‘Dar will outpace all other African cities in growth’

26Feb 2016
The Guardian
‘Dar will outpace all other African cities in growth’

Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's most populous city in the country with more than 4.5 million people with annual growth of 4.9 per cent. The expansion though, comes with major challenges related to waste management and infrastructure.

Waste can be separated into plastics and organic compost that can produce additional revenue for waste collectors and fertilizer for urban agriculture. About 90 per cent of leaf vegetables in Dar es Salaam Region are grown in the city.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) reports in Tracking Africa’s Progress in Figures that Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and the country’s trading hub, will outpace all other African cities in growth between 2010 and 2025, followed by Nairobi, Kenya; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Luanda, Angola; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Describing urbanization as “a pan-African phenomenon,” the bank estimates that between 1960 and 2011, Africa’s urban population rose from 19 per cent to 39 per cent, and projects that 50 per cent of Africans will live in urban areas by 2040.

It is open secret that indeed Dar es Salaam is a rapidly growing city, from the new infrastructural projects to its people, literally. With an annual population increase of over three per cent each year, it’s the third fastest growing city in Africa—and one of the fastest in the world.

It also has a large expatriate community. Though no longer the country’s capital, Dar es Salaam is the largest city in the country and remains the political and economic hub.

There has been great investment in education here, with an extensive programme to provide free primary schooling, efforts that were lauded by international bodies when enrolment rates reached over 90 per cent.

The city is also home to the largest and oldest public university in Tanzania, the University of Dar es Salaam, which recently celebrated its 50-year anniversary and has seen a sharp increase in the number of registered students.

There’s also the Institute of Technology (DIT), one of the leading institutions providing technical training in the region. In In order to make Dar es Salaam city competitive with other European cities there are a number of challenges which need to be addressed. Such challenges include plans to revamp the neglected railway transport network.

Millions has also been spent over the past five years to improve the cities roads, making travelling a lot more efficient. Situated close to the equator, the city enjoys tropical conditions for most of the year.

Though Dar es Salaam has its own magnificent beaches (including many exclusive resorts), the island of Zanzibar is also just a short ferry ride away.

To achieve the city’s development, we need much more than just resources. Certainly, money can address some of the deficits that trap millions of the people living in the city - especially in the outskirts of the city who live in poverty.

They need infrastructure, starting with the roads that will take them to school or market, as well as electrification, water and sanitation systems. They need education, healthcare, decent wages, access to finance.