of water when the well goes dry,” said Benjamin Franklin. The cost of properly maintaining your ground water assets pales in comparison to the social and economic disaster that would result from a failed community water supply.