By Godwin Semunyu

I recently stumbled on an interesting report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) revealing that human beings’ attention span; the amount of time humans spend concentrating on a task before becoming distracted. Has fallen from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just 8 seconds today. Less than goldfish that has a 9-second attention span. In other words: The average human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish. Blame it on technology, they say.

At first, we blamed cellular phones for distractions, then the internet boom, later social media, and now, smartphones have become our brains’ nemesis. The latter being the undisputed source of distraction.

The insights took me back to one of Mark Manson’s article– the attention economy, where he illustrated how life has changed, and the economies morphed into new things. For instance, if you’ve ever spent time in a challenging neighborhood or with people who grew up in poverty, you’ll notice how much they talk about food — their favorite foods, what they’re going to eat this weekend, how they like this and don’t like that, and so on. Much of their lives and conversations revolve around food for the simple reason that the scarcity of food makes it appear incredibly important.
But in first-world cultures where food is never an issue, discussions of food among most people are superficial and usually over within a few seconds.

For most of human history, the significant economic scarcity in the world was land. There was a limited amount of productive land; therefore, there was a limited amount of food. And because there was a limited amount of food, most day-to-day economic concerns, and political squabbles involved land. Most people spent their lives contemplating what land they were going to work, what they were going to grow, what kind of harvest to expect, and so on. Food was always on the top of people’s minds.

Eventually, when the industrial revolution hit, the primary scarcity was no longer land, as machines could now help cultivate more than enough food for everybody. Now the considerable scarcity was labor. You needed trained people to run all of these machines that did all of the cool new stuff so you could make money and get rich. Thus, for a couple of hundred years, the organizing principle in society was based on labor — who you worked for, how much you made, and so on.

Then, in the 20th century, more was produced than anyone would ever need or could ever purchase. The new scarcity in society was no more prolonged labor or land; the scarcity was now knowledge. People had so many choices of what to buy with their hard-earned money, but they didn’t know what to purchase. I once visited a lavished Nike store in the US, and I got overwhelmed by choices. I left.

The abundance of choices then gave way to brands. Thus, people spent most of their day-to-day existence trying to figure out what the best toothpaste was, what a toaster oven could do, and so on. The advertising and marketing fields then came to dominance to disseminate information people needed to make “informed purchases.”

Now, the internet and smartphones have disrupted everything. The primary scarcity in society is no longer comprehensive information. In fact, there is now more information than any of us could know what to do with. Everything can now be figured out in mere seconds. My twelve-year-old son would often scold me, “You can google that, dad, google is your friend,” whenever I ask for information or directions.

The scarcity in our world is no longer comprehensive knowledge, neither labor nor land. The new scarcity in the modern internet age is called; attention. People would do anything to get followers, the likes, impressions, and comments. The new bottleneck on our economy is attention. We tend to seek attention at all costs while paying little attention to things that matter. We are indeed in an attention-based economy with an increasing lower attention span.

The author is Head of Marketing and Communication at Equity Bank(T). The article is his personal views and does not represent his employer. He can be reached through: godwin.semunyu@equitybank.co.tz.

Read More


In Tanzania, it is estimated that the quantity of municipal solid waste generated amounts to more than 10,000 tonnes per day. However, nearly 50 percent ends up disposed through the local methods of burning or burying. By year 2015, it was estimated that, of the total population, each person was producing an average solid waste of about 0.5 kg to 0.8 kg per day. What we do with the waste we produce in our daily activities, is now the worlds’ biggest headache.

 

Littering is a deliberate act,

Littering is amongst the leading contributor to urban waste problems. What irks the most is the fact that; the majority of littering happens intentionally. People find it completely normal to throw away cigarette butts, food wrappers and disposables. As a result, most of this rubbish swiftly ends up in our water bodies. What is this doing to our planet? Simply put, destroying it.

There can be several arguments as to why people litters, which includes the prevalence of existing waste and the absence of collection equipment’s, but the truth still stands, 85% of littering is mostly a deliberate act.  When pressed with severe repercussions and penalties, human beings tend to do the right thing, they stop littering. Also, those who grow up in a disposable society have a tendency to end up disposing, and vice versa.

“Usitupe taka hapa” is now a joke

It is annoying to see signs like “Usitupe takataka hapa” in areas full of debris. No one really cares. It feels like the campaigns have fallen to deaf ears. Either the one installing the signs are not authoritative enough or the litters just find them too common to obey. That is where we are as a society. It is becoming clear that the reason most people litter is not because they think it’s OK, but because they think it’s the easier thing to do. They know it is wrong, but they do it because it’s easy.

