Just ended an interesting two-week field trip to Tanzania. Me and the one eyed professor Trond, named so after a lost battle with his contact lens in the flight over, have been travelling around the Tanzanian country side, together with our Tanzanian colleague Dr. Neema Moori.
Like three explorers we have travelled on bumpy “roads” in a 4wd jeep meeting many small businesses around Tanzania and also presented and discussed research at the University of Dar Business School, the leading business school in Tanzania, on micro entrepreneurship and microfinance.
Driving on the left hand side was an experience. When we changed from driving on the left hand side to the right during a weekend in the 1960s, the Swedes allegedly first started with busses and trucks on day one, and on day two allowed cars to switch side (a Norwegian joke..…).. In Dar es Salam we experienced some of this when driving in the “mixed lane” in the middle…
We have met many innovative entrepreneurs, discussing gold mining operations and suggested alternative methods instead of their dangerous usage of mercury and cyanide, seen farming, visited a dairy production, a security business, a honey business, a power plant in Burundi, solar-power companies, coffee and fruit juice operations, construction companies and much more.
We also met Statoil and learnt about the current status and plans for the country. They have found gas 100 km out in the sea outside the Tanzania coastline. Drilling for gas in depths of 2000 meters is new to Statoil and the transportation of the gas once recovered is not the easiest thing. One of the biggest obstacles to Statoil is getting the bureaucratic permits and reaping any revenues from the drilling lies years ahead, but the government of Tanzania is already busy setting up a “welfare fund”.
In terms of the small businesses, there is no shortage of ideas and opportunities and the future of Tanzania is promising, although some major challenges and risks are ahead, such as road infrastructure, schooling, health and housing, and of course access to finance and an efficient government. A day at a pig and poultry farm was encouraging with environmentally friendly production methods, and good treatment of the animals, but we smelled like pigs back at the hotel afterwards….
Over the weekend we took a small, Indiana Jones inspired, plane to Stone Town, Zanzibar, see blog. When sitting just behind the pilots we noticed how the co-pilot fell asleep and awoke when we landed…. The other pilot was a short fellow who had to stand up while landing the plane, quite the scene, but we landed safely. Tanzania and not the least Zanzibar is blessed with some amazing shorelines and beautiful scenery. Islam is the dominant religion at Zanzibar, whereas Tanzania is more mixed between Islam and Christianity.
While travelling we were pulled over 4 times by different cops for various reasons, such as crossing the double-lines in the middle of the road, which of course we had not done. All this was part of the daily revenue generation strategy by the police force. The revenues from the first 150 pulled over go to the government, while the rest go to the police force… If they stopped you, it was better to pay the 20 dollars than to spend 30 minutes discussing with them, which they knew. But they were very nice, typically dressed in white.
Today, coming home to celebrate my “insanely great” first born and oldest daughter Ella, turning 13 years old. <3<3<3<3
Asante sana (thank you)!