Sunday, November 05, 2017

Dar es Salaam

Leaving the sheltered island life of Unguja behind, the red “Kilimanjaro” catamaran made its way across the somewhat rough seas of the Zanzibar Channel before slowly navigating into the busy harbour of Dar es Salaam. Everywhere Chinese containers are being unloaded and new buildings are coming up. While China has a long history of investing in Tanzania going back to the 1970’s when 56 000 Chinese workers built the railway between Dar es Salaam and Zambia, the Belt and the Road Initiative has super-charged Chinese investments in the region. Although there may be some less noble short-term motives (including a chance for corrupt Chinese elites to laundry money), I believe that China is right about their long game here. Few things seem more important for the world than ensuring that Africa keeps moving out of poverty. Still, the mere numbers are breathtaking. According to recent estimates, Dar es Salaam could have a population in excess of 70 million by the end of this century.

Late tonight, it is time to head back to Umeå and Tomtebo. Looking out from the hotel window, I can see the fully loaded ferry on its way over to Kigamboni. Far down along that coast lies Moçambique. I do not know when but it somehow feels like I will be back to this part of the world. But for now, a long winter in North Sweden awaits.


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