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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

US commits U.S. 512 million dollars to Tanzania HIV/AIDS fight   

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The United States Embassy in Tanzania announced on Friday a 512-million-U.S.-dollar commitment to fight HIV/AIDS in the East African nation.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Inmi Patterson announced the commitment in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam where she was joined by the Tanzanian deputy minister of health Faustine Ndugulile.

Patterson said the United States through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) sought to bring HIV/AIDS under control by September 2019.

The embassy said the latest HIV/AIDS Impact Survey released in December 2017 showed Tanzania had fallen behind other countries in the region in control of the disease.

“Only about half of all people with HIV in Tanzania have been tested and know that they have HIV. Tanzania must get back on track, and this will require greater public awareness and people should be tested, adoption of new policies and proper implementation of the policies,” said the statement.

The statement added: “PEPFAR encourages everyone, especially men, to talk to a health worker about getting tested for HIV.”

According to statistics by the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Tanzania has an estimated 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS, but only 52 percent of them are aware of their condition.

The disease has mostly affected the youth aged between 14 and 25 years, says TACAIDS.

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Tanzanian court stops gov’t from making online content regulations

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian High Court on Friday issued an injunction order restraining the government from starting to regulate online content, which was to begin on May 5.

Neville Meena, secretary of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), said the court’s decision followed submissions made by six institutions on April 30 asking the court to restrain the government from making online content regulations.

Meena said in the main case the institutions have asked the court to review the regulations on grounds that the minister for information has used powers outside his authority and that the regulations violated principles of natural justice.

According to him, the institutions are challenging the regulations as they contravened freedom of expression, the rights to be heard and the rights to privacy. The main case is set for hearing on May 10.

On April 21, the Tanzanian government, through its communications watchdog Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), issued a two-week deadline for all bloggers to register their platforms under tough new online content rules.

The regulations passed in March to enforce the Electronic and Postal Communications Act of 2010 made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums, including Youtube TV channels, to register their services and potentially pay up to 2.1 million shillings for registration and license fees.

The state-owned TCRA said in a statement that all online content providers are required to complete the application process before 5 May.

TCRA officially opened the registration process for blogs, online television stations, online radio and other online forums last week.

“Bloggers convicted of failure to comply with the new rules could face a fine of at least 5 million shillings or a prison sentence of a minimum of 12 months or both,” said the TCRA statement.

President John Magufuli last week ordered authorities to take legal action against anyone deemed to be “abusing” freedom of expression by posting misleading anti-government statements on social media.

The directive followed alleged misleading statements made by some opposition leaders on findings of the latest report by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), with some figures accusing the government of looting from the 2016/17 budget. The government has dismissed the allegations.

The number of internet users in Tanzania rose 16 percent in 2017 to 23 million, with the majority of those using their mobile phone handsets to go online in the nation of around 52 million people.

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Tanzania sets sights on Eastern Europe as potential tourism market

ARUSHA  Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is now focusing on Eastern Europe in its tourism marketing strategies after registering success in Western Europe and North America, an official of the country’s Tourist Board said on Sunday.

Willy Lyimo, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) northern zone manager, said that the new market will complement the otherwise traditional markets such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

Lyimo who was speaking shortly after meeting a delegation of travel agencies from Eastern Europe highlighted the importance of the new market to the growth of the sector, noting that Tanzania stood to reap big from it.

“This is a unique opportunity to expand our base to emerging markets. There’s a lot of potential from countries like Bulgaria and the Czech Republic,” he explained.

The TTB official was also optimistic that the marketing of Tanzania’s natural resources on international travel expos was now paying dividends following the desire expressed by the foreign travel agents of bringing tourists to the country.

Volodymyr Voloshyn, Director of BCD travel from Ukraine, described Tanzania as a well-established safari destination for many Ukrainians, and assured that his company would bring more tourists from the country.

“Tanzania is endowed with a pristine heritage coupled with an array of natural resources, it is the perfect gateway for tourists from Ukraine,” he said.

