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Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania


In February 2010 the community of Kipawa was evicted to make way for construction of a third terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), the main airport of Tanzania located southwest of Dar es Salaam. 

The eviction happened suddenly. Teargas was deployed and within two days more than 300 buildings had been demolished. Visiting the site in March 2012 Beibei Yin reported that the demolished area had been fenced off and a sign stated that a Chinese firm, Chinese International Fund, was to construct a terminal building as part of a project to expand the airport. Kipawa had been a lively neighbourhood and home to about 1,300 families, who were now struggling to rebuild their lives. Many residents had lived in Kipawa for most of their lives. Overnight, the eviction had made many of them homeless, according to the Legal and Human Rights Centre, a Tanzania-based non-governmental organisation. More than 480 of the evicted families had protested against the proposed compensation package, arguing that it undervalued their homes by 50 per cent and was based on an obsolete Land Acquisition Act dating back to 1967. Like many residents, Eric’s budget for buying a new house was limited due to the compensation he was given. He only had sufficient funds for one room, to accommodate a family of eight people. Eric said the family were getting by without electricity and clean water was unaffordable. The only available water was from a muddy ground well dug by local people [1].

Reporting from Kipawa a few months later, in October 2012 Beibei Yin spoke with Magnus Malisa, leader of a group of discontented Kipawa evictees. He had been jailed for protesting against the eviction and said the government was only paying half of the compensation that residents deserved. Valuation for the compensation package was based on the obsolete Land Acquisition Act of 1967. He said: “The eviction at Kipawa was announced 13 years before it happened. The government had enough time to prepare a proper relocation plan. Yet, we were thrown into a bush after our homes were torn down within a few days.” Most Kipawa evictees had been relocated in an area 36km further west, where they did not have access to electricity, clean water, schools or roads [2].

The JNIA expansion project began in 1997 with a government declaration of the area to be acquired. Residents in the area allocated for the project were ordered to stop making any improvements on the land. The project was launched without provision of sufficient funds to compensate affected people. No budget was set aside for this until the 2010/11 financial year. Compensation levels were guided by the Land Acquisition Act of 1967, not the Land Act 1999 which supersedes it and requires that compensation should be full, fair and payable to any person whose interest in land is affected, and that valuation of land should be based on the market value [3].

Impoverishment risks from poorly managed resettlement

Empirical evidence from studies conducted in 2014 and 2017 confirmed impoverishment risks caused by the massive resettlement for JNIA expansion. Poorly managed displacement processes and lack of adherence to policies and guidelines exposed the affected population to short and long- term impoverishment risks. A total of 2,084 suburban properties in Kipawa and Kigilagila were earmarked for many years until residents from both settlements were suddenly displaced. Some affected people were rendered homeless, for periods of weeks or months. One reason for homelessness was that displaced people were only given three months to relocate to the new settlement area after receiving their compensation cheques, too short a time for relocating a family.

Affected people did not receive any assistance for livelihood restoration. They lost many income-generating opportunities as the new settlements were in less developed, peri-urban areas. There was increