Tanzania from space, by night

Political patronage can be seen from space, according to a recent academic study. And elsewhere, the light given off at night by cities shows sharp discrepancies between neighbouring countries – South and North Korea and China, for example.

So what about Tanzania?

I found two sets of maps produced by NASA (the US space agency) and loaded onto Google Maps, for 2003 and 2012. Let’s take a look at 2012 first:

Tanzania night light map 2012

Tanzania night light map 2012

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Chart of the week #19: Does CCM have the numbers?

It is arguably the key question facing Tanzanian politics in the short term: does CCM have the numbers? Can they ignore the opposition, and force their will upon the next draft of Tanzania’s constitution?

The constitutional review process limps onwards, amid widespread scepticism. Ukawa (the coalition of Chadema, CUF and NCCR, the leading opposition parties) has withdrawn its members from the Constituent Assembly (CA), complaining that President Kikwete and CCM were not listening to their concerns, most particularly on the two-government / three-government issue. This leaves a chamber dominated by CCM members, plus most of “the 201″ – those appointed by the President to the assembly – and just a couple of others.

Without Ukawa, there is little doubt that CCM can write the next draft of the constitution however they want. More tricky, however, is whether they can pass it. Continue reading

Choose your metaphor: off the rails, broken down, off course?

Cartoonists work in metaphors, and today there is a clear theme in the Tanzanian press.

It’s all about the Constituent Assembly, preparing another draft of what may become Tanzania’s next constitution, and doing so without the participation of the leading opposition parties and several others.

And at the same time, it’s all about transport.

On the wrong track, off the rails, (or an accident waiting to happen) says King Kinya in The Citizen:

Citizen cartoon 180814 Continue reading

Chart of the week #18: What do Tanzanians think about corruption?

Three charts from Twaweza’s latest Sauti za Wananchi brief, on corruption.

First, how do Tanzanian citizens see corruption now compared to ten years ago?

corruption seen to be on the rise

 

And second, how familiar are Tanzanians with the big corruption scandals of the last few years? Continue reading

President Kikwete on avoiding the resource curse, and transparency in company registrations

President Kikwete spoke in Washington earlier this week, as part of the US-Africa Leadership Summit. The clip below comes from the Civil Society Forum Global Town Hall event, where he shared a platform with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Vice President, Joe Biden, and the Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, among others.

The questioner asks first what Tanzania is doing to avoid the resource curse, and second what message the President has for SADC leaders about Robert Mugabe and the situation in Zimbabwe. President Kikwete neatly avoids the second, but gives a lengthy response to the first. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) gets a mention, though there is nothing on transparency in extractives’ contracts.

I did note, however, an interesting remark on transparency in company ownership registers:

“We are now working on transparency with regard top who owns what – who is who in terms of ownership of the companies that are operating in the country.”

The full session is also available on YouTube, as is another session at the same event, featuring my boss, Rakesh Rajani of Twaweza, in a discussion about the Open Government Partnership in Africa.

Chart of the week #17: Tanzania exports far more to SADC than to the EAC

The Daily News had an interesting economic headline earlier this week: Tanzania’s exports to SADC countries soars. According to the article, 29% of Tanzania’s exports go to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), while only 10% go to East African Community (EAC) countries.

It’s based on new data from the Bank of Tanzania, published in their Financial Stability Report and Quarterly Economic Bulletin.

The article itself got in a bit of a mess, confusing economic growth rates with growth in trade. Nevertheless, the basic point is still interesting: Tanzania exports nearly three times as much to SADC countries as to EAC countries.

Perhaps, therefore, Tanzania should worry less about getting East African integration right, and focus more on its southern neighbours instead? Continue reading

A plan with (some) potential

Tanzania’s latest Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan is now available, on the much-improved opengov.go.tz website. The plan covers the two years from July 2014 to June 2016.

The first action plan was a disappointment, with very few of the 25 commitments implemented. This time there are only five, but they are focussed and (mostly) ambitious:

1. Freedom of Information: To enact an FOI by December 2014.
2. Open Data: To establish an open data system by December 2016.
3. Budget Transparency: To make budget data (eight key budget reports), audit committee reports and tax exemptions publicly available by December 2014.
4. Land Transparency: Make land use plan, ownership and demarcated areas for large scale land deals accessible online for public use by June 2016.
5. Extractive Industries Transparency: Tanzania to fulfill its EITI commitments by June, 2015

The good points? Continue reading