Domestic and industrial use of natural gas in Tanzania is already on the rise and may very well spread to other areas, such as motor vehicle fuel. As East Africa’s second largest economy, Tanzania is also home to some 57 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits, much of those in the country’s southeastern regions and offshore
Transportation infrastructure for the gas from source to areas where value-addition occurs has also been put in place – most notable being the gas pipeline linking Mtwara to Dar es Salaam.
Gas distribution networks are also expanding, with the number of gas-powered factories going up.
As the President John Magufuli government’s industrialisation drive gears up, more gas-powered factories will be established, thus boosting gas use.
More households have turned to gas use in the last decade or so than ever before – if only because natural gas is more convenient to access and use than solid fuel, particularly charcoal and firewood.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, the gas explosion in Buguruni, Dar es Salaam, on Tuesday night signalled a gas reality, the first of its kind in Tanzania – the dangers and other risks that are associated with the use of natural gas.
Gas-related accidents can be extremely dangerous. It is, therefore, important to ensure from early on that appropriate safety measures – including education among the society – are undertaken.
Town planners must always ensure that gas transportation infrastructures and related facilities are at a secure distance from residential and other communal areas so that people are safe from accidents and rescue efforts can be conducted safely, rapidly.
Gas suppliers and users must also abide by all the safety measures and standards that are set by reputable institutions.
We welcome gas use, but we should also learn how to keep our communities safe from possible harm from the transportation, handling and use of gas.
East Africa shouldnt go hungry
Self-sufficiency in food remains a big challenge for many African countries over half a century after attaining independence. This has hampered the continent’s socio-economic progress as resources that could have gone into taking care of other pressing needs are used to feed the hungry.
East Africa is among regions that have been unable to exploit their vast potential. As a result, governments have to part with huge sums of money to import food meant to stave off hunger and starvation.
The paradox is that the region, like most of the continent is endowed with fertile lands, abundant water resources and a favourable climate that should enable the growing of enough crops to feed the region.
There is absolutely no reason why this region cannot become the continent’s main food supplier.
Today, Uganda is said to have the most arable land in the region, which, if put to good use, could help eliminate the donor relief food dependency problem.
This region is also among a handful in the world that are endowed with large fresh water bodies, including lakes and rivers that could be tapped for irrigation.