Friday, 26 October 2012

Addis Ababa Named Among 10 Best Cities to Visit in 2013

Lonely Planet, the global travel and guidebook company, has named Addis Ababa as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2013.
The capital is placed 9th in its Best in Travel 2013 edition and is the only African city to appear in the top ten. The Ethiopian metropolis and diplomatic hub, renowned for its rapid development, is highlighted as best for culture, food and value for money.
Lonely Planet said that "destinations make the list for a variety of reasons, including special events, recent developments or buzz, or that the destination is up-and-coming and worth visiting before the crowds get too big". The annual list is compiled on the basis of the views of the company's staff, writers and online community. Addis Ababa, this year, is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its foundation.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Why Mount Kilimanjaro Is Popular in the World

Historians say Mount Kilimanjaro is one among the richest world heritage sites and that is the reason which attracted early German rulers to be the first foreign power to occupy the mountain area and put it in the present shaped map of Tanzania. Many stories have been told about Mount Kilimanjaro and its entire regime.

Before European interference to the mountain area, local people there (Chagga and Maasai) believed that their ancestral God, Ruwa was seated at the whitish cap, the snow. Two peaks, Kibo and Mawanze makes the name of Kilimanjaro. Being higher than the other peak, Kibo with a height of 5,985 metres is the highest peak in Africa and half snow capped. Horrible and awesome stories have been told about Kilimanjaro, mostly connected with beliefs and legends, all because of its influence to climate, physical features and vegetation. For the Wachagga and Wamasai people who cultivate and graze cattle on the mountain foothills, have for hundreds of years, kept to respect the mountain as the "Seat of their God".
Traditionally, the Wachagga bury their dead with the body was facing Mount Kilimanjaro, believing that the summit led to the afterlife. The mountain's massiveness represents people, their traditional and historical pride, and the source of very trickling sweet crystal-clear mountain water from its melting ice. The Maasai pastoralists take this "Africa's highest peak" as their origin of creation and the source of cattle richness. Despite of all these varied, interesting news about the mountain, the history of Kilimanjaro still remains a mystery - both to earlier explorers and the present climbers. Wachagga are the only people who seem to have a good background of the mystery behind this mountain.
They knew nothing about snow, but, believed that the whitish substance was a "powder" that was put there by their God to protect the area below (slopes where they lived) from "extreme cold evil spirits" and any person who tries to put a leg to climb this mountain would die. So mysterious is the mountain's background that even the origin of its name - Kilimanjaro is not a local name. Wachagga people had no names for both the two separate peaks. Each peak has its own name pronounced with a locality dialect. In Marangu locality, the people call the highest peak "Kipoo" (Kibo) and the shorter peak "Kimavense" (Mawenzi). The origin of the name that we know today - Kilimanjaro remains a mystery and much debatable. Many people, mostly tourists are trying to conquer this mountain.
Climbing mount Kilimanjaro is not an easy task and successful climbers are always toast a glass of champagne after successfully reaching the peak, and when they come down from the people, you hear one asking another, "I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro," have you?
European interests on Mount Kilimanjaro started in nineteenth century after German and British geographers learnt about a big lake which is the source of River Nile, they then organized scientific explorations to search the source of river Nile. Johannes Rebmann, an Austrian missionary Gerlingen in Germany became the first European to see this highest mountain in Africa from Taita- Taveta when crossing Tsavo National Park in Kenya on his way to Marangu at the foothills of the mountain.
Rebmann arrived in East Africa in 1846 and established a Christian mission at Rabai near Mombasa on the Coast of Kenya. He came to East Africa to travel across Kenya to preach and teach Africans about Christianity. It was on May 11th, 1848 when Rebmann reached Marangu and sent good news to Europe, telling of "snow capped mountain near the equator", but other geographers took his message to be "ridiculous".
Rebmann's message and report to fellow Europeans stimulated great interest in Germany and in the following years several expeditions were organised, the first one after Rebmann's expedition was made by German explorer Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken and a British geologist Richard Thornton, both surveyed the mountain, but failed to conquer it. In 1862 Decken and another German explorer Otto Kersten attempted to climb the mountain, but poor weather stopped their team at about 14,000 feet (4,267 m).
Seventeen years later, the history of Mount Kilimanjaro climbing was written. It was on the 5th of October 1889 when German geographer and Lecturer at Leipzig University (Germany) Dr. Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller, reached the top of the mountain. From that date the modern history of Mount Kilimanjaro climbing was made. M
