Is ‘Boda Boda’ a Solution to Job Creation in Tanzania? Are we Missing Something?

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By 2030, the African continent will have 18 cities with more than five million people, up from eight cities in 2018, according to United Nations projections. Of the world’s 30 fastest-growing cities, ten are African. Unfortunately, its transport infrastructures are not ready to accommodate this rapid urbanization and population pressure. Youths are migrating to urban centres in search of jobs and livelihood. Data shows an increasing trend of people migrating to urban areas in Africa.

It is projected that by 2050, 60% of the population will live in Africa’s urban areas. As there are no jobs, one common job youths do is commercial motorcycling. Commercial motorcycling (Boda Boda) has become popular, attracting hundreds of youths in Tanzania and other African countries and their big cities.

As these cities’ transport infrastructures are not friendly enough to accommodate the influx of more vehicles and motorcycles, human factors and vehicle defects have resulted in a fatal tragedy: motorcycle traffic accidents. Traffic accidents have been one of the causes of high mortality in Africa.

Commercial motorists, commonly known as boda boda, are a popular means of transport for short-distance routes in Tanzania. This means of transportation has come at a high cost to people in Tanzania. Motorist traffic accidents are claiming Tanzanian lives daily at an alarming rate.

The latest data from the Tanzania Traffic Police Department shows an average 800 deaths a year with  over 8000 killed, 35,231 seriously injured in 10 years from 2009 – 2018 from motorists traffic accidents. In 2014, over 3710 accidents were reported with 1423 deaths and 3622 injuries while in 2015 over 4079 accidents were reported with 1747 deaths and 4826 injuries as presented by Kinyaga, B at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Conference, Pretoria, South Africa in July 2017.

Also, Read how a Tanzania Traffic Police Department implements a Battle against Road accidents in Tanzania.

Research findings indicate that motorcycle riders face a higher risk of severe injury, morbidity, and mortality than road users. Although commercial motorcycling is legally licensed in Tanzania, it is not a way forward as a tool to create job opportunities. There are diverse sectors with plenty of opportunities to develop job opportunities in Tanzania, including agriculture, mining, sports, and tourism.

Most youths in Tanzania are increasingly dropping out of school to start commercial motorcycling. Commercial motorcycling is gaining popularity in Tanzania, and children prefer riding motorcycles to earn a living rather than working in sustainable and safe jobs in agriculture, sports, tourism, and small enterprises.

Commercial motorcycling is not only a high-risk job but also not sustainable. There are designed initiatives to absorb more youths in civilized and safe jobs.

What is Causing an Overwhelmingly High Number of Traffic Accidents?

Multiple factors are frequently associated with high occurrences of motorist traffic accidents, including road infrastructures, vehicles, and people. These commercial motorcycling traffic accidents, factors leading to traffic accidents include vehicle defects, driving under the influence of alcohol and addictive drugs, violation of traffic road signs, reckless riding, presence of horizontal curves, and speeding, among other things.

Most motorists ride motorcycles without wearing helmets, and most traffic accidents occur during peak hours in urban areas, at road intersections, and primarily on weekdays.

These youths sometimes ride motorcycles under the influence of alcohol or drugs and prefer speeding while riding, resulting in fatal accidents with head-on impacts. These accidents are deadly. As we have seen over the last ten years, an average of 8004 people lose their lives from motorcycling-related traffic accidents.

Are these Commercial Motorcycling Traffic Accidents Avoidable?

Accidents happen; sometimes, a rider or driver may not be in an excellent position to avoid or avert the calamity. Still, there are initiatives in terms of friendly infrastructures,  traffic control devices, clear road signs, high-level compliance with road safety measures, police enforcement, and continuing provision of road safety education.

These measures are needed to control the way road users behave on the road. These steps are essential approaches toward road traffic accident prevention. If all road users comply with road safety measures and infrastructures are friendlier, accidents, including motorist traffic accidents, will be significantly reduced.

Are there Alternative Job Opportunities for Youths to Absorb?

There is enormous potential in agriculture, tourism, sports, and small businesses where youths can earn their living. Technical education should be a priority where students and children can be trained in entrepreneurship and different skills, including welding, electrical engineering, plumbing, carpentry, operating heavy machines, and animal husbandry. Programs like Building the Better Tomorrow, loans from councils, and the like should be able to absorb many youths.

More technical training and low-rate loans to youths in different self-employment opportunities are crucial to producing skilled young people who can employ themselves in agriculture, mining, sports, tourism, small businesses, the entertainment industry, fishing, online income generation,  crafting, and arts.

Tanzania is endowed with all kinds of natural resources that need to be utilized by stakeholders and create employment opportunities for our youths, thus saving them from commercial motorcycling, claiming hundreds of lives daily.

Many youths doing commercial motorcycling to earn income is a result of many years of neglect by relevant authorities to tackle the challenges facing youths in Tanzania. Now there are thousands of youth in Tanzania. With a population of over 18.28  youths aged 15 – 24 and over 12.6 youths labour force available without work and seeking employment according to the 2020/2021 Integrated Labour Force Survey-Analytical Report from the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics, it’s no wonder youths are engaging in high risk jobs like commercial motorcycling to earn their living.

It is now high time that the government of Tanzania and all private and public partners initiate more programs that will unlock the potential in diverse sectors to create sustainable and safe jobs for its youths as their population is on the rise. Suppose these youths are not getting proper and sustainable employment.

In that case, it will be challenging to fight crimes, drugs, prostitution, poverty, and youths employing themselves in high-risk jobs like commercial motorcycling.

It is in the interest of our country to take good care of our youths by utilizing our natural resources to create sustainable and safe jobs, as this will not only produce more jobs for youth but also fight drugs, crimes, deviance, poverty, and prostitution as well as creating tax payers for the welfare of Tanzania and its economy.

hold a bachelor's degree in Public Relations and Marketing from St. Augustine University of Tanzania. I am currently working as a Hub Data Officer for Benjamin Mkapa Foundation at Usangi District hospital. I am an experienced Marketing and Sales professional where I have worked in this field for over 5 years. I have now worked in a PEPFAR HIV funded programme for over 3 years where I have been receiving various training and facilitation on the basics of comprehensive HIV care. I am passionate about traveling and creative writing and I am determined to learn more about writing to express my ideas that will inspire positive and constructive discussion in Tanzania for the welfare of the Tanzanian society.

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ElPuno Gordo
ElPuno Gordo
1 month ago

Honestly bodaboda is not a solution for job creation this show how much govt has failed when it comes to job creation solution
1.Farming camps with housing for nuclear family
2.Industrial Town which will include skilled and unskilled labour all can apply
You need these two to ensure there’s focus and job creation you will see people will leave bodaboda to enroll themselves in industry where they will get insurance, low cost education and good family balance

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