The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) marked its 13th anniversary last Friday by, among other activities, holding a forum on how best our ports can contribute to realisation of Tanzania’s industrialisation goals. The general idea is for Tanzania to become a semi-industrialised, middle-income economy by 2025 when the national development vision is expected to have been realised following the ongoing five-year development plans launched in June 2011.
In that regard, port users in particular and other stakeholders at large called on TPA and the government to find ways and means of improving the efficiency of Dar es Salaam Port and enhancing its competitiveness in the region.
Most of the recommended improvements are not that new. Among these are improving security; cutting down on unmitigated logistical bureaucracy, costs and time in terms of port clearance processes and procedures; related market research, and awareness/promotional activities.
But a relatively innovative measure is the call by the Natural Resources and Tourism deputy permanent secretary, Dr Aloyce Nzuki, to install special cruise ship terminals at our ports.
The call was prompted by seemingly incessant enquiries for such terminals by cruise ship operators whose passengers, mostly foreign tourists, hanker after a pleasurable (albeit brief) stay in Tanzania, but can hardly do so for lack of the requisite port facilities.
TPA was established to administer Tanzania’s ports and other marine facilities. It also manages ocean-going vessels traffic in the ports while ensuring safety and security for one and all, at all times.
The authority operates a system of ports serving the Tanzania hinterland and the landlocked countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
It should now earnestly seek to serve foreign cruise ships as well, thus adding yet another feather to its cap – to say nothing of a new source of tourist dollars.
Find solution to Syria conflict
The seven-year conflict in Syria is threatening to escalate into a global security concern following developments of the last few days. Western powers last week accused the government of President Bashar al Assad of using chemical weapons on its own people, and responded by launching a missile attack on a number of targets in the cities of Damascus and Homs on Saturday.
The conflict, which began as an “Arab Spring” uprising against Mr al Assad in 2011, is already a highly complicated affair, as it also involves a number of foreign players, who are involved either directly or through proxies. This is already having a destabilising effect on the region, and developments of the last few days could widen the conflict and threaten global security.
The major powers that are involved in the war should use their influence to find a peaceful solution to the conflict instead of flexing their muscles in a particularly destructive way in a country that has seen its fair share of misery and suffering in the last seven years.