eyer hoisted a German flag on the top of the mountain, many years before Tanzania hoisted its flag at the same peak on December 9th, 1961. On his arrival at Marangu, Meyer and his team were given a rousing welcome from Chief Marealle of the area (Marangu) also given a good support from the chief. Meyer was guided by six young men, one was Yohani Kinyala Lauwo, a resident of Marangu.
The late Mzee Lauwo passed away on May 10th, 1996, exactly 107 years after the modern history of mount Kilimanjaro climbing was written. May Almighty God rest his Soul in Eternal Peace. The author of this feature (story) visited and talked with Mzee Lauwo at his residence in Marangu two years before the end of his grand life in this world, but was not able to speak to the media during the day. The Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) which is the custodian of Mount Kilimanjaro gave him a beautiful, modern style house painted in light purple and pink pastels.
Mzee Lauwo lived a grand life of 125 years, according to his family. Today, European tourists make the most known climbers of mount Kilimanjaro every year. The importance of Mount Kilimanjaro and its richness had attracted various local and international business companies to rob its name. Kenyan tourist and travel companies frequently advertise this mountain to be in Kenya, while running tourism promotional campaigns in Europe, America and other tourist market sources in the world.
"Visit Kenya and See Mount Kilimanjaro", is such an advert appearing in various tourist marketing sources, but, climbing to conquer this mountain remains a Tanzanian business.In its campaign to attract tourists, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) has its marketing brand campaign of "Visit Tanzania: The Land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and The Serengeti".Mount Kilimanjaro is the only "highest free standing mountain known in the world today", having that, most remaining attractive peaks are in a form of ranges. The scramble to get Mount Kilimanjaro remain in Tanzania was not an easy task.
The British colonial administration fought for the last to have this mountain be allocated to Kenya through diplomatic channels, but Germans refused, once said former German Ambassador to Tanzania Dr. Heinz Schneppen. Dr. Schneppen said that the British wanted the Tanzanian border to be demarcated from south of Mombasa proceeding through Taveta in Kenya, then skirting the northern part of Kilimanjaro region straight to the eastern shores of Lake Victoria.
On the other hand, the former ambassador and a famous historian said there was a conflict between the British and Germans over the ownership rights of Mount Kilimanjaro area and Mombasa. "If you take Kilimanjaro, leave Mombasa to me, vice versa", it was strong diplomatic argument between the British and Germans. Germany did not like to take Mombasa because they had Dar es Salaam, and the British did not like to lose Mombasa because they had no other port to export and import their products from Kenya.
Earlier on March 23rd, 1888 a young German, Heinrich Hessel said proudly that German detachment in Moshi has hoisted a German flag there to mark the end of peaceful negotiations between the British and Germans over Mount Kilimanjaro. "No drop of rain had fallen in spite of the rainy season. We have to see to it that this flag stays for ever", said Heinrich in his memorial diary.
The importance of Mount Kilimanjaro is growing day after day with much more economic reasons that the past political facts. Big numbers of foreign tourists climb this mountain every year.Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) has been established to protect the mountain and its biological eco-system. Favourable climatic conditions influenced by the mountain had made the whole area surrounding this highest peak in Africa one of the most fertile areas in Tanzania, attracting coffee and banana cultivation.
Coffee is the main cash crop grown on the slopes of mount Kilimanjaro, earning Tanzania substantial amount of foreign currency.Historians argue that had Mount Kilimanjaro been divided as was earlier proposed but the British, then, the Wachagga people would have been living in Kenya and Tanzania, sharing due citizenship because a big part of eastern side of this mountain would be located in Kenya, and the rest in Tanzania.
Rombo district in eastern Kilimanjaro is mostly surrounded by Kenyan border on all sides, and tourists from Nairobi are encouraged by Kenyan tour operators to climb the mountain at Laitoktok (Rombo), thinking they are in Kenya.With the importance of Mount Kilimanjaro, as a leading tourist attraction in Tanzania, modern lodges have sprung up in villages on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro readily equipped to provide services to mountain climbers and other tourists visiting the coffee and banana farms on the mountain's foothills.
Development of medium size and modern tourist hotels and small sized establishments in villages surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro is a new kind of hotel investments outside the towns, cities and the wildlife parks.With a long history of African settlements, villages on the slopes of mount Kilimanjaro are rising up into tourist visiting sites with unique attractions in Africa, other than wildlife, beaches and historical sites which dominate Africa's adventure.
Living standards, economic activities and rich African cultures have all attracted tourists from across the world to visit and stay with local communities in villages on the laps of Mount Kilimanjaro, hence pulling hotel investment in the villages, far from the town. Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's famous Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration have been nominated as Tanzania's three candidates for voting into the Seven Natural Wonders for competition before the end of this year.

