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Mwanza City Overview:
The city of Mwanza is the major Tanzanian port on Lake Victoria and a major centre of economic activities in the region. The lake borders the country’s East African neighbours – Uganda to the north west, and Kenya to the north east.
Export and transport among the countries is a foundation of Mwanza’s economy. Around the city of Mwanza, the land is primarily devoted to agricultural enterprise. Tea, cotton and coffee plantations throughout the area produce large volumes of cash crops that pass though Mwanza on their way to market. The town’s industrial harbour and busy streets make it a prosperous and busy place to explore.
For visitors, the city makes a good base from which to explore the nearby Rubondo Island National Park and the western parts of the Serengeti. Rubondo Island National Park offers pleasant day-hikes and bird watching around the lake shore. Mwanza’s proximity to the western Serengeti makes it a necessary stop for visitors who want to experience a less bust part of the park and see the magic of the Serengeti without the parade of safari vehicles and seasonal crowds. Mwanza is also the centre of the Sukuma tribe, the largest tribe in Tanzania, who have inhabited and farmed the region for centuries. Cultural tourism programmes to their local villages and farms can be arranged through the local cultural centres.
Mwanza City is served with relatively satisfactory infrastructure such as railway transport, air transport, marine transport, road network communication net work and energy etc. It is a center where all communications lines converge in the Lake-zone.
The City comprising of Nyamagana and Ilemela districts has 35.5 km of trunk roads, 132 km of regional roads, 695.5 km of district roads which makes a total of 861 km of road network.
Existing tarmac roads radiating from Mwanza City are as follows:
- #1. Mwanza – Kisesa (Musoma road ) – 17 km
- #2. Mwanza – Nyashishi (Shinyanga road) – 19 km
- #3. Mwanza – Airport (Airport road) – 10 km
There is a myriad of other tarmac roads network in the City totaling about 22 km. The tarmac roads can handle up vehicles with weight not exceeding 56 tons while the gravel roads can handle up to 10 tone vehicles without problems.
The City is connected to Kenya and Uganda by Marine transport, which also connects it to the regional capitals of Bukoba and Musoma. It has two major ports; the South and the North ports owned by the Government parastatal organisation known as National Ports Authority. The North port is the passenger terminal, while the Southport is the cargo terminal. It has ten ships/boats of which six are used to transport cargo and four are used for passengers and cargo
There are several small docking facilities owned by individuals and individual companies who own small and medium sized boats. These include -Kamanga – ferry, Kishimba, Kipeja and Kitana docking facilities.
There is also a boat assembling facility at Pasiansi in Ilemela district known as Pansiasi Boat Yard.
Small boats, canoes and dhows owned by individuals, also dominate transport in the Lake Victoria. They are used to carry people’s commodities such as agricultural produces and for fishing.
Mwanza City is at the railhead of the Mwanza – Dar es Salaam railway line receiving at least three passenger trains per week; leave alone the continuous fleet of Cargo trains which are almost daily.
Mwanza City is served with air transport daily. About 35 to 40 aircraft shuttle at the single airport located in Ilemela district. The aircraft frequenting the airport include of those passenger airlines such as ATCL, Air Express, Precision Air and hired shuttle planes to various destinations including Nairobi.
There are also Cargo aircraft landing at the airport weekly. The Cargo planes mainly come to carry fish fillet to Europe, the Middle East and other places of the world.
The airports have a runway which can handle airplanes with weight up to 180 tons. The airport has two main good runways. The first one with 3.3 km while the second has 3.0 km only.
The big aircraft landing at the airport include Boeing 737. The airport is busy and it is planned soon to be upgraded to the status of an International Airport.
Mwanza City is endowed with reasonably good communication infrastructure. Because of its economic importance in the Lake-zone and a good transport system, many communication companies have opened offices in the City.
Radio: There are two radio stations in the City i.e. Radio Free Africa owned by Sahara Communication and SAUT Radio owned by Roman Catholic Church.
TV Stations: There is one TV Station known as Star – TV that was opened in year 2000. It uses satellite transmission and again it is owned by Sahara Communication. The TV coverage is 90% in Mwanza region.
