JOHANNESBURG - Ernest Hemingway published a short story called The Snows of Kilimanjaro in an American magazine called Esquire in 1936. The story opens with a paragraph about Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, whose western summit is called the “House of God”.
There, we are told, lies the frozen carcass of a leopard. Interestingly, the world has come to experience great wonders of Africa and go back home to write and publish them.
Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, is home to Kilimanjaro and the deepest lake in Africa, Lake Tanganyika.
Tanzania also has one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. The highly gifted nation is the only country on the continent that offers access to four of the Seven Natural African Wonders - Nile River, the Serengeti migration, Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro.
While beaches may not be one of the first things that you think of when you imagine an African safari, a trip to the beautiful island of Zanzibar is the perfect way to round it off.
One of the great brand exports of Tanzania can be found near Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzanite, a dark blue precious stone that invokes so much global attention, has made the country wealthy.
Another historic fact, was that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was, for a period of time, sitting in Arusha, Tanzania.
The country has an estimated population of 56 million and a gross domestic product (GDP) closer to $57 billion (R796bn).
According to World Bank (2018), Tanzania has been put on the African map of quality leadership that strives to fight corruption and maintain good governance in all sectors of the economy. President John Magafuli, the “Bulldozer”, cancelled the symbolic independence day fête just days after taking office in late 2015 and directed all the funds budgeted for the event to be used to widen a part of a highway notorious for gridlocks in the main city of Dar es Salaam.
He also went on to ban international travel for government delegates, saving the state close to $430million in one-year, making it the fourth-fastest growing economy in under 2 years of the new governance.
Africans on Twitter loved all of it with the hashtag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo? asking other presidents to emulate the no-nonsense Tanzanian leader.
Professor PLO (Patrick Loch Otieno) Lumumba even gave a speech called Magufulification, which has been recognised as a new verb meaning “To render or declare an action faster or cheaper; to deprive (public officials) of their capacity to enjoy life at taxpayers’ expense; to terrorise lazy and corrupt individuals in society”.
On the economic scale, a can of Coke will cost you 1216.86 Tanzanian Shilling (R7.28) while the petrol price is TZS 2333 (R14) a litre, averaging out on the overall reviews done to date.
Looking back at my visits to Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar and the land of the Maasai, one can only be amazed. This country of natural game parks, the wealth of beaches and resorts, precious resources like gold, tanzanite, oil and gas, is the envy of many nations.
The fact that poverty coexists blatantly with wealth can only make one pray that the leadership and people live up to its name and future of being its “Mountain of Wealth”.
* The winner of the pen for last week is Ellis Mortimer. Please send your interesting fact on today's article to [email protected] and stand a chance to win the “Neil on Africa” engraved pen.
Neil de Beer is the current president of the IFA and advises numerous African states on economic development. www.ifa.africa or [email protected]