Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.
How war in Ukraine could affect tourism in Tanzania
The tourism sector of Tanzania is set to be adversely affected by the ongoing war between European nations of Russia and Ukraine as the two countries seem to be the biggest sources of tourists who have been flocking both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar recently.
The war in Ukraine has entered its sixth day since Russia launched a large-scale invasion on its neighbour on February 24, 2022. The world response towards the Russian aggression has seen the transcontinental country slapped with heavy and unprecedented sanctions that many analysts think will cripple its economy.
Perhaps the severest action taken against Russia so far is the removal of some Russian banks from SWIFT, a messaging service that connects financial institutions around the world. Founded in 1973 to replace the telex, SWIFT is now used by over 11,000 financial institutions to send secure messages and payment orders, according to an analysis by CNN.
SWIFT allows banks to send each other instructions on how to transfer funds across borders. With some Russian banks disconnected from the service which is without an alternative most Russian travellers, including those with plans to visit Tanzania, will most likely think twice before they embark on the journey and there is a likelihood of cancelling their plans altogether.
This will be a big blow to Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar and the entire tourism ecosystem of the two members of the United Republic.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the global economy, the tourism sector in Tanzania was the largest source of forex, the second contributor of gross domestic product (GDP) and was the third-largest contributor to employment.
In Zanzibar, with a population of 1.7 million, 60 percent of the government spending comes from the tourism sector and the sector provided 33,000 direct employment and 72,000 indirect employment.
In the first half of 2021, Russia was the leading market for the tourism market in Tanzania, accounting for 74,579 tourists, which is equal to 19.89 per cent of the total number of tourists who visited the country. In the same period, tourists from Ukraine were about 9,568 tourists, making-up 2.5 percent of the market.
In Zanzibar, which received 394,185 tourists in the same year, 17.9 percent were Russian nationals and 3.74 percent were Ukranians. This is a significant number of tourists from the region that in a few years had little tourism outbound to Tanzania.
It is not for nothing that during his recent monthly press briefing, Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Mwinyi described Russia and Ukraine as “important areas” when it comes to the semi-autonomous archipelago’s tourism sector. President Mwinyi made the observation while announcing his government’s plan to support over 900 Ukrainian nationals stranded in Zanzibar.
The Visa Global Travel Intentions Study of 2018 estimated that Russian tourists spent an average of $1,676 per person holiday more than Europeans who spent $1,174. The report also suggests that the average Russian tourist withdraws a total of $547 from ATMs during holiday compared to $346 by Europeans.
By disconnecting some Russian banks from SWIFT, you can imagine how the measure could affect Russians who are willing to travel abroad. This is the same case for Ukrainians who are currently displaced and the situation is still dire.
But it does not end there. The recent blanket flight ban on Russian planes announced by the European Union and other countries engaging with Russian aviation companies is like putting a final nail in the coffin of Russian travellers since it will intensify the difficulty of Russia to travel abroad.
Furthermore, the economic sanctions, especially financial sanctions waged by the United States, European Union and their allies to respond to the military aggression carried out by Russian forces in Ukraine may harm the world economy, especially to some countries in the Global South that have been recipients of thousands of tourists from Russia.
OGP condemns ‘unjustified and unprovoked’ Russian attack on Ukraine
The co-chairs of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which include the Executive Director of Twaweza East Africa Mr Aidan Eyakuze, has “unequivocally” condemned the “unjustified and unprovoked” Russian attack on Ukraine, urging all of the open government community to do the same, “strongly and in the swiftest terms.”
The war in Ukraine has entered its sixth day since Russia launched a large-scale invasion of its neighbour on February 24, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated the attack under the pretext of “maintaining peace” in the Donbas area days after recognizing the independence of two separatist “republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk against the background of global condemnations coupled with sanctions from a number of Western countries.
In their statement on Tuesday, the co-chairs of the OGP, which include governments of Italy and Estonia as well as the director of an Uruguayan NGO Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD) Anabel Cruz, said:
“Reformers in and out of government in Ukraine have repeatedly displayed courage and resilience in the face of coercion and threats. We stand in solidarity with them and all Ukrainians now as they face an invasion intended to quell their hopes, replace those who lead their open, democratic institutions and unravel all the work done to make Ukrainian democracy work better for its citizens.”
The OGP is a multilateral initiative that works around securing commitments from national governments to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
As a member of the initiative, Ukraine has taken bold steps to strengthen its democracy and modernize its country, the co-chairs write.
“Model reforms have been implemented in public procurement, beneficial ownership transparency, and sale of public assets,” their statement reads in part. “This work has been built on a robust partnership between government, civil society, and media. It has set an example that many in OGP strive to follow in their own efforts.”
World Bank: Tanzania’s debt distress has worsened
The World Bank said on Tuesday that the risk of debt distress in Tanzania has worsened from low to moderate exacerbated by the poor performance of the tourism sector due to COVID-19 concerns.
The international lender made the observation in its 17th Tanzania Economic Update released yesterday.
According to the bank, the COVID-19-related impacts forced Tanzania to borrow non-concessional loans from financial partners in order to keep the economy afloat.
As a result, the risk that Tanzania might fall into debt distress has been reaffirmed by the World Bank.
The World Bank, however, advised on key areas that might help the country avert debt burdens.
The bank says it includes enhancement of public-sector debt statistics, focusing on projects that promise clear socioeconomic payoffs, balancing emergency spending with broader development agenda.
For more on Tanzania’s growing national debt, you might be interested to read an analysis by The Chanzo’s contributor Damas Kanyabwoya titled Tanzania: Debt Increase Sheds Spotlight on Major Projects.
14 missing as Tanzania registered Cessna Caravan crashes off the Comoros
A single-engine Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX registered 5H-MZA in Tanzania and owned by Fly Zanzibar Limited has crashed off Comoros. The fate of the 14 people on board could not be immediately established following Saturday’s accident. The aircraft crashed into the sea as it was about to land.
Captain Mohammed Mazrui, whose firm, Fly Zanzibar Limited, owned the aircraft, told The Citizen newspaper that the plane was leased to Comorian company AB Aviation for inter-island flights and was flying from the capital Moroni to the city of Moheli when the accident occurred.
The Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX left Hahaya Moroni airport on Saturday at 11:55 with 12 Comorian passengers and 2 Tanzanian pilots.
At 12:40, in the last contact with Mohéli airport, the crew of flight AY103 announced their intention to turn around to return to Grande Comore, the ceiling being too low, with winds at more than 50 kilometres per hour, and it was raining cats and dogs at Bandar Salam airport.
AB Aviation said the plane disappeared from radar about 2.5 kilometres from its destination, the airstrip of Bander Salam airport in Moheli, with the cause of the accident still unknown.
More than twenty-four hours after the crash at sea, there is little hope of finding survivors.
The first debris from the aircraft and the luggage were fished out of the ocean early Sunday evening by fishermen from Mohéli.
The Cessna Grand Caravan is an American-made transport aircraft. Economical, this model from the Cessna manufacturer is used in many parts of Africa. Fitted with a single-engine, its cruising speed is 343 km/h and it has a range of 1,759 kilometres.
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