writings on the wall


This tag is associated with 12 posts


Happy independence day! On this day, exactly 50 years ago, Tanzania’s visionary leader Nyerere (pictured) raised the placard for complete independence. A Zanzibari friend of mine gives however a cautious note on why this celebration isn’t as historically correct as it’s made to be: Tanganyika became independent 1961. Tanzania grew out of the union between Tanganyika and … Continue reading

Aid shambles: ..too many bakers..

This is the second (explanatory) post of a three-part series taking a critical look at aid from Tanzania. The first part, including the cake analogy, can be found here. It’s easy to criticise aid, if development woes of the past decades are all assigned to that. But to see why aid is functioning so poorly, … Continue reading

Aid shambles: One cake…

This is the first (introductory) post of a three-part series taking a critical look at aid. Imagine you’re a baker, and you’re baking a cake. The local cookbook isn’t finalised yet so you’re using a foreign one where measures and ingredients are different, meaning you have to improvise a little. While the cake is in … Continue reading

TRL: African autumn?

News outlets have been writing tirelessly about the Arab Spring ever since revolts began in Middle East and North Africa in January claiming lives and demanding democracy. The scale is smaller and less widespread, true, but it should not be left completely unnoticed what has been taking place in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa too … Continue reading

7th Heaven, pt. 4

#4 Spices, spices, spices Zanzibar is known as the Spice Island, and for a pretty good reason. The whole middle part of Unguja is covered in spice plantations, and apart from tourism, it’s one of the biggest driver’s of the economy. So whether it’s fresh cumin, vanilla-flavoured tea or any colour of peppercorn you’re looking for, … Continue reading

TRL: The times they are a-changin’

Gone are the days when the Western collective could claim moral and financial superiority in the world economy. Africa currently has seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, and its developments in ICT, infrastructure and business environment, among others, are making traditional donors and aid modalities obsolete. Below are a few recent articles on the unfolding … Continue reading

On famine

UN declared famine in Southern Somalia yesterday, after months of drought and hunger in the Horn of Africa. Looking at the map, large parts of Ethiopia and Kenya are not doing well either. It’s a serious and sad situation, but I find it somehow ironic that it was the Famine Early Warnings System Network that published … Continue reading

7th Heaven, pt. 1

7th time’s the charm, isn’t that how the saying goes? During my 8-month stay in Dar es Salaam I managed to go to Zanzibar 7 times, and got mocked at least as many times by my Tanzanian friends for visiting there so often. My non-Tanzanian friends were more understanding though; if you can go to … Continue reading

Greetings from ‘the bushes’!

“It’s time for you to get out to the bushes” was my superior’s comment in a meeting on Wednesday. And with those words it was decided I get to join another colleague on a 3-day big field mission to do a technical review of local governments’ financial and economic capacities and performance. Even though the … Continue reading

Maji au umeme?

The rainy season is here! Between November and January it’s called ‘short rains’ whereas March to May promises ‘long heavy rains’. Something must have gone terribly wrong in my early education on the meaning of words though, because when I think about ‘short rains’, I don’t think about pouring madness from 5 in the morning … Continue reading

All writings on the wall

If you want to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts by e-mail, write it down and say

Join 18 other followers