Dar tops wealth list as Arusha ranked 7th

Arusha could be the Safari capital of the country, what with the world renowned Ngorongoro, the magnificent Serengeti and several other national parks and cool climate, but it ranks low in the economic ladder of the country far behind Mbeya, Shinyanga, Iringa and Morogoro, according to Bank of Tanzania’s latest statistics.

Likewise Lindi Region could sit on a mountain of billions of cubic feet of proven natural gas resources, but it is the second poorest region in Tanzania mainland after the Coast region, statistics show. 

The report which indicates economic strength of administrative regions in Tanzania mainland for 2012 shows Arusha is the 7th richest region in Tanzania with a gross domestic product (GDP) of Sh2.1 trillion ($1.3 billion), followed by Tanga (Sh2.09 trillion) and Kilimanjaro (Sh2.03 trillion).

 GDP is the total goods and services produced in a region or country within a year. It’s the common method used by economists to measure the economic performance of regions or countries around the globe.

One of the reasons for the low rank of Arusha in the economy of the country could be because most tour companies are foreign or Dar es Salaam-based, which means that most of the money tourists pay for accommodation and travel remains outside Arusha. 

“Many tour companies are foreign-owned. In fact this also raises the question of how the country benefits from the tourist attractions found in the country if most of the money paid remains outside the country,” a worker at a Dar es Salam-based travel agency, who requested for anonymity, told The Citizen yesterday.

Lindi Region has a GDP worth of Sh844 billion, followed by Singida (Sh857 billion) and Mtwara (Sh1.1 trillion). Coast has a GDP of Sh826 billion, Mr Mwihabe Rububura, an economist from BoT said.

Dar es Salaam is definitely the riches region with a GDP of Sh7.5 trillion, followed by Mwanza (Sh4.09 trillion) and Mbeya (Sh3.2 trillion). Tanzania mainland has a GDP of Sh44.7 trillion, according to the BoT.

Mr Rububura said yesterday that according to the economic growth trend of the last ten years, Mwanza, a region rich in minerals and fisheries, and with a city growing rapidly, is poised to further close its gap with leader Dares Salaam.

The bet for Mwanza would also be on a growing manufacturing sector.

 Mwanza economy is projected to grow by 8 per cent in 2014 if the levels of investment and the regional bloc trade remain unchanged.

“What we see in the short to medium term is a strong GDP growth rate for Mwanza, relying much on its income from fishing, farm products and livestock products,” said Mr Mwihabe Rububura, an economist from Bank of Tanzania (BoT) in Mwanza.

But the statistics released this week show a different picture, with Dar es Salam pulling far away from the rest of the regions in the last 10 years.

In 2003, when Dar had a GDP of Sh1.9 trillion, Mwanza, which was also the second richest region had the GDP of Sh1 trillion. In 2009 as Dar’s economy grew to Sh4.8 trillion, Mwanza’s was Sh2.5 trillion.

But as Dar’s economy nearly tripled during the past decade reaching Sh5.2 trillion, its rival, Mwanza doubled to Sh2.9 trillion, despite the collapse of the Nile Perch industry and the cotton sector, which were key in boosting the region’s economy.

 By the end of 2004, Nile Perch exports to European markets from Mwanza Region reached a record high of $190 million, while cotton exports roughly earned about $90 million during the same period.

But, by the end of last year, Nile Perch’s exports declined to about $80 million as cotton exports also tumbled thanks to oversupply in the global market mainly from China, Pakistan and Brazil, affecting Mwanza’s economic growth.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Annastazia Freddy, from Mwanza, Tanzania
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