Environment Research Park Launched in Monduli Tanzania

IT is not always that Monduli District gets mentioned in tourism despite owning part of Lake Manyara National Park and a section of Tarangire National Park. However, Monduli has made history for launching what is going to be the continent's first ever Natural Resources, Wildlife and Environment Research Park which is set to add another value to Tanzania's tourism industry.
"This is where Science is going to meet Tourism and we hope the Eco-science facility will form yet another tourism attraction in Tanzania but this time it will be tourism with a purpose not just the usual leisure travels." Mr Mbwilo officially opened the Eco-Science property on behalf of the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Mr Magessa Mulongo whose name has been engraved in the foundation stone's placard. "Since this is going to be Nature sciences' study and research centre, we hope it will help to discover and possibly help to find solutions for the diseases ailing many species of wildlife causing most of them to die," said the Manyara RC. The Monduli District Commissioner, said he was impressed by the facility which not only adds potential investment and employment opportunities for the area but the Eco-Science centre will also help to transform the Monduli's wild savannah for the better.
Eco-Science which is a hybrid facility comprising of the nature research centre as well as luxury lodge is situated on the North-Eastern border of Tarangire National Park, 20 kilometres south of the village of Makuyuni the main junction at the road to both the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National park. The Science Centre has been described as a satellite in Maasai land for scientists and students, for local and international universities in general, as well as research centres from all over the world. "Small groups of scientists, researchers and students can stay at Eco-science for their investigations, studies or for conferences," said Dr Ben Beeckmans the Eco-Science Director who is also an Envoronment Scientist, and Phyisical Geagrapher.
He explained that the science centre, completely independent from the luxury lodge, consists of 10 very large tents. The two largest ones are a restaurant and conference rooms with a library. "We invite universities or individual scientists with a keen scientific interest in Northern Tanzania to propose projects which could be important for the local population or beyond it," said Mr Beeckmans.
According to him, natural sciences like geography, biology and geology, environmental sciences and agriculture will be the main sectors of the centre even though Ecoscience is also open to other domains. "The centre is also preparing a mobile unit for field work and the conditions to collaborate with Ecoscience will be discussed between us and the participants and will depend largely on the nature of the project." The Eco-science Director explained further that part of the collaboration was to be in twofold; "Ecoscience will ask some of the scientists to inform visitors of their work, and for every project a report or publication- depending on the importance- under our own "Eco-science" label will be forwarded.”Our aim is to have a mixture of long term projects and shorter, punctual ones. Scholarships will also be part of the future," he said. The property will also study seismic forces with an aim of predicting future volcanic activities along the main Rift Valley.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Local Uganda Girls Trafficked for Sex to India

The number of young Ugandan girls being trafficked to Asian countries under the guise of green pastures yet get turned into sex slaves is on the increase and needs urgent government attention.

