Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.
Tanzanian nationals sue Barrick Gold in Canada
Twenty-one Tanzanian nationals filed a legal case on Thursday against Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold for grave human rights violations at the company’s North Mara gold mine in Tanzania, the UK-based watchdog group Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) said in a press release yesterday.
The action by the plaintiffs, who are members of the Indigenous Kurya community amongst whose villages in northern Tanzania the mine has been built, concerns brutal killings, shootings and torture that they allege were committed by police engaged to guard the mine.
They are represented by the law firms Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman LLP and Waddell Phillips. Filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the case includes claims for five deaths, five incidents of torture, and a further five injuries from shootings by the “mine police”.
It is the first time Barrick is facing legal action in Canada for human rights violations at one of its operations abroad. In correspondence with RAID, Barrick says that the mine does not employ, “supervise, direct or control” police assigned to it, and is not responsible for their conduct.
However, RAID describes the North Mara mine as “notorious for violence against the Kurya people” who lived on, farmed and mined the land on which Barrick’s mine has been built.
Earlier this month, RAID reported that the North Mara mine ranks as one of the deadliest industrial mines in Africa for security-related violence, with at least 77 people killed and 304 injured, many on multiple occasions, by police responsible for mine security.
Most of these incidents occurred after Barrick acquired the mine in 2006.
According to RAID, central to the violence has been the mine’s use of Tanzanian police officers for security. The North Mara mine pays, equips, feeds and houses approximately 150 police officers on an ongoing basis, who operate under a signed agreement between the company and the police, the organisation reports.
They are armed with rifles, submachine guns, batons and wooden clubs, as well as teargas and sound bombs that they fire from launchers.
RAID’s research, including interviews with a whistleblower from the mine’s internal security team, has found that the police form an important part of the North Mara mine’s security structure.
They are present in the mine’s central control room, share the same radio frequency as the mine’s internal security team, and are continuously deployed around the mine site.
Retail-tech startup Ramani secures $32 million Series A funding
Ramani, a Tanzanian start-up which is building a cloud network of micro-distribution centres for Africa’s US$1 trillion consumer-packaged goods supply chain, has announced the close of its US$ 32 million Series A funding round.
Founded in 2019 by Iain Usiri, Calvin Usiri and Kibet Martin, Ramani is focused on fixing fragmented consumer goods supply chains that traditionally suffer from a lack of data visibility and are burdened by limited access to financial services.
To address these challenges, the startup provides tech-enabled inventory management systems, procurement, and point-of-sale software to digitise the processes of micro-distribution centres (MDCs), helping them gain real-time sales insights and inventory visibility. Ramani is then also able to leverage this data to offer up inventory with delayed payment terms, enabling them to scale.
This year, the company acquired a lending license from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to scale its customers further, and it has now banked a US$32 million debt and equity funding round to help it grow.
The round was led by renowned global technology investors Flexcap Ventures and Jared Schreiber, the founder and CEO of Infoscout. Originally backed by Y Combinator, Ramani also raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding in 2021, which included participation from Village Global, Goat Capital, Musha Ventures, Hustle Fund, Future Africa, Launch Africa Ventures, Raba Capital, and angel investor James Beshara.
With this new capital funding, Ramani will scale its network of MDCs and also launch a new micro-credit offering for select MDCs.
Usiri, one of the start-up’s founders, said that their goal is to make it easier for businesses to succeed in Africa and this new capital is another brick in that foundation.
“We’ve leveraged our Silicon Valley relationships and partnered with globally renowned investors, many of whom are successful founders themselves. We’re committed to repaying their faith in us and in Africa,” Disrupt Africa quoted Usiri.
Govt partners with Egyptian firm to improve super-specialised health services
In its attempt to make Tanzania a centre of excellence in the provision of specialised and super-specialised health services, the government has signed a deal with Egypt’s Alameda Healthcare group to enhance the availability of specialised and super-specialised health services in the country.
According to a statement released on Wednesday, the deal was entered between the Ministry of Health and the Egyptian firm in what has been described as part of Tanzania’s medical tourism drive.
The government had signed similar agreements with India, Israel, Turkey, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda, the statement added.
The Alameda Healthcare deal will enable the country to access training for medical personnel, exchange expert skills; build patient referral services; and develop online medical consultation services.
The government claims that efforts have so far reduced the number of referrals abroad by 95 per cent while attracting patients from neighbouring countries.
The Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) and the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) say they are receiving patients from Kenya, Burundi, DRC, Malawi, Comoro and Mozambique.
TANESCO renews Mou with Kibo Energy on power production
Kibo Energy, the renewable-energy-focused development company, signed a renewed MoU with Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) in relation to the development of the Mbeya Power Project.
First announced on February 18, 2018, the partnership sought to build a 300MW mine-mouth power station to alleviate the acute energy deficiency in Tanzania.
Based on the Public-Private Partnership (PPA) deal, TANESCO will purchase power with a capacity of 300 MW from Mbeya Power, a subsidiary of Kibo.
The project is Kibo’s initial flagship energy project based in Tanzania where the company aims to build a 300 MW steam-powered power station in alignment with the Tanzanian Power System Master Plan (2020).
The renewed MoU provides Kibo with the opportunity to reintroduce the project into its development plans.
Louis Coetzee, CEO of Kibo Energy, said in a statement that the company was delighted to see its agreement with TANESCO renewed.
“The renewed MoU provides Kibo with an exciting opportunity to resume co-operation with TANESCO in contributing towards addressing Tanzania’s extensive and urgent energy needs,” the statement quotes Mr Coetzee as saying.
“We are particularly excited to embark on this process and to also introduce our bio-fuel approach for evaluation as a possible substitute fuel source for the project, which if proven feasible, will convert the project into a carbon neutral project which in itself could have far-reaching implications for similar utility-scale projects in the Southern Africa region,” he added.
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