The Nane-Nane Fair

Nane-Nane means ‘Eight, Eight’ in Swahili. The date is reserved as ‘farmers’ day’ in Tanzanian calendar, a national holiday to recognize the importance of farmers to Tanzania’s national economy and development. While it is only one day itself, it is accompanied by a one-week fair in the form of agricultural exhibition. The fair is held by multiple zones (e.g. Northern Zone, Lake Zone, Eastern Zone, Southern Zone, etc.)… More

Bernard Kiwia: Technology Innovator on the Ground

The process of shedding light on the work of Africans in technology innovation, inside Africa, should never stop. It also should never be underestimated.

In modern history, no country has been able to achieve genuine economic and technological transformation without its own people taking the lead. African countries, such as Tanzania, are no exception. When we hear much talk about local capacity building, it should usually mean something like finding talented and skilled natives, like Bernard Kiwia, and assisting them with finding the channels and means to express their creativity; not in a paternalistic way, but in a way of collaboration and cooperation.… More

Social Enterprise Clusters: a good idea for technology diffusion?

A good size of research and a number of contemporary publications have been dedicated to industrial clusters.[1] Industrial clusters, in modern times, proved to be main hubs of technological innovation and critical transformations in society-technology dynamics. Whether in developing or ‘developed’ (or industrialized) societies, industrial clusters are recognized as pivotal sites of technological change that continue to influence societies at large.

Industrial clusters come in different shapes and sizes.… More

Perseverant: Tanzanian Rural Women

It has been said that, “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.”[*] The big generalization in that statement may invite skepticism or dismissal, as it can hardly be applied to any group of human beings in that measure. However that is not the point. That statement does not claim a statistical conclusion, but it brings to attention – albeit in a dramatic way – two interrelated issues:

  • How a large number of women in Africa are impressive hard-workers and entrepreneurs in their own right.
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Biogas Construction Enterprises, Tanzania

What do you know about biogas technology?

If you live in a society where agriculture and livestock keeping is a major component of the local economy, then you need to know about biogas technology. It is a simple technology that recruits the help of anaerobic bacteria, in the absence of oxygen, to break down organic matter and produce a mixture of gases in the process.… More

KAKUTE: a Local African Social Enterprise

The term ‘social enterprise’ may have been coined recently (relatively), in the Western world, to try to capture and define somewhat new organizational models that do not fit the conventional ‘private sector, public sector and NGO’ categories. These are supposed to be organizations that do not belong to the public sector (which can be easily verified) but also not quite fitting for either the private business or the NGO definition.… More

Microfranchising and Last Mile Distribution: Making Impact, but…

I first came to know about microfranchising in the context of developing societies through my work in Tanzania in 2013. The company I worked with, as a product development fellow, used what seemed to me at the time to be a very unique and effective way of delivering its products to the farthest rural communities while at the same time enhancing the local economic cycle by engaging local community members as business partners (instead of simply customers).… More

The problem of seasonality: rural economic cycles in Tanzania

The problem we can call seasonality is not hard to notice in Tanzania, and most actors in the field of national economic development are quite aware of it. Tanzania by no means is unique in this issue. It is described in 9 points here:

  1. Since the main rural economic activity in Tanzania is agriculture, it is not a surprise therefore that rural economic vitality depends heavily on a good agricultural economy (i.e.
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