Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kagame goes wild in New York, stays in $16,000-per-night luxury hotel

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is living in luxury during the United Nations General Assembly, staying in the $16,000-per-night presidential suite at the Mandarin Oriental.

Kagame’s rooms have “panoramic views of Central Park, the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline,” says the hotel’s Web site. Rwanda’s average annual income last year was $1,150, according to the World Bank.

Kagame, whose reps didn’t get back to us, is one of many world leaders with spending sprees on their UN agendas, despite the dismal global economic climate.

Saudi leaders are at The Plaza, sources said, and a group of them headed to the hotel’s Warren-Tricomi salon yesterday for grooming.

UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser and other Qatari royals visited bespoke suitmaker Domenico Vacca, where Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani dropped six figures, said a source. And you thought Fashion Week was over the top.

Israeli and Saudi delegates descended on Madison Avenue eatery Nello on Monday, while the Germans went yesterday for a lavish lunch. “Thank God the Greeks didn’t come at the same time as the Germans, or the [European] bailout would be over,” joked a spy.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri was dining at Harry Cipriani, as were dignitaries from Nigeria. “They have the Secret Service scout the area and then call up giving a fake American name like ‘Wilson,’ ” a spy said.

Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner hit town after a Parisian shopping spree, during which she reportedly bought 20 pairs of Louboutins at $5,500 a pair.

Palestinians, including President Mahmoud Abbas -- whose room is a more modest $3,000-a-night -- are holing up at the UN Millennium, as are Egyptian chiefs, sources said. “Security is unbelievable,” said a spy. “There are bomb-sniffing dogs and an ‘iron ring’ surrounding the hotel.”

Source: (The New York Post)

  • It would be very interesting to know where President Jakaya Kikwete and his delegation are staying in  New York and how much Tanzanian taxpayers are paying for it. Kikwete is also in the "Big Apple" to attend a UN meeting.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Emergency alert: 3 million Tanzanians facing food shortage


WHILE the government says Tanzania has food surplus this season, a group of several aid agencies has declared a state of emergency, warning that more than 3 million people in the country are facing serious food shortages.

Tanzania recently donated food to Somalia and started selling maize grain to neighbouring Kenya from the country's strategic grain reserve (SGR), but aid agencies say millions of people in more than 53 districts in the country actually need food assistance.

Following is a statement issued on Tanzania's food situation:

 Drought in Northern Tanzania

Geneva, 15 September 2011

1. Brief description of the emergency

Tanzania, like most other African countries, is dependent on rain-fed agriculture, with more than 80% of its population depending on subsistence agriculture. Persistent droughts especially in the central and northern regions, have led to repeated seasons of food shortages. Northern Tanzania region is in the same zone with the drought-stricken regions of the Horn of Africa. More than 53 districts in the region (Shinyanga, Mwanza, Mara, Singida, Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Dodoma) have been declared by the Tanzanian Government as facing critical food shortages. Like for most of the countries of Eastern and the Horn of Africa, the lingering drought is indeed, becoming the worst drought in memory. Families, both pastoralists and agriculturalists, are going hungry with less than a full meal a day. All over the northern Tanzanian region, crops dried up for another consecutive year, due to insufficient rains in the just-ended 2010-2011 farming “masika” season. The looming hunger has also been exacerbated by drying of water sources.

2. Impact

It is estimated that at least more than 3 million people are affected by this drought, hence suffering food shortages. More than 400,000 metric tonnes of grain are needed to help these most-affected regions in northern Tanzania get through the next growing season.

3. National and international response

Though the Disaster Management Department has been distributing food to hunger-stricken families in these regions worst affected by drought, the supplies are not yet enough. In Simanjiro District, Manyara Region, for example, there was a first time 1.300 tonnes of maize distributed by the government. But as the situation got more critical, much more is needed, as per the assessment. The district authorities have appealed for additional food supplies due to the worsening situation brought about by the deepening drought.

The government has also been trying to sell grain from its strategic reserves at the subsidized price of Tshs 50 per kilogram, to help people in the area, but deep poverty means many lack funds to buy even this subsidized food. A portion has also been distributed to families that have no means to purchase it. For people living with HIV and AIDS, the effectiveness of the ARV drugs has been declining due to the diminishing level of nutrition among the patients.

Pastoralists from northern Tanzania have moved into southern regions in search of water and pasture resulting to increasing conflict with the agricultural communities

4. ACT Alliance response

The ACT Tanzania forum wishes to supplement the existing efforts through provision of critical emergency supplies of food and water to protect the lives of the affected households from hunger and starvation, targeting the most vulnerable families in the drought affected local communities.

The response will include:

Food: Provision of cereal (maize), pulses (beans) and cooking oil supplies to last the household up to the next growing season.

Seeds: Provision of maize and sorghum seeds for planting in the next season. Seed stocks have diminished, as people had to eat the seeds as a survival mechanism.
Water: Availing affordable and accessible water to the drought affected communities.

