FOR nine good days, the Head of State traversed kilometers of dusty roads, opening up road links that will connect our economic activities in much the same way arteries in human anatomy facilitate blood circulation.
There couldn’t be a better analogy, for as blood transport key life form across the human body, so do the roads feed our economy with productive human activity–from tending cows for eventual slaughter in a public market to transport honey or tobacco to the next client.
Across central and western zones, President John Pombe Magufuli, has facilitated the launch of 707km of road networks, all built at the cost of Tsh 860bn/-, almost entirely generated internally.
If there was cause to dance in our own wedding, this would be it! Significantly, the launch ceremonies of these road networks were greeted with fanfare; and just as significantly, we had cause to celebrate–because these projects had for a long time remained what would correctly pass for ‘cinderella’ projects in the sense that, even though vital to the economy, they still remained in the backyard of our planning process.
The launch of these networks opens economic opportunities not just for trading and other economic activities within this country, but also provides trading links to our neighbours, most of whom are landlocked, lacking all strategic fall-back other than good neighbourliness.
To us, providing such links isn’t a favour but an equally strategic smart move. Speaking at the last of such ceremonies, held at Itigi in Singida Region, the Head of State said the Manyoni-Itigi-Chaya road, a mere 89.3km, still signified a mammoth resolve to upgrade all major roads to tarmac standard.
Among key road links just inaugurated now include the Tabora-Nzega stretch, perhaps one of the oldest, yet neglected, links that will now connect vital mining activities to the north and major agricultural fields to the south; this, in turn, further connects with the Great North that runs from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo, in Egypt.
In many ways, therefore, a road linking villages between suburban Kigoma and Biharamulo may sound like a local venture; in effect, however, linking these villages may eventually lead to linked regions, then nations – and eventually continents.
So what happened at Itigi the other day may sound local, but in many other ways, that same local event carries with it a significant global imperative. We are, as they say, thinking globally–and acting locally as bonafide citizens of this global village.
Such is the significance of the vents that unfolded from Kagera to Singida within a neat timeframe of nine days: We’ve opened up this nation to global trade.
It’s up to us as citizens, not just of this country, to warm up to the opportunities beckoning beyond our borders. Short of that, these roads will remain what they are: dead roads!