Arusha, May 22, 2000 (FH) - The first time I asked a resident of Arusha how the town had changed since the advent of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), I was told "the prices have gone up". That is a major concern for many people here.

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Some have benefitted from the phenomenon, especially if they are property owners or enterprising traders, but many of the poorer people have difficulty perceiving the benefits of the UN presence. "We have done a lot to assist the economy of this country and Arusha," a senior ICTR officer said, citing the injection of UN staff purchasing power into the housing and consumer markets. But he also admitted that "we may not be very well seen by the local population in Arusha. They may say 'they have a lot, they live well'. But as a result we are trying to help, paying what they ask. And this creates a different type of animosity. ""I like to have UN people here," says Tanzanian trainee restaurant manager Alpha Emmanuel, who has been living in Arusha for the last five years. "If people don't like them it's because they are being paid in dollars, you know, so life in Arusha is too expensive. So the people who are not happy with them, it's for financial reasons. And as you know, our country is one of the poorest countries. "Municipal economist Charles Shuma says that annual per capita income in Arusha is around Tsh 240,000 ($300), or $1 per day. With many UN staff earning a few thousand dollars per month, the contrast in living standards is clear. Yet some of that UN money goes back into the local economy. "When you have 500 people with money in a town of 300,000, it's a big injection of cash," says one observer. "These people are not tourists, they live here, so they want houses, entertainment, services. "Municipal authorities say the ICTR's impact on the local economy is hard to quantify. "Arusha is a tourist centre," says Municipal Director Moses Kabeja,. "and it has had the presence of the East African Community. That has been on and off, but it has had an impact in the past. But with regard to some things, you cannot deny the influence of the Tribunal, especially on services and expenditure. "Shuma says that most impact has been felt in the commercial and housing sectors. "But the negative side of the coin," he continues, "is that rents are very high for local residents. " While property developers and landlords rub their hands in glee, housing prices are still rising. The cost of a three to four bedroom house, the kind UN professionals would want to rent, is now around $800 per month, compared with $400 to $500 three years ago. That is top of the range, but rent prices even in less desirable parts of Arusha have also risen. Impact on jobsShuma says the number of Tanzanians employed directly by the Tribunal appears relatively low. In a town where the official unemployment rate is around 33%, that perception can generate resentment. But the ICTR argues it is doing its best. Out of 614 staff now in Arusha, 128 are Tanzanian. Most of the locals are in general service, but there are nevertheless five Tanzanians in senior professional posts. One of the court's nine judges is also Tanzanian. If general service posts cannot be filled by locals, that has to be justified both to the Tanzanian authorities and in terms of the UN budget. "We would like to hire as much as we can in Tanzania," a senior official told me. But he said this is not always as easy as it seems. Even drivers are required to have a good level of English in a town where many people speak only Kiswahili. In addition to direct jobs created, the Tribunal has undoubtedly boosted employment indirectly. Most UN people living in Arusha employ at least three or four locals per household, in the form of househelp, gardeners and watchmen. Spin-off effects from the Tribunal's presence are also helping local traders. "It is not easy to make money," says carpenter Simon Mtowera, who sells his furniture along one of Arusha's busiest roads, "but it is better now than it was before. The UN is good for Arusha, I think. They have come here, some people, and they need things from me. I make a chair or a table because they need it. People did not want anything before. "Nightclubs and restaurants have been springing up. In two years, the number of restaurants selling foreign food has burgeoned. According to local newspaper The Arusha Times, this small town now boasts "three authentic Chinese restaurants, two Indian restaurants, a quasi Mexican outfit, two Ethiopian joints, a score of fast food outlets, and more than 15 outlets where one can enjoy Continental dishes". These outlets are mostly run by foreigners but employ local staff. Mamma's Pizzeria is one of these new restaurants. It opened in October 1999 on a modern, upmarket housing estate developed by Tanzania's Parastatal Pension Fund (PPF). Many senior UN people are now renting houses there. Mamma's South African owner Chris Horsfall says this was a factor in his decision to locate at the PPF site. "That definitely did have a large sway in our decision," he says. Horsfall says all his staff are Tanzanian. "At Mamma's here we've got nine people and we're currently training another two. The reason for that is we're trying to bring some of the guys showing a little bit more promise through and train them as far as management goes. "Local businesses evictedOn the other hand, the expansion of the Tribunal within the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) has meant many local businesses being evicted from the AICC. The AICC is state-owned and relatively well equipped. It currently charges $10 per square metre for office space, while the average price in town is $15, plus bills. AICC Managing Director Major-General Herman Lupogo says the number of local businesses asked to leave is "definitely more than 100". "When the Tribunal came, all they asked for was two floors in Kilimanjaro Wing, plus the lobby and Simba Hall," he says. "Now they want a whole block and more. [. . . ] It's difficult to say no to them because we invited them here. It's true their development hardly bears the hallmark of a plan, to put it mildly. "Lupogo says it is unfortunate that other tenants have had to go to town to find accommodation, and that some say they have failed. He hopes this will provide an incentive for private investors to build more office space. Municipal economist Shuma says the authorities had hoped the ICTR would make direct investment in infrastructure and housing, but this has not happened. Asked about the recent rehabilitation of the roads, he says this had nothing to do with the the Tribunal. It was financed by the World Bank and had been planned since 1994. Nevertheless, as Municipal Director Kabeja says, "if you have visitors, you have to make improvements". Kabeja admits that current pressure to improve the town's street lighting and medical services comes from "a combination of the Tribunal and other factors". The presence of the ICTR, EAC and international NGOs is undoubtedly an extra investment incentive in Arusha. Private sector investors who respond will most likely be foreigners or wealthy Tanzanians. In general, Arushans who have benefitted most from the ICTR's presence are those who already had money. "The people who have been the most lucky ones already possess estates, the ones who can provide high quality houses, the high income group," says Shuma. Lupogo also says that the the gap between rich and poor Arushans may have widened. "But the inequalities were not brought by the Tribunal," he says. "The Tribunal may have accentuated them. But let's put the blame where it belongs. It's the fault of the Tanzanian social system, not the Tribunal. "JC/FH (AR%0522e)