According to Uganda's High Commissioner to India and eight other neighbouring countries said that the young girls are trafficked into India, Singapore and other countries by businessmen who promise them good jobs. "They bring you here and hold your passport until you pay back their money they used to transport you," said Nimisha. "The girls are pushed to Nigerians to have sex and after paying back the costs; they are left to fend for themselves leading to their suffering here"
Nimisha made the remarks recently while briefing the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and the Parliamentary Commission on arrival in India to attend the World Inter parliamentary Union female Speakers' conference. The First Secretary Uganda High Commission in India told Uganda's delegation that after holding onto the girls' passports, they [traffickers] tell them not to come to the mission lying to them that they will be arrested. "We do not have access to the girls because we can't go to the places they stay very few of them know that they can come to the mission and get helped," she said. "We can't go out there to arrest people because we are here to arrest them. We have so far helped four girls who we have even sent back to Uganda but I have no idea how many they are out there."
The issue of trafficking of girls for sex slavery has been going on for some time now. The parliamentary committee on equal opportunities last year made visits to different Asian countries to know the extent of the problem but it's yet to table a report to parliament.
However, Madhvani said that as they wait for government intervention, they have become strict on the matter by scrutinising people before giving out visas.
"What we have done is to expose it Malaysia, Singapore and Chinese is being handled but for the India issue we need more strength," she said. "But now they have started to pass through Nairobi because we were catching them from here." Commenting on the matter, Kadaga, who is in India to attend the World Inter parliamentary Union female Speakers' conference asked government to work out modalities of formally exporting labour.
"We need to institute measures where we can officially export labour. We may not be able to eradicate trafficking but we can bring it down. We need to know where our people have gone, who is employing them and how they are being treated," she said.

Italian Companies to Open Shop in Uganda Locally

More Italian companies are set to open shops in Uganda following the opening up of a new networking club which brings together all Italian businesspeople, the Business Club Italia.

The club, officially launched in Kampala last week at the Italian ambassador's residence in Kololo, started its work by bringing 20 new Italian companies to this year's Kampala International Trade fair. According to Giorgio Petrangeli, the CEO Sobetra Uganda Limited and president of the club, the 20 companies were here on a fact finding mission to establish partnerships with Ugandan businesspeople and to understand the Ugandan market.

Italy and Uganda have a long tradition of working together stretching over 150 years ago. In fact the two countries are warming up to celebrate, in three years, the 100 years of St Joseph's hospital in Kitgum, founded by an Italian in 1915. "Many Italians have been working in Uganda when very few people believed that Uganda could have done it. We will continue doing this -showing the Italian quality and capacity, working together, not imposing, hand-in-hand teaching each other. We have to learn from you as well," said Staffan de Mistura, Italy's minister of state for Foreign Affairs who officiated at the launch.
According to Stefano A. Dejak, the Italian ambassador to Uganda, the formation of the club is to rebuild ties and rekindle the relationship between the Italian and Ugandan community. "This relationship needs a change now," Dejak told The Observer. This change according to Dejak is epitomized in a new book titled Italy in Uganda; From Aid to Growth. "This is exactly the message. Growth is the present and future of Uganda. Italy is excellent in knowhow and will contribute to making sure that Uganda develops the many oils. The biggest oil that Uganda has is the amazing fertility of its soil -agriculture has an enormous potential in Uganda," Dejak said. "Agriculture in Uganda needs to make a quick move from subsistence to commercial agriculture."
Dejak says there is potential for Uganda to export fruits, vegetables, fish and flowers to Italy, and the Italian companies will play an instrumental role in helping Ugandans process their agricultural products to have them exported. Currently, there are about 22 Italian companies in Uganda among which is Salini (which built Bujagali dam), Draco (involved in construction of boreholes), Stirling, Wood Machinery, and Pizzeria Mamba Point.
According to Mistura, Uganda, which has just celebrated 50 years of independence, has shown capacity of rebuilding itself, of stability, and financial stability -something that would attract more Italian businesspeople with the opening of the club. "We have a saying: 'Being together makes you stronger and efficient.' The Italian community in Uganda and abroad is unifying themselves into a club to be better, effective in responding to the needs of Ugandan market and to help Uganda business to come to Italy," Mistura noted.
Italians in Uganda are a community of about 600 people mainly involved in entrepreneurship, governmental and non-governmental cooperation and religious missions. According to Dejak, apart from agriculture, the Italians are interested in investing in sectors like energy and tourism. Dejak noted that the Source of the Nile is one area that needs to be developed, and Italy would be willing to rescue the precious site. "It lacks infrastructure. A tourist goes to the source of Nile and sees water, which is beautiful but there is such a long history to this place," he said adding: "All tourists instead of going there take a picture and go away, they would settle and have a nice cafeteria, go into a nice museum explaining the long history of the search for the source of the Nile."
With a population of 60 million and a GDP of $2.1 trillion, Italy is the world's seventh largest economy. The country has a diversified industrial economy, divided into an industrial north and an agricultural south.