Say no to noise pollution,

For most people in big cities like Dar es salaam, noise pollution is supposed to be a “normal” everyday phenomenal. That, it is normal for the local pub next door, to host live music till late hours. That is normal for our neighborhoods to become hubs of uncontrolled sounds and blares. People in this city seems to have decided to soldier on like it’s part of the “urban” lifestyle.

NO, it is not normal, and it shouldn’t be allowed to be. Though the impacts and adverse effects of noise pollution cannot be immediately felt, there is a big chance of ending up with health effects such as loss of hearing ability, birth complications, and even high Blood Pressure.

It is a collective effort,

As a society, we need to get serious in highlighting collective social disapproval against littering and other forms of pollutions. The fact that no one dares to litter around the c0ntrolled areas such as army and law enforcers barracks, tells us all we need to know, about the need for changed behaviors.

If one can be conscious enough not to litter in certain areas fearing repercussions and consequences, one can be mindful enough to not litter at all. Let’s apply stringent rules to get tough against these unacceptable behaviors.

Also, there is no shame for our city lords to borrow a leaf from other cities like Kigali in Rwanda and Moshi. Apart from stringent littering conventions in the case of Moshi, Kigali has a special cleaning program, every Saturday morning, where everyone is compelled to participate in cleaning activities around their neighborhoods. This has worked out remarkably.

We should all remember that we have no Planet B. Might as well take good care of the one we have.

Read More


By Godwin Semunyu.

Tanzania records an estimated 1.5 million tourists annually, accounting for 17 percent of the GDP, more than 2 million employments – and is the leading sector in foreign exchange earnings garnering over $2 billion annually (about Sh4.6 trillion). According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

International tourist arrivals to Africa grow at around 5% per annum with close to 1.4 billion visitors. Africa’s top tourism destinations are Morocco, with around 11 million arrivals, and South Africa, with around 10 million tourist arrivals, annually.

If you look closely at the figures, you will notice that destination Tanzania, blessed with unraveled natural attractions from the breathtaking coastline, National parks to Africa’s highest peak in Mount Kilimanjaro, ought to have more significant numbers than what is currently garnered.

It is time to repackage our tourists’ offerings by adding more value and create a new competitive edge. You will agree that Morocco has nothing astronomical to get ten times the tourists than what Tanzania is getting. There are some other areas that we can tap to add value to our tourists’ packages: Sports and medical tourism come to mind.

Sports tourism is a diamond in the rough, Today, sport is regarded as the world’s largest social phenomenon. And, tourism is on its way to becoming one of the world’s most significant industry—an optimal combination of the two, tourists from all over the world dance to your tunes.

Whether it is the World Cup, the Olympics, Marathons, Tennis, Golf, Formula One, NBA Finals, or a mere “El Classico” soccer match between Real Madrid verses Barcelona in Spain, more and more tourists are now interested in traveling to new destinations, just for sports activities. In 2018 the sports tourism industry was worth $1.41 trillion, and this figure is expected to increase to approximately $5.72 trillion by 2021. This is a whopping 41% growth in only four years.

This is a diamond in the rough. For Tanzania, it is about time to capitalize on this booming industry. One area that can yield instant success in staging world-class marathons. For the year 2021, Tanzania has register 97 Marathons to take part in different parts of the country. I firmly believe that the time has come to turn the marathon from “fun runs” to internationally recognized races.

It is time to ensure at least 3 of our Marathons, especially those in tourist towns such as Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar, are organized to international standards to attract international participants. In Ethiopia, for instance, every November, they contain races named “Great Ethiopian Run,” drawing close to 37000 participants, the majority being foreigners. We already have a Blueprint in Kili-Marathon that attracts close to 12,000 athletes annually; it is time to build into it by creating a memorable experience for the runners.

Strategically, the event can be turned from the current one-day event to a week-long festival that includes music festivals and park tours. On the other hand, Beach-based sports such as beach soccer and volleyball can also attract international attention if well organized and promoted. The Beach soccer competitions are comparatively cheaper in terms of investments, but the returns could be quite significant.

This tournament can be arranged parallel with the annual “Sauti za Busara” concert in Zanzibar to rip tourists from both the music and sports worlds. It is time to contemplating hosting CAF Beach Soccer Tournament. Medical tourism is the new norm. Over the past few years, Tanzania has transformed the health sector with Investment in specialized services, which has reduced the number of patients seeking medical treatment abroad.

Records show that Tanzania refers to 200 to 300 patients abroad annually, but the number has since dropped to less than 60. The health sector’s significant improvements could open doors to become a minor medical tourism destination for neighboring countries. Tanzania can borrow a leaf from India’s medical tourism industry, which is estimated to grow by 200% by 2021, hitting $9 billion.

