In the United States, it is not uncommon for a fisherman, professional or not, to run to Wal-Mart, purchase a GPS, and put it to work. In the relatively small nation of Tanzania, however, GPS mappers are a valuable commodity. They are, however, beginning to take the mostly agricultural nation by storm, poising the African Republic for serious growth.
Commercial fishing in Tanzania is an extremely valuable component of its economy. About three quarters of the nation’s economy rests on agriculture, i.e. growing and harvesting food. The nation is right on the coast of the Indian ocean, a largely under-fished area. Most commercial fishermen in Tanzania do not go farther than about twelve nautical miles offshore. This leaves a vast, untapped chunk of ocean for Tanzanian fishermen to ply their trade.
Training Fishermen to Succeed
One of the biggest issues that Tanzanian fishermen face is high tides. Without the aid of a GPS to understand ocean conditions, Tanzanian fishermen are often in danger of damaging or wrecking their boats. A simple GPS purchase can extend the life of the boat, the fisherman’s most expensive and precious investment.
Two tasks are ahead, then, for this segment of Tanzania’s economy. The first is to get as many GPS devices into the hands of fishermen as possible. The second is to educate Tanzanian fishermen on their function, allowing them to fish farther out, growing the industry and providing a safer environment for fishermen.
Should Tanzania provide GPS trackers to fishermen? That is doubtful: Tanzania is a capitalist economy, and is trending toward growth. If fishermen are trained in GPS use, though, the fishing industry stands to enjoy muscular growth.
A Nation Ready to Grow
Africa’s economy appears to be largely defying worldwide trends, and is growing relatively steadily. Tanzania is no exception. Tourism is growing: it is the home of mount Kilimanjaro, and a huge swath of the scenic Serengeti. It has begun harvesting some of its large natural resources including gas, gold, etc. Literacy and life expectancy are high, though HIV/AIDS remains a significant issue in the nation.
Growth is growth: if the fishing industry in Tanzania can become more safe, efficient, productive and effective through the large scale implementation of GPS tracking devices, then the nation stands to benefit.