Saturday, November 26, 2011

TEDxDAR 2011: Evans Rubara

Evans Rubara's presentation is about the social and environmental impact of the mining industry in Tanzania. It's going to get interesting up in here because the large-scale mining debate is a controversial one.

Mining started here in 1898 the the first gold mine opened up in Tanzania, and things have been going interestingly since then. Tanzania opened its doors to large-scale commercial mining relatively late in the game but I can't tell you the date because I was too busy editing my last post to catch the date on the slide.

Some of the issues that are synonymous with large-scale mining in Tanzania include high rates of human rights violations and environmental degradation. The slideshow included pictures of people who have been affected by drinking or bathing in the waters of the Tigithe River in North Mara. They are not pretty. I have been looking at these pictures for years now and to be honest with you the whole situation is one big grey area.

Tanzania is mineral rich, and I imagine that the mining sector is only going to grow. What Evans Rubara's said in conclusion is: whose responsibility is it to make sure that the mining sector is run well. He has a point: it is only the collusion of government and investors that has led to the trouble that the mining sector is having now. If the government chooses to act in favor of the people, there is no reason why Tanzania shouldn't benefit from an exemplary mining sector.

I am not of the opinion that we should leave our natural resources unexploited- we need to use what we have to get where we need to go. The only problem is, and isn't it always, our governance issues and corruption. If teensy little Botswana could cut a good deal with the diamond barons, surely we can handle ourselves better.


  1. The event was really good and Evans highlighted a number of important issues but the thing here is whether anyone will listen out there. A question I never got the chance to ask is whether Evans is safe because a number of people have had a lot of problems when they talk explicitly about corruption and especially the atrocities in the mining sector.

  2. @anonymous It certain,y is important issue. Evams' talk was extremely pertinent given all the recent policy debates regarding the mining sector. I know as a fact though that evans' life has been threatened numerous times and that he was actually forced to leave the country at one point. It makes his courage to speak @TEDxDar all the more admirable,

  3. There is no safety in Tanzania as rightly said. As we know, even the topmost leader in Tanzania has this clause, "I do not want anyone to tarnish my name" in his vocabulary. No one wants a tarnished reputation especially when they are in servitude to foreign countries and implementing foreign policies - which are synonymous to what Frantz Fanon called, "Small-time racketeers" in "Wretched of the Earth." The majority of those in the government can be identified thus. 'Nosy' people like Evans have no chance of survival here unless they join the 'goon-party.'


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