Tanzania is planning to build a cable car service on Mount Kilimanjaro. The country hopes the project will increase tourism in the area.
But, the area’s mountain guides and porters worry the project will threaten their jobs.
Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. Trade and tourism support the people living in the area around the mountain. This is the case for 37-year-old Sintia Mwita. She is a mother of three children. She says her job as a porter helps her family a lot.
Mwita says, "I am the one who pays for their school fees and daily expenses in my family.”
Officials say the cable car will help the physically disabled, the elderly and children experience Kilimanjaro. They also say it will help tourists get up the mountain faster.
Jennifer Francis is a leader with the Kili Meru Mountain Guides Society. She says the Tanzanian government has not been fully honest about the cable car project.
She also says government officials only tell people about the good parts of the project -- and not how the project could affect current and future generations.
About 50,000 tourists climb Kilimanjaro each year. Their activities help bring tens of millions of dollars to the area.
Tanzanian officials predict that operating cable cars will increase tourist numbers by as much as 50 percent.
Constantine Kanyasu is the deputy minister for natural resources and tourism. He believes the project will help the tourism industry in Tanzania. But he says the change will not be easy.
“Of course, changes come with some effects. We should not expect Tanzania to be the same in one hundred years to come…we need to have changes.”
Tanzanian officials will complete social and environmental tests before building begins on the Kilimanjaro cable car system.
Edson Matauna is a leader with the Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society. He told VOA, “If our jobs will be assured, and these clients in the cable cars will have no negative effects on us, I think there will be no tension between porters and the government.”
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Words in This Story
assure – v. to make something certain; ensure
cable car – n. a vehicle that hangs in the air from a cable that pulls it up and down mountains
clients – n. people who pays a professional person or organization for services
deputy – n. an important assistant who helps the leader of a government, organization, etc.
tourism – n. the activity of traveling to a place for pleasure; the business of providing hotels, restaurants, entertainment, etc. for people who are traveling