Land Lines Telephones: Telephone communication is supplied by TCCL for landlines that link the city to the rest of the world.
Cellular phone: The cellular phone companies operating in the City include VODACOM, AIRTEL, HALOTEL, and TIGO. They are functional, effective and efficient.
Newspapers: Mwanza population has access to the following newspapers available daily and few weekly supplies. These include: – Uhuru, Mzalendo, Daily news, Sunday news, Nipashe, The guardian, Mwananchi, The African, Bingwa, East African, Majira, Mtanzania, Hoja, Champion, Uwazi, Amani, Risasi, Jumatatu, Express, Nyakati, Msemakweli, Shani, Sports, Mwanamke, Dimba, Dira, The family mirror, Mwanasport, Cheka, Sunday nation, Daily nation, Standard, Kiu, Ijumaa, Mzawa,and Msanii.
Mwanza City is supplied with electric power from the National Grid, which is fairly stable. Nyamagana Wards mainly falls under the distribution network, while only about 20% of Ilemela enjoy electricity supply.
The present use of electric power in the city is 14.47 MW of which 6.07 MW is consumed domestically and 8.40 MW is supplied and consumed by industries. The existing supply potential is enormous. The Problem however is the supply gadgets, like poles, wire & metres etc.
Investiment Potentions in Mwanza
Mwanza City center still have a potential areas of great investment opportunities to invest or expand business / or development programs. The following are areas of great investment: –
Agro – based industries:
Fruit canning/juice concentrates making
This could be extracted from pineapples, orange and mangoes that are plenty in the region though seasonal. Pineapples grow well in Geita, Bugando area while oranges mainly found in Ukerewe and some parts of Sengerema. Mangoes that are usually seasonal are found all over the region.
Investment in cold rooms could make it possible these fruits to be preserved and stored during the peak period and canned throughout the year. That is the same for production of juice concentrates which could be exported to countries where it can be processed in sophisticated factories.
Production of double refined cooking oils
Most of the existing oil mills produce semi – refined oils which are quite impure and probably hazardous to human health. Only Voil and to some extent Nera oil mill owned by Nyanza Co –operative Union produce double refined oil of good quality. Their total capacity is low and have been unable to satisfy the Tanzania market leave alone the export market. Raw material is cottonseed plus the cotton seed cake left as by products from other oil mills. The cotton seed cake is usually not well squeezed to extract all the oils.
The market for vegetable oil of this quality is certainly wide even in the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Zaire and Kenya.
Hulling, grading and packing of paddy at large scale
The region and the surrounding regions of Shinyanga and Mara together produce substantial quantities of rice annually. But there has been no significant effort to prepare the paddy in a professional manner for export. Demand for paddy is obvious in neighboring countries and even in the middle East. The kind of paddy/rice produced in these regions has a natural flavor preferred by many consumers.
With a stretch of thousands of Kilometers along the Lake Victoria, and presence of vast land for farming in Mwamashimba – Kwimba district; there is indeed great potential for irrigation farming at commercial level. Agricultural experts estimate that the yields from irrigation farming could meet one third of the nation food requirement. Export possibilities of cash crops such as cotton, paddy, horticultural products would increase
Due to presence of big herd of cattle in the whole Lake zone, and the subsequent production of great numbers of hides & skins; the establishment of a medium scale tannery would be very viable. Farmers do not have a proper market for their hides and skins hitherto. They usually end up into frustrations or sale them at give away prices to illegal buyers who smuggle these into neighboring countries.
Milk Processing Plant
As said earlier, the region has numbers of herds of cattle. Milk production is considerable but there is no established market for milk from the farmers. The setting up of milk processing plants would be welcome.
Investment in Transport sector
Lake transportation business
Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania border Lake Victoria. It has an area of approximately 69,500 sq. km and lies about 1151 meters above sea level. Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater Lake in the world. The lake is economically important to the surrounding region which has one of African highest population densities.