Members of the ACT Tanzania forum are: Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Church World Service (CWS), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (TCRS), Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Christian Aid (CA), Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM).

The forum is preparing an ACT appeal to be submitted to the ACT Secretariat by the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (TCRS). The emergency response will be implemented by TCRS in collaboration with other AFTZ members, in all affected regions.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, ACT Chief Finance Officer (

Vodacom Tanzania hits 10 million subscribers

* M-pesa users reach over 2 mln

* Telecoms sector in steady growth

DAR ES SALAAM, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Vodacom Tanzania, part of South Africa's Vodacom Group , increased its users to 10 million this month from 9 million in March this year, it said on Monday.

Ranked the largest mobile phone operator in east Africa's second biggest economy, Vodacom said its M-Pesa money transfer service had more than 2 million customers, double the number in 2009.

M-Pesa has been highly successful in neighbouring Kenya where the biggest operator, Safaricom , has over 9 million active users on the same service.

Tanzania's mobile phone subscribers rose 20 percent to 21 million last year as a vicious price war pushed tariffs down.

Mobile phone penetration in Tanzania stood at 47 percent last year, the communications regulator said.

Communications is the fastest-growing sector in Tanzania, accounting for 20 percent of gross domestic product in the country.

Other major players in Tanzania's mobile phone industry are Bharti Airtel, Millicom's subsidiary Tigo Tanzania and Zantel.

Some smaller companies such as state-run telecoms firm TTCL, Sasatel and Benson, have tiny share of the market.

Earlier this month, Vodacom named immediate former managing director of Airtel Kenya Rene Meza (pictured above) its managing director.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Four charged over Zanzibar ferry disaster

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Four people have been charged with causing the deaths of more than 200 people when a crowded ferry sank last week in Zanzibar, local media reported on Saturday.

The captain of the MV Spice Islander I ferry, Said Abdallah Kinyanyite, 58, who remains missing, was charged in absentia at the Zanzibar High Court on Friday.

Authorities said they could not confirm whether or not the captain had drowned in the accident in the early hours of September 10. More than 600 people survived the tragedy in the popular tourist destination.

Prosecutors also charged one of the owners of the ferry, Yusuf Suleiman Jussa, 47, first officer Abdallah Mohamed Ali, 30, and a Zanzibar Ports Authority employee responsible for passenger inspection, Silima Nyange Silima, 27.

Zanzibar's director of public prosecutions Ramadhan Nassib told the court their negligence led to the sinking of the ferry and the deaths of 203 people, Tanzania's Citizen newspaper reported.

The death toll rose to 203 after six bodies were found this week in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.

The prosecutor said the accused allowed the ferry to be overloaded with passengers and cargo.

Zanzibar authorities promised to punish those responsible for the Indian Ocean archipelago's worst ferry disaster.

Rescue teams, with the help of South African navy divers, on Friday abandoned efforts to retrieve more bodies thought to be trapped inside the capsized vessel.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Zanzibar yasitisha zoezi la utafutaji maiti kwenye meli chini ya bahari


 Serikali ya Mapinduzi ya Zanzibar jana imetoa tamko la kusitishwa rasmi kwa zoezi la utafutaji wa miili ya watu walionasa kwenye vyumba vya meli ya MV Spice Islander iliyozama eneo la Nungwi Kaskazini mwa Kisiwa cha Unguja huko Zanzibar kutokana na ugumu wa utekelezaji wa zoezi hilo.

 Afisa Habari wa Jeshi la Polisi Zanzibar Inspekta Mohammed Mhina, amesema kuwa kusitishwa kwa zoezi hilo kunatokana na kushindwa kwa wazamiaji wa Kimataifa kutoka nchini Afrika ya Kusini kuifikia meli hiyo kutokana na kina kirefu kilichopo eneo la ajali pamoja na hali mbaya ya hewa.

 Akitangaza uwamuzi huo wa Serikali, Makamu wa Pili wa Rais wa Zanzibar Balozi Seif Idi, amesema kuwa ingawa Serikali ilikuwa na nia ya kutaka kutolewa kwa kila mwili ulionasa kwenye meli hiyo, lakini imeonekana kuwa zoezi hilo ni gumu kutekelezeka.

 Amewaomba Watanzania kukubali kuwa ndugu zao waliopoteza maisha na miili yao kushindindikana kupatikana, ni mapenzi na maamuzi ya Mwenyezimungu aliyeamua kuwa bahari iwe sehemu ya makaburi ya ndugu zetu hao.

 Balozi Idi amesema kila mmoja hana budi ya kumshukuru Mungu na kukubaliana na hali hiyo kwani amesema hata kama Serikali ingekuwa na nia ya kuendelea na zoezi hilo, lingechukua muda mrefu na mwisho wa siku huenda pia mafanikio yasiwepo.

