Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Why bustling Mwanza is sitting on a ticking time bomb

From The Citizen Daily, Dar es Salaam
By Ray Naluyaga

Just about ten years ago it was inconceivable that the dusty town of Mwanza that had just been declared city could have skyscrapers that are now jutting into the sky. From its humble beginnings after it was founded in 1892 as a centre for coordinating cotton exports, Mwanza is now one of the fastest expanding cities in Africa in terms of population growth and economic and social activities.

The speed of its growth was partly to blame for the recent hawkers’ riots in which at least one person was killed and several others injured. Damage to property ran into millions of shillings. It was a conflict that was caused by a scramble for the available resources.

However, despite this growth, which over the last decade has seen several skyscrapers being erected, tens of kilometres of tarmac roads built and the hospitality industry expand substantially, the city fathers, like those of Dar es Salaam, seem unable to cope with the rapid development.

For example, Mwanza city has two major roads - Makongoro that connects the airport and the city centre and Musoma, which runs from Nyegezi to the city centre. Nyamagana District, the cosmopolitan part of the city, is right in the middle of suburbs that cover a radius of approximately ten kilometres. This means that almost all of the traffic heads in one direction where more than 90 per cent of services such as banks, hospitals, markets and shops are to be found.

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