Arusha, Tanzania (eTN) – The Tanzanian government is currently undertaking a major repositioning of Arusha in preparation for the dawn of the eight edition of Sullivan summit in June 2008.
“In what could go down in history as one of the most ambitious projects, the ‘reposition scheme’ worth of over 6.07bn/- will see the ‘Geneva of Africa’ status symbol become a reality,” Arusha Municipal Executive Director (AMC), Dr. Job Laizer, said.
The complementary Geneva of Africa’ title became a popular catchphrase, after former US President Bill Clinton compared Arusha with Switzerland’s city, which also hosts the United Nation’s offices, among other various international organizations. Clinton made this remark when he visited Arusha in August 2000 to witness the Burundi peace signing pact, which was preceded by the former South African President, Nelson Mandela.
Lighting the dark town
“To start with, the transformation plan will see the northern Tanzania safari capital of Arusha having street lights installed alongside of all its 32 streets,” Dr. Laizer said last week at a press conference.
To that effect, according to him, the AMC has already struck a deal with a private firm, Skytel, a subsidiary company of Mwaakatel, to install street lights at a tune of 1.05bn/-
According to the signed “light pact,” the Skytel firm, will fix the street lights at its own cost, pay power tariff and maintain the system for five years, where in turn, the company will place onto lights poles billboards from interested firms and collect the fees without interference of AMC.
Already, the firm installed the lights along the Afrika ya Mashariki road, which leads to the international conference centre, Makongoro, and Boma roads at the heart of Arusha, signifying the end of the beginning of the infamous name of “dark town.”
“The most ambitious project of lighting the “dark town” should be completed by 30th of April, 2008,” the AMC chief explained.
“We want to transform Arusha into a vibrant gateway to Eastern Africa bloc,” Dr. Laizer said, adding, “besides the street lights, over the last few months, major roads construction and rehabilitation have been undertaken in order to raise the status of the town.”
He further said that the AMC has also requested about 5.2bn/-from the National Leon Sullivan summit preparation committee to be injected to tarmac some of the town’s roads.
Dr. Laizer, however, enumerated two roads that will be constructed at the tarmac level through AMC and road toll funds as includes one along the Arusha Crown Hotel and another adjacent to Arusha Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Authority headquarter.
In a move to decongest Arusha’s urban roads during the climax of the Sullivan Summit, the AMC also will construct 2 kilometers road from the National Milling Corporation (NMC) in Unga-Ltd to Parastatal Pension Fund’s real estate in Njiro, Maboksini sub-location to disbanded Tanzania Litho factory and 6.5 kilometers truck from Nane nane grounds to Mbauda suburb at the gravel level.
With regard to the municipality streets cleanliness, Dr. Laizer said his authority has contracted a private firm to that end.
Arusha with over 300,000 people and being a hub for trade in Northern Tanzania, which receives nearly 150,000 traders every day, is producing 4,010 metric tons of wastes a day. However the full capacity of AMC is to collect 60 percent produced within the town center per day, according to Dr. Laizer, while the rest are normally produced in the outskirts of town and cleared off traditionally.
The AMC also imposed a stringent ban to bar a considerable number of cart movements within the town centre, as part of the grand plan to ensure the municipality is clean.
Tanzania’s northern safari capital is home to the largest hub and gateway to the East African region. It is a land with the highest potential for irrigated agriculture in the country – some of the best land for livestock ranching, and a large tourism industry. It has substantial potential for dairy and poultry production, coffee and horticulture production. However, this potential is not fully utilized, and commercial agriculture is yet to become a way of life in the territory.
With humble beginnings way back in 1900 as a minor German military garrison, currently Arusha is not only the Tanzania’s most active tourism hub, but also the Headquarter of the wider East African Community (EAC) with population of nearly 120 million people.
The EAC bloc comprising Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania, is currently in talks to set up a common market, after the Customs Union pact, as an entry point, had came into force in January 2005.
There is likelihood that the fast growth of Arusha as an economic hub of the entire northern Tanzania today had its origins in the colonial days when it was made the administrative headquarters of the Northern Province. Moshi, emerged later during the coffee boom of the 1950s and 1960s.
Arusha, has been, it is now and might continue to be an important centre for economic undertakings in northern Tanzania. Mention anything, of course, with few exceptions like cashew nuts or tobacco farming and the like.
The Arusha region has a population of 270,485 (2002 census). This city is located on a plateau in the Great Rift Valley amidst the Serengeti Plain, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro National park.
Tanzania’s safari capital of Arusha was also officially announced to be the venues for the 8th Edition of Leon Sullivan Summit come June 2008.
Over the course of one week, the Sullivan Summit will host nearly 3,000 Africa’s Diaspora, mostly from America and nearly 30 African heads of state, corporate executives, policy-makers and academics who will discuss areas of cooperation and planning for infrastructure, investment, tourism and the environment across Africa.