Taking the spice out of cloves?

Cloves were once worth more than gold and the native spice has been a mainstay of Zanzibar’s economy for the last 150 years. But frustration is growing among farmers in the island and neighbouring Pemba about a battle between the public and private sector which is reducing their incomes and losing Tanzania its dominant position in the world market. Is government intervention a recipe for disaster?

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Published in African Business, January 2015


Going nuts over cashew

Tanzania is one of the largest producers of cashewnuts in Africa and with the world demand for this commodity set to expand substantially, the revenue potential is excellent. But a creaking marketing system and limited local value addition has meant that the real profits from the crop are made elsewhere. What should be done?

Published in African Business, October 2014


Developing a good nose for wine

South Africa, the continent’s leading wine producer, has been Tanzania’s big brother and helped develop its grape-growing and wine-producing sector. But as Tanzania’s wines come into their own, will South Africa continue to nurture its SADC partner or will it spell the end of the sibling relationship?

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Published in African Business, July 2014

End of cold shoulder to Israel?

The commencement, in April, of chartered weekly flights by Israeli national airline El Al to Kilimanjaro will make Tanzania the second African country to have a direct link with Israel, after South Africa. When the first batch of 150 Israeli tourists touch down at Kilimanjaro International Airport, it will signal strengthened relations between Tanzania and Israel, in a way that nothing can downplay.

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Published in African Business, April 2014

Kikwete prepares for the end game

Tanzania’s presidential elections, slotted tentatively for October 2015, are just under 20 months away but contenders for the presidential post are already champing at the but. And even though his own 10-year term is almost over, President Kikwete is feeling the heat on behalf of his party, whose 52 year reign as Tanzania’s ruling party may also be coming to an end.

This pressure is in part what prompted Kikwete to revamp his cabinet at the end of January, as he realigns his government for the politically fraught months ahead.

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Published in African Business, March 2014

Tanzania shuts the door to African expats

In a scenario where Africa is being touted as the continent which holds the greatest promise for tomorrow, it is easy to forget that Tanzania just entered its third decade of capitalism. Before then the economy was centrally planned and led by the government and public parastatals.

“The private sector was almost non-existent,” says Stephen Kirama, a public economist at the University of Dar es Salaam. “These public parastatals were not profit oriented, They relied on government subsidy and greatly operated on loss.”

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Published in African Business, March 2014