Our five-person sub-team team was tasked to "Conduct an 'As-Is' analysis and provide strategic recommendations for the improvement of the traffic systems." Other then magnitude and severity of the gaps, I have been surprised how much the actual engagement has been fairly similar to a standard road-mapping project back in the US.
The challenges faced by the Tanzanian Traffic Authority are substantial: over three thousand Tanzanian’s die each year on the roadway, a startling number given the countries size and low rate of vehicle ownership. From an economic perspective, traffic accidents waste an estimated 4% of Tanzanian’s GDP. Highways, traffic light grids, overpasses, and tunnels are virtually nonexistent, at least in the form present in developed or even growth countries.
Despite its problems, Tanzania truly is an amazing country. The town we are being hosted at, Morogoro, lies at the foot of a mountain range, about 30 miles away from a national park from which one can see zebras, giraffes, elephants, wildebeests, and even the odd lion. Our hosts, the Tanzanian Police Force and our partnered NGO, digital opportunity trust, have been nothing but gracious and engaged. Other Tanzanians have been similarly hospitable and welcoming. There are a lot of challenges facing this country (the entire countries GDP is around 20B, and 6% of the population is reported to be HIV positive), but with a bit of help in the form of knowledge, investment and instructional resources it is not hard to see a country like Tanzinea entering a period of strong and equitable economic growth.
To give an example of the hospitality we have encountered, I want to share an anecdote- someone at home brought to my attention that an advertisement for our hotel mentioned a complementary bottle of wine. I mentioned this promotion to our program manager, who mentioned it to the owner. The owner apologized, saying that the promotion only applied to people purchasing suites. Three hours later, the owner's wife calls our program manager, and says that she felt bad for us not being able to collect on the promotion. As a result, she gave each person on each of the three sub-teams a bottle of wine worth around 35$, or 60,000 TZ Schillings. This has been typical of the exceptional treatment we have received.