KISARAWE district, just a few minutes' drive from Dar es Salaam, has come up with an ambitious plan to attract investors in the area which has vast untapped potential in land, agriculture, light and medium-sized industries, livestock keeping and tourism.
The plans also include development of 380 residential plots by Tanzania Building Agency (TBA) for people working and living at Muhimbili University for Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) campus to be constructed in the district. To change and modernise Kisarawe, authorities have also set aside 400 plots for residential houses at Kazimzumbwe.
The project christened Uhuru City, will include recreational facilities, playgrounds and shopping malls. Chairman of Kisarawe District Council, who is also the Councillor for Kisarawe Ward, Mr Adam Ng'imba told this paper that they intend to have a train plying between Dar es Salaam and Uhuru City to ease transportation.
"Drawings for the satellite city are ready and anyone who is interested to invest in the project is welcome. We soon expect to get investors because there are some who have actually showed interest," Mr Ng'imba said.
Despite the advantage of being very close to the country's commercial capital, easy access to its port and airport, and having both the Central Railway Line and Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Line crossing through Kisarawe, development in the area does not resonate with the district's potential.
With improved roads from Dar es Salaam, however, the district also plans to take advantage of the government decree to have all Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in Dar es Salaam located as far outside the city as possible. District authorities have set aside 1,200 hectares of land at Mzenga ward for ICDs as well as 700 hectares in Kisarawe ward for similar purposes.
According to district authorities, the move will not only help ease congestion on Dar es Salaam roads, it will also add impetus to efforts to revive railway transportation in the country for upcountry bound cargo and that on transit to neighbouring countries.
Recent survey by this paper indicates that it takes over one hour and a half from the Dar es Salaam port to ICDs at Ubungo but would only take an estimated 20 minutes from the port to the depots in Kisarawe, thus, reducing traffic along Mandela Expressway.
Mr Ng'imba said that they have also contacted authorities at Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) to introduce the district's projects proposals and publicise available opportunities to both local and foreign investors. "We have conducted soil study at Nyani village, Mafizi ward and we have a project proposal for investors that were hatched in 2010/11.
The idea is to create a conducive environment for investors to come and invest in agriculture in the village at an estimated cost of 1.4bn/-," he said. Kisarawe has a history of once feeding the denizens of Dar es Salaam region. Residents, including Mr Ng'imba, admit that in the 1970s the Mianzi valley in Msanga ward could produce enough food to feed the whole of Dar es Salaam region and its environs.
Mr Ng'imba said that the district authorities have plans to reintroduce modern large-scale farming of vegetables and fruits at Mianzi valley with the council willing to spend a quarter of the estimated 1.8bn/- that would cost an investor to conduct initial studies for the project.
Among the ambitious proposals are investments in light and medium size industries with 170 hectares having been allocated in Kisarawe, Msimbu and Kiluvya wards. "We invite investors to put money in value added industries such as agro-processing and abattoirs and meat processing and packaging industries and we believe we will attract many of them because we now have the necessary infrastructure including roads and railway as well as electricity," said Mr Ng'imba.
For many years roads leading to Kisarawe and deep into its villages had been in pathetic state and many parts of the district had gone without electricity for decades, with many residents believing that poor roads and lack of electricity had always been the main reasons for the district's backwardness in development.
Mr Aziz Mwele (32) is a government employee working at the district council. Born and raised in Palaka, Manerumango in Malumbo ward, he knows the area well.
He welcomes efforts by authorities, hailing them for reviving Stamico and for bringing a cement factory to the district, but remains skeptical about the speed of achieving the goals set to bring development in the district.