Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania over the weekend.
Kilimanjaro Mountain blaze burns for three days
Firefighters in the Kilimanjaro region are trying to put off a fire that broke out on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, with police and local people helping firefighters tackle the blaze, several media outlets reported over the weekend.
The fire was burning near the camp Karanga site used by climbers ascending the mountain, at about 4,000 metres altitude on the south side of the mountain, reports suggest.
Officials have not yet established how the fire started, but it comes two years after a blaze raged for a week in October 2020 across 95 sq km (37 sq miles).
The fire started on Friday evening and was spread by strong winds during the night, according to Kilimanjaro regional commissioner Nurdin Babu. They could not yet say how much ground it covered.
A plane transporting local officials and leading members of the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) for a visit to evaluate the situation was unable to land on Saturday.
“Large clouds and the smoke prevented us from reaching the fire zone,” Babu told journalists over the weekend. “We will try again when the situation improves.”
Police in the region said they were focusing on getting the fire under control and could not yet say how big it was or what impact it was having on the population.
On Sunday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Prof Eliamani Sedoyeka said the government is seeking support from the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (JWTZ) to control the fire.
“We have more than 500 people at the scene but we have communicated to the TPDF and we expect them to arrive anytime as we push to stop this inferno,” Sedoyeka was quoted by The Citizen newspaper as saying.
“What we are doing now is to prevent the fire from descending into the thick forest and we hope that if we increase our strength we will be able to control this fire within two days because we have already managed to control it in two areas,” he added.
Barrick is looking to expand its East African footprint
President and chief executive of Barrick Gold Corporation Mark Bristow has said that the company is looking to expand its East African footprint from its Tanzanian base, according to a statement released Sunday by the company.
Mr Bristow was speaking to the media at a briefing at a local school near the North Mara Mine where he said that the resurrection of these moribund mines and their transformation into an asset with the potential to be included in Barrick’s elite Tier One portfolio as a combined complex was a remarkable success story.
“Our groundbreaking Twiga partnership with the Tanzanian government not only settled its long-running disputes with the mines’ previous operators but has established a model for mutually beneficial cooperation between miners and their host countries, particularly in Africa,” Mr Bristow was quoted as saying.
“By demonstrating that Tanzania is an investor-friendly destination it also augurs well for the future of the country’s mining industry,” he added.
Both North Mara and Bulyanhulu have been ramping up production, with North Mara hitting a record 505,000 tonnes of ore and waste mined in the last quarter, the company said in a statement.
It continues to optimize the underground operation while the change to an owner-mining strategy has boosted the expansion of both the mine and open pit operations.
At Bulyanhulu, the development of the main declines to access the Deep West zone of the orebody started last quarter. The production ramp-up at both mines is being supported by fleet upgrades.
“We continue to target further growth through reconnaissance and the consolidation of key licences,” Bristow said. “Extension opportunities are being assessed along the Gokona strike and throughout the Bulyanhulu Inlier. Results from the deep drilling at Gokona are pointing to a significant potential for extending North Mara’s life.”
He added that in addition to the brownfield exploration designed to maintain the positive trend of resource expansion and conversion at the two mines, the company is also looking further afield.
“A better understanding of the region’s geological architecture will improve our ability to discover new world-class development opportunities in our areas of interest,” Bristow said.
In line with Barrick’s localisation policy, Tanzanians make up 96 per cent of mines’ workforces, with 45 per cent drawn from the communities surrounding the mines, according to the company.
Host country nationals account for 58 per cent of the senior management, the company added. During the past quarter, the mines spent $339 million with Tanzanian suppliers and service providers, the company said.
Since it took over the mines in 2019, Barrick has contributed over $2.1 billion to the Tanzanian economy.
VP Mpango: Private sector driver of tourism sector
Vice President Philip Mpango on Saturday officially opened the 6th edition of the Swahili International Tourism Expo and pledged the government’s continued improvement of the country’s infrastructure of tourism services.
In addition, Mpango said the government has since 2020 been working to align infrastructures and providing incentives to attract investment in tourism.
“We are also vigorously promoting other unpopular touristic attractions, especially in the southern corridor of our country, including Mikumi, Ruaha, Julius Nyerere and Udzungwa National Parks which we believe also have a great potential to boost this sector to new heights,” Dr Mpango said in Dar es Salaam.
He said achievements recorded in the pre-COVID-19 pandemic period and the recent recovery are a clear testimony of joint efforts made by the government and the private sector to boost the development of the tourism sector.
“The government recognizes the importance of the private sector as the driver and engine of the tourism sector and over the years, we have been taking a number of legal and fiscal reforms to support the growth of the sector,” said Dr Mpango.
He added that there is a plethora of tourism investment opportunities including the construction of hotels, lodges, holiday homes, developing amusement parks, sea and lake cruising as well as expanding tour operators and agencies.
Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Pindi Chana said the Swahili International Tourism Expo was established in 2014 to promote Tanzania’s tourist attractions and investment opportunities.
It is a part of the implementation of a tourism marketing strategy to attract tourists to visit destination Tanzania and increase tourism contribution to the country’s economy.
The expo, which started Friday and will end Sunday, is held after a hiatus of two years because of COVID-19.
This year’s expo feature business exhibitions, investment forums and seminars, speed-networking sessions, cultural performances, and familiarization trips to unique tourist attractions across Tanzania.
It is being attended by more than 200 domestic and overseas exhibitors, over 100 international buyers from within and outside Africa, and more than 5,000 trade visitors.
Chana said the expo has attracted stakeholders in the tourism industry from countries including China, Indonesia, India, the United Kingdom, Oman, Mozambique, Malawi, Algeria and Zimbabwe.
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