USAID Now Moves to Protect the Indian Ocean shores in Tanzania

The United States Agency for International Development intends to invest USD 8.4 million into a special program targeting to protect the Marine environment in Tanzania.

The USAID’s soon to be launched ‘Heshimu Bahari,’ or ‘Respect the Ocean’ initiative, is a five-year program meant to enhance the ecological resilience and productivity of Tanzania’s marine ecosystems.

A statement from the White House in Washington reveals that this funding will be the centrepiece of the USD 25 million worth of USAID and Tanzania’s investment in marine conservation and sustainable fisheries efforts. 

According to the US Embassy in Dar-es-salaam, the US Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff while in Tanzania with his wife, Vice President Kamala Harris, announced the launch of the new conservation program valued at USD 8.4 million.

To be executed through the USAID Tanzania the Heshimu Bahari Project will promote marine conservation, improve fisheries management and unlock the potential of the blue economy.

Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff reveals that the idea was hatched during his stroll along the Coco Beach in Dar-es-salaam City.

“Hadija told me about the devastating consequences climate change can have on women and local economies. The U.S. will provide 8.4 million Dollars to preserve ecosystems, improve fisheries management, and address gender inequalities in Tanzania’s fishing industries.”

Douglas Emhoff – Second Gentleman

Tanzania is a global hotspot of marine biodiversity that supports fishery and tourism livelihoods and is critical to the well-being of coastal communities throughout Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania.

The total length of the Tanzania coastline stretches to slightly over 800 kilometres along the Indian Ocean.

This Tanzanian mainland shoreline extends from the country’s border with Kenya all the way down the north to Ruvuma River at the border with Mozambique.

The Zanzibar Isles shorelines’ circumference measures 430 Kilometers around Unguja and 450 kilometers around Pemba Islands.

Tanzania’s marine ecology is part of the Southwest Indian Ocean region said to be a global hotspot for shark and ray biodiversity.

It is believed that 66 percent of known shark and ray species found within the waters are classified as threatened globally on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List, including 10 types that are said to be Critically Endangered.

Tanzania coastlines are homes to sea reefs that are said to have a unique community of corals and fish found nowhere else in the world thus making them a global priority for conservation.

Vitamin Sea?

The Indian Ocean coastline of Tanzania also boasts the largest contiguous areas of mangroves in Africa.

Mangrove forests cover the land–sea interface of major river estuaries and deltas along the country’s coastline from the border with Kenya in the north to the border with Mozambique in the south. 

Mangrove trees are found along the coastline  in the Rufiji, Ruvuma, Ruvu, Pangani, and Wami rivers. Mangroves are also found along the coasts of the three major islands of Unguja (Zanzibar), Pemba, and Mafia. 

Tanzania’s Rufiji estuary is described to be one of the largest mangrove areas in the Eastern African region.

USAID is already executing another conservation program in Tanzania, the ‘Tuhifadhi Maliasili,’ (Preserve Natural Resources) Project.

Tuhifadhi Maliasili is a project which among other things works to increase private sector engagement in biodiversity conservation and natural resources management.

The ‘Tuhifadhi Maliasili,’ project also addresses major threats to the country’s biodiversity by improving the policy, regulatory, and enabling environment for biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.

In yet another development

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Tanzania have signed a five-year, approximately USD 1.1 billion assistance agreement.

It was inked on March 29, during Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit.

Under the agreement, USAID will work in close collaboration with the Government of Tanzania to provide assistance in the areas of economic growth, health, education, and democracy and governance. 

The agreement underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to help advance the Government of Tanzania’s development priorities.