March 25, 2010

Globalization in the Rock City.

The legacy of socialism within Tanzania has left a very under-developed private sector. Agriculture employs more than 80% of Tanzania's workforce, while industry and services account for under 20% of Tanzania's workforce. Agricultural production in Tanzania includes an illustrative line-up of the following: coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), cashew nuts, tobacco, cloves, corn, wheat, cassava (tapioca), bananas, fruits, vegetables; cattle, sheep, and goats. Tanzania's industries are largely centered around agricultural production and mining for gold, diamonds and iron. Tanzania produces very, very few consumer goods, virtually everything is imported, from a handful of primary trade partners, including China, India, South Africa, Kenya, and the UAE. While it is interesting to read labels on the imported food products we consume, this is a frustrating reality as it serves to increase prices in due proportion.

The one thing Tanzania does produce is bottled soda. Mwanza is home to BOTH Coke and Pepsi production plants. During my recent trip to Mwanza, I passed these two production plants that face each other like two sumo wrestlers sizing up the competition. Allegiences within the community are boldly demonstrated in the form of home and business facade "improvements."