However, despite sound consideration to the development of transport corridors, the potential of Lake shipping has not been fully explored. There are bright prospects for marine transport business on Lake Victoria due to increased opportunities for trade and commerce business in the country, and within the newly created common market of Southern Africa COMESA which has increased cargo handling business, Mwanza town is a focal point of Lake transport routes as a distribution centre for traffic to Bukoba, Kemondo bay, Nyamirembe, Ukerewe island, Musoma, Kisumu and Port bell in both Kenya and Uganda respectively.
The marine passenger local traffic market is dominated by TRC’s vessels which accounts for 51% of motorized fleet of vessels. Passengers trips to various ports are mostly business people who ferry goods to and from Mwanza. Currently there are no vessels serving the International market of Kisumu and Portbell.
Air transport investment opportunity
The availability of daily flight from Mwanza to Dar by Air Tanzania (ATC) and sometimes by Air Precision, has reduced the scramble for regular air transport for passengers and goods at Mwanza airport.
The demand for air service however is still very strong due to the fact that Mwanza is a major business centre in the whole Lakezone and neighbouring countries of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.
The over increasing mineral prospecting companies present pressure for air transport as such companies need to do business faster.
The present plans to rehabilitate and expand Mwanza Airport run aways will create an exceptional opportunity for the private sector to invest in “ Air transport”.
Investment in the telecommunication sector is possible and widely needed. There are still great opportunities for establishing radio stations and more so for TV stations. Business is there in supply of modern telephones and systems, e- mail and internet services. The Mwanza region economy is strong enough to support such innovations on a sustainable basis.
Presently we have only Radio Free Africa, SAUT Radio owned by St. Augustine’s University and staggering Mwanza Television. More strong TV and radio stations are needed for information dissemination and advertisements.
Tourism & Hotels business
There are enormous possibilities in this sector that has not yet been fully exploited. There are possibilities created by the present efforts to develop the rich Sukuma culture at Bujora and the increased influx of tourists who come from the northern circuit tourism corridor. These tourists normally wish to extend their destination to Mwanza to enjoy the view of Lake Victoria.
There are however, no hotels in the region of tourist class – all are “Mediocre Hotels” except for the Tilapia min hotel and Mwanza Hotel which are by almost are accupied by International and Government Visitors.
Investment in Education Business
This is also a lucrative sector to invest in. Pressure for good schools from primary to secondary schools up to the University level have been on the increase. Most Tanzania’s have been sending their children to Kenya and Uganda in search of high standard schools with strong education. Many parents are willing to pay fees for their children at any cost. The investors could establish several integrated schools covering from form one to form six. That would certainly attract business. A University is also not ruled out.
Production of fishmeal
The eleven existing (9 active) fish filleting plants create an opportunity for establishing a fishmeal plant to produce fishmeal from left overs, which are normally thrown causing serious environmental problems in the area. A big fishmeal plant is recommended because of great quantities of left overs produced everyday from the fish filleting plants.
Moreover, the market for fish meal is plenty, both in Tanzania and Kenya. This is exhibited by the high demand of fishmeal, which is presently produced on small-scale bases by many entrepreneurs in Mwanza. Kenyans have placed orders in advance up to a year. The fishmeal is being utilized to make animal feeds.
Large scale fishing
There is still much room for large scale fishing of Nile Perch in deep waters in the Lake Victoria. Fisheries research centres estimates that up to 200,000 tons of fish could be harvested annually without affecting the fish Biomass in the Lake. Hitherto only half of it is harvested annually.
Fishing & export of sardines
There are great quantities of sardines in the Lake. Expert fishing and processing of sardines in a hygienic way before vacuum packing in containers could facilitate exports especially to Indonesia and Malaysia.
This is a fast growing sector. As said earlier, there are already about 46 foreign companies in the region prospecting for Gold. There are also small scale miners who own massive areas of Land with possible Gold deposits; The local small scale miners (individuals & Companies), however lack requisite technologies for prospecting; leave alone that for mining. The circumstances provide a wide opportunity for joint ventures between them.
Manufacturer of waxed boxes
The fish filleting plants certainly need good packaging materials (boxes) for exports. Waxed boxes are very suitable to serve this sector.
These boxes could also be used for packing of other products produced in the Lake zone. It is a fact that when you plan for Mwanza you also incidentally involve the whole Lake zone.
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