Buoyed by the direct flights from Ukraine’s capital Kiev to the spice island of Zanzibar, Voloshyn was convinced that such a trend would open up Tanzania to the rest of Eastern Europe.

Paul Fissoo, Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) Manager for Tourism Services, expressed his optimism over the potential offered by the Eastern European market.

Fissoo said the authority will capitalize on the new market with a view of increasing the number of tourists who tour the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

According to the 2017 International Visitors’ Exit Survey Draft Report released last week, international tourist arrivals in Tanzania soared by 5.6 percent in 2017, raking in 2.3 billion U.S. dollars, from 2.1 billion U.S. dollars recorded in 2016.

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Tanzania plans to roll out HIV self-testing: minister

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania said on Saturday plans were afoot to initiate a program for HIV self-testing, where an individual will be able to use saliva or blood to discover their status.

Faustine Ndugulile, the east African nation’s Deputy Minister for Health, said for Tanzania to cut down rates of HIV transmission, it was prudent to embark on the self-testing strategy.

He cited reports showing that not many people in the country go for HIV screening at various centers.

“Especially the men,” he pointed out adding: “Even when they go, they take long to start taking ARVs.” 

The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 released new guidelines on HIV self-testing to improve access to and uptake of HIV diagnosis.

According to the guidelines, results of HIV self-testing are ready within 20 minutes or less. Those with positive results are advised to seek confirmatory tests at health clinics.

According to statistics by the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Tanzania has an estimated 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS but only 52 percent of them are aware of their condition. 

The disease has mostly affected the youth aged between 14 and 25 years, says TACAIDS.

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Tanzania institues new coffee buying system

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has reviewed coffee buying system in an effort to benefit farmers and the country at large, a senior official of the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) said on Sunday.

The government has approved a buying system, TCB Acting Director General Primus Kimaryo told a media briefing.

Under the new arrangement, coffee beans will be collected from farmers and primary co-operative unions to the northern Tanzania’s town of Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, for auctioning.

“The coffee board will hold an auction (in Moshi) where the majority of Tanzania coffee for export is offered and where licensed bidders are available,” Kimaryo said.

No individual buyer will be allowed to buy coffee beans directly from farmers as it was before, he said.

“The idea is to ensure coffee growers benefit from their products as more buyers are expected to buy at the auction, the situation that will increase competition, hence benefit farmers,” Kimaryo said. “We also want to ensure the quality of coffee beans in the market.”

Tanzanian coffee production averages between 30,000-40,000 metric tonnes each year, about 70 percent Arabica and 30 percent Robusta.

Coffee is Tanzania’s largest export crop, which contributes about 115 million dollars to the country’s export earnings. About 95 percent of coffee is produced by some 400,000 smallholders on plots averaging 1-2 hectares.

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Tanzania in drive to enhance war against poaching

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has partnered with security agencies to enhance the fight against poaching in all 16 national parks across the east African nation.

“The fight against poaching is complex as some poachers are now using sophisticated weapons,” TANAPA Director General Allan Kijazi told a meeting here on Sunday.

He said TANAPA has been working with the police force in arresting and taking to court poachers.

Nsato Marijani, commissioner of operations and training in the Tanzania Police Force, said: “We’re aware of the challenges facing TANAPA in fighting poaching as poachers come up with new techniques every day.”

Marijani said the police force is currently protecting the national parks and game reserves by conducting day and night patrols.

Officers are also trained on how to fight poachers who are using sophisticated weapons, he said.

Speaking during the commemorations of World Wildlife Day in Dodoma in March this year, an official from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Dennis Ikanda, said 250 lions are killed every year in Tanzania by poachers, raising fears of the possible extinction of the animals.

Ikanda said the number of lions has dropped from about 25,000 in 2010 to 16,000 currently.

He said about 80 percent of the lions live in national parks, but it is the remaining 20 percent that live in the unprotected forests that are at high risk of poaching.

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