India receives close to 240,000 foreign tourists annually on medical grounds. A significant percent is coming from African countries. With the improvement in Tanzania’s renowned medical establishments, it will be comparatively cheaper for people from most African countries to opt for Tanzania as a preferred medical tourism destination.

On several occasions, we have heard of significant improvements at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) and Ocean Road Cancer Institutes, which can handle complicated cases referred abroad. The two giants also receive patients from neighboring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Comoro, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, and Burundi.

The horizons can be broadened. Tourism is undoubtedly amongst the leading pillars of our economy in terms of employment and earnings. However, with the market dynamics and sizeable competition from the world over, we ought to be more creative and vigilant in increasing value for tourists to pick Tanzania from all the available alternatives. For comments, please email me : gsemunyu@epicpr.co.tz

Read More


By Godwin Semunyu

A few days back, my colleague was blessed with a baby girl, when I called to congratulate him, he had this to say; “Man, I need to buy more dogs to protect my beautiful princess.”  Though the phrase is a common cliché, the statement says so much from a guy who also has a three-year-old son. “Protect the girls, the boys will be fine”.

The history of the world is masculine from a go, God the father, created Adam the man, then gave him an “assistant’ in Eve, straight from his (Adam’s) ribs. Then followed by all-male disciples. Male dominance is so big that big nations like the USA (Democratic they say)  has had 47 presidents, all-male. Catholic Church has had 266 Popes, Ofcourse, male.

The fact that the holy books teach that Eve came from Adam’s ribs favors the male ego, yet again. Talk about the story of hunting favoring the hunters.

Then Human rights advocates came with a plan; protect,  defend  and elevate the woman and the girl child. It has worked. Rightly, we have witnessed a rise in the number of confident all-round women coming up and taking up  leadership positions. The “traditional” careers that were male-dominated have now been embraced by women. This is commendable progress, and it deserves a standing ovation.

However, as we have progressed in addressing the fight for women’s rights, we have taken a back seat in ensuring that both genders are equally progressive. The Boy child  is now at the periphery of the development sphere. The girl child is now free, confident, independent pursuing her dreams, and is no longer the weaker gender. Evidently, the boy child is now slowly becoming  the weaker  and an endangered species.

Boys are now are becoming less competitive, demotivated, and losing a will to work hard as they are expected to. For some reasons, nowadays  most boys want it “easy”,  they seem to enjoy opting shortcuts and the easy way out. Partying, betting, drinking, over socializing, and doing drugs is the “thing”. Many will go straight into driving Tuktuk “Bajaj”, Bodaboda or street hawking and rest the case.

What has become of the Boy child?

Time has caught up with the Boy child. The society has a fair share of blames too. Boys are pampered to the extent of turning out to be irresponsible beings. Mothers worship their sons while fathers  are hardly around, when they are, they  shower them with a sense of  pride for being heirs to the thrones. The result is complacency. All this is happening while the girl child is pushed to the core.

While the girl child is pushed at home and school, the Boy child is a master at home who is exempted from almost all chores, which have been labeled “kazi za kike”. Society is teaching girls to be responsible: “Utanitia aibu ukiolewa hujui kupika” . The same society is encouraging boys to be irresponsible; “Mpe dada nguo akufulie”.

At school, the  girl child is  pushed to the limit. No wonder, in recent years, girls have visibly dominated the education performance in the country. The girls only schools like St. Francis, Feza Girls, Canossa and Anwarite  are dominating the top ten charts. In year 2019 Form Four results, seven of the top ten performers, were girls!

Girls are also well prepared to be women, more than  how the boys are prepared to be men. A girl child will go straight into house chores soon as she gets home. They are all-rounders. They  are  also exposed to avenues such as  the “Kitchen parties” that prepare them for roles as wives. I am told they get enough manuals while in there. The modern girls are indeed a complete package.

Meanwhile, boys are exempted from most, if not all, home chores  and  spends most time after school playing with friends or video games. Boys have little  clues on basic home chores such as cooking and cleaning. Boys are brought up and are prepared to be “masters” of the households, but with no proper skills. “Be a man” “man up” ‘Wewe ni mwanaume” are the phrases they get,  but with no fitting blueprints  on how to be one. Boys are not encouraged to show emotions. Boys can’t cry, it is a “sissy” thing to do.

Furthermore,  no one really feels compelled to help boys grow into men. The old fashioned “Jando’ is now too primitive to many. As a result, most boys walk into marriages unprepared whereas sexual education  is a myth that most boys  solve via porn sites (yes, I said it)—sad truth. When they finally tie the knots, boys expect their spouses to be a wife and a  mother,  they want to be pampered even though most of them  tend to evade their responsibilities as providers and bread winners. The strong and independent young lady will not be intimidated by a boy who acts like a King while ducking responsibilities. Eventually, the two will clash—another broken family.

As  the  girl child rises, the Boy child plummets. Their downward spiral  has a significant impact to the  society;  irresponsible fathers, drug and alcohol abusers, broken homes, and  outlawed crime gangs like ‘’Panya Road” and “Mbwa Mwitu.”

Why is it important to strike the balance?

As a society, we are obliged to elevate both boys and girls. There is a need to empower both men and women as the lack of focus on male empowerment leaves a gap and leads us with empowered women who do not have male counterparts who are equally as empowered.

The Boy child is most likely to take a leadership role. This  might sound a bit absurd, but looking at African politics landscape, it is a scary thought  to look at when we have leaders who are not empowered as they may look at any form of criticism as an attack.

To avoid a situation where we are left to pick up the pieces, it is important that in our efforts to empower the girl child, we ensure that the Boy child is equally empowered and, in a position, to compete on the same level. Without that, we cannot fully claim to have successfully advocated for gender equality and succeeded.

 

Striking an empowerment balance – having genders that are equally empowered speeds up the process in the fight for affirmative actions  as no gender feels threatened.

Send your comments to: gsemunyu@epicprtz.co.tz

Read More


A Swahili street slang that means ‘until we make it’ and/or ‘until it all makes sense’ and/or ‘keep your eye on the ball’. The slogan has been at the centre of my personal drive since I started my entrepreneurial journey back in 2016.

Through both steady and unprecedented times this slogan has been the driving force in facing challenges and pushing through hard times.

Our country is not unique in facing this COVID 19 global pandemic. As business owners, we are being hit with the same negative consequential economic effects as faced by those in fellow developing nations. Being a practising corporate lawyer and an inward investment advisor places me at the country’s entry gates exposing me head-on to investor challenges and strategies during this uncertain time.

The act of advising clients to send employees on unpaid leave, forced leave and outright closure of business tends to send a very grim picture on what is going on the ground.

Yet, being at the gateway exposes me to foreign investor interests, and new market entry propositions in the midst of all the economic and logistical challenges. From December 2019 to April 2020 we have set up investment vehicles on the lookout for opportunities in tourism, microfinance, manufacturing and some in relief efforts towards the effects of Covid-19.

The question that comes to mind is ‘What are foreign investors seeing that we as Tanzanians and local business owners are not seeing?’ Should we really be cowering in terror, depressed and paralyzed out of fear, waiting for the storm to settle (until when?) or should we use this time to not only take care of ourselves and those around us but to also re-strategize, seek new growth opportunities and better position ourselves for the brighter days?

The current situation took me back to my employed days when once I had gone three months without a salary during which time I realised I could actually survive running my own business, and thrive. In those months I improved on client relations and found ways to make money on the side by purposefully marketing the broad range of skill sets I had acquired over the years. That was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

Therefore, this pandemic can be responded to with the same resilience. Why not innovate? Why not think out of the box? Why not tend to the untouched wish list? Why not now?

Should we keep dwelling on the unknown and that which we have no control over? I believe we should face what we do know and improve on what is within our means. That is the spirit of #Mpakakieleweke

With that being said, our firm is pushing our online employment law application www.kazibox.co.tz which allows employees and HR managers alike to easily access essential employment law related resources through a webapp. Since many companies have implemented social distancing policies there has been a huge increase in online communication and administration in the country. We trust we can capitalize on this.

In a more personal capacity, I am chasing my dream to enter the tourism and risk management industries. How crazy is that? Building a beach camp site when there are no tourists to be seen…yet.

Being involved with the risk management firm www.castorvali.com at a time when major projects are on a slowdown has also led to the opening of other opportunities like the issuance of reports and updates on COVID-19 and its impact on business within the East African region. These reports are proving to be of increased significance to corporates keeping an eye on their investments in East Africa.

This in my mind is what the ‘Mpaka Kieleweke’ slogan is all about: taking the bull by the horns and dealing with whatever comes our way as it comes. I honestly believe that in the end the sun will shine, and we will be better positioned to continue the transformation of our beautiful growing nation.

Let us be safe, and let’s keep chasing our dreams as they are all we got.

By Kamanga Wilbert Kapinga ~ Managing Partner at KW Kapinga & Partners

SOURCE: HERE

Read More