Dodoma — The year 2017 was a definitely boom year for Dodoma Region. There was visibly socioeconomic and political transformation in the region.
Essentially, this was prompted by President John Magufuli's decision to relocate the government administrative seat from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.
For years, the 2,669-square kilometre semi-arid region lagged behind in various sectors of the economy, but the relocation of the capital city to Dodoma has ended such a long standing jinx and has also triggered some strides in the region. The following are some strides made by the government in Dodoma in 2017.
Expansion of airport and key infrastructure
Dodoma used to have poor tarmac road networks and a poor airstrip, which would not serve large planes with at least 50-90 passengers. But in 2017, the government managed to expand the airstrip and now it serves large plans like ATR42 42 (50 passengers), Dash 8 (50 passengers), ATR 72 (70 passengers) and Bombardier (76 passengers).
Currently, ATC has three flights to Dar es Salaam-Dodoma-Tabora per week. There is now Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, which carries 76 passengers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a move that has boosted movements of people and economic activities in the central region.
Dodoma ATCL Station Manager Susan Sailen told The Citizen during an exclusive interview that they were receiving more than 50 passengers from Dodoma Region. "Apart from state officials, other key travellers include traders, university lecturers and ordinary people," she said.
In 2017, more than 11 banks expanded their businesses to the region. The banks are Exim Bank, Bank of Africa (BOA), Tanzania Agriculture Investment Bank (TAIB), Dar es Salaam Commercial Bank (DCB), Women's PLC Bank, BancABC, Standard Charted, Stanbank Tanzania and Mkombozi Bank. Others are Mwalimu Bank and Bank of Kenya.
Mushrooming of international schools
In Dodoma, there was only one international school, Canon Andrea Mwaka International School, where parents from well-to-do-families in the region used to send their children. But this changed after President Magufuli announced to shift the country's headquarters from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma. The move has driven proprietors of diverse international schools in the country to start offering their services in the capital city. The schools are Tanzania's Feza Schools, Saint Mary's International Schools, Fountain Gate Academy, and Saint Peter Claver High School.
Relocation of the headquarters of ministries
Almost all senior officials of various ministries in this year shifted to Dodoma. The relocation added significant changes in terms of population density, trade as well as the number of vehicles. The move has also led to traffic jams on many roads of the municipal council, which was not the case before. The permanent relocation of Vice-President Samia Hasan and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has boosted some changes across the region.
Opening of UN offices
At least seven UN agencies are currently hosted at the new office located in Mlimwa, Area D. They include United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Others are UN Women, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Establishment of high-class restaurants, bars and hotels
The year 2017 was also a boom year in terms of hotels, restaurants, bars and other like services. Considering the nature of high profile officials, traders have started investing in various sectors of the economy to meet social needs.
Eye-grabbing canteens, bars placed at varied angles in the municipal council, have become destination centres serving upcountry travellers on transit to other parts of the country.
Morena and Nashera are among the top hotels that have given Dodoma a new look, attracting many customers from different parts of the country and beyond.
Provision of social services
The provision of water, electricity and other basic social services has modernised Dodoma. The $420 million Farkwa Dam project, which will add about 128 million litres to the current 61.5 million litres by storing water up to an elevation of 1,110 metres above sea level, with an inundation area of about 48 square kilometres and will have a height of 35 metres with estimated total storage of 290,000 cubic metres to 850,000 cubic metres, is one of the big projects in the region.
Relocation of institutions
Key institutions are opening offices in the designated capital city. Among them are the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Tanzania Teachers Commission (TTC) and the Local Authority Pension Fund (LAPF).
Development of real estate industry
The National House Cooperation (NHC) and Watumishi Housing have constructed modern houses in Iyumbu and Njedengwa respectively. More than 600 affordable houses have been constructed, some of which are now on sale.
From January to December, this year, Dodoma Municipal Council experienced an increase in the number of petty traders. According to Dodoma Municipal Trade Officer Zelda Matowo, by June this year, her office had issued at least 7,658 new trade licences, which is a significant increase compared to 4,584 licences issued during the same period last year.