 Lakini pia Balozi Idi, amesema tangu kuzama kwa meli ya Spice Islander hadi leo ni muda mrefu kiasi ambacho hata kama miili ingefanikiwa kutolewa isingekuwa rahisi kutambulika kutokana na kuharibika vibaya.

 Katika hatua nyingine Balozi Idi amesema kuwa taarifa zote zinazohusu tukio hilo zitatolewa na ofisi yake ama kupitia kwa Waziri wa nchi katika ofisi yake Mh. Mohammed Aboud ili kuepuka utoaji wa taarifa za kuwachanganya wananchi.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Tanzania inflation jumps in August, more rises seen

  • Analysts see inflation staying on upward trajectory 
  • Food prices up 18.6 pct in August vs 15.9 pct in July 

DAR ES SALAAM, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Tanzania's consumer price inflation rose for the 10th straight month in August, and higher food costs and an energy crisis are expected to keep driving prices higher in the coming months, analysts said on Thursday.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the year-on-year inflation rate rose to 14.1 percent in August from 13.0 percent in July, mirroring rising inflation across east Africa.

"The inflation rate will continue to worsen going forward. The power situation is bad, causing costs of production to rise," said Humphrey Moshi, professor of economics at the University of Dar es Salaam.

"The shilling is depreciating at levels I've never seen before. The import intensity of the Tanzanian economy means that the weakening shilling will translate into higher import prices, hence higher inflation."

Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices -- which account for just under half of the basket of goods used to measure inflation -- rose 18.6 percent in the year through August, up from an annual rate of 15.9 percent in July.

Prices of rice, bread, pastry, maize, wheat flour, cassava, pork, chicken, fish, fresh cow's milk, fruit, vegetables, potatoes and sugar, all went up during the period, the bureau said.


"The forecast is that the inflation rate will rise even higher... Government plans to invest in irrigation farming are not forthcoming despite inadequate rainfall," said Moshi, adding that inflation could hit 16 percent in the year to September.

Rainfall has a big effect on inflation in the agrarian economies of east Africa, with good rains leading to good harvests and lower prices.

Tanzania's inflation rate last slowed in October, the month the statistics bureau introduced a new calculation methodology and lowered the weighting of food in the consumer price index basket.

Annual energy price inflation stood at 30.1 percent in August compared to 34.2 percent for the year ended July. On a monthly basis, the inflation rate rose 1.4 percent in August.

"With the inflation rate hitting double digits, government revenue collection falling and the value of the shilling declining, there is a danger of falling into an economic crisis," said Haji Semboja, a research fellow at the University of Dar es Salaam's Economic Research Bureau.

"Tanzania's economic growth has slumped in both the first and second quarters of this year. However, there are indications that the inflation rate might rebound in the fourth quarter of 2011 and start to decline."

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2011 growth forecast for Tanzania to 6 percent from 7.2 percent in March, saying frequent power outages would hurt output while food and fuel prices could push inflation higher.

Tanzania's Precision Air targets IPO for expansion

  • Funds raised to be used for expansion
  • Airline eyeing routes on Angola, Malawi, Zambia


Tanzania's Precision Air plans to raise around 28 billion shillings ($17.1 million) in an initial public offering next month after getting the regulatory nod for the share sale, its brokers said on Thursday.

Precision Air's chief executive told Reuters the money raised from the IPO would largely be used to finance the airline's fleet and route expansion plans.

"Much of it will go to expansion by acquiring more aircraft and acquisition of spares, which are critical for the operation of the airline," Alfonse Kioko said, adding that he expected the IPO to be oversubscribed.

Kioko said apart from its domestic routes, the airline currently operates flights to Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and the Comoros.

"We plan to expand to central and southern Africa, then look at west Africa before moving on to the Middle East and Asia," he said.

"We are currently looking at Luanda in Angola and Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Other areas also under consideration are Lusaka (Zambia) and Malawi," he said.

Subscriptions to the issue of 58,841,750 shares run Oct. 7-28, said Orbit Securities, sponsoring broker for the IPO.

Precision, which is 49-percent-owned by Kenya Airways , is the east African country's biggest airline and has set an IPO price of 475 shillings per share.

Orbit Chief Executive Laurean Malauri said foreigners would be allowed to buy the shares, which are expected to be listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) on December 8.

"Precision Air has a local market share of around 65 percent and we expect the IPO to be fully subscribed ... There is a lot of appetite in the market," he said.

Investors are also setting their sights on the cross-listing of African Barrick Gold (ABG) and an IPO in October arising from the sale by East African Breweries of its 20 percent stake in Tanzania Breweries Ltd .

Precision Air Chairman Michael Shirima, who owns a 51 percent stake in the airline, started the company in 1993, offering charter services with a five-seat Piper Aztec plane.

The firm operates daily flights to several domestic and regional destinations.

Existing shareholders will see their stakes diluted after the IPO.

"The local investor will remain, with 35.52 percent of the shares, Kenya Airways will hold 34.13 percent and the public will own a 30.35 percent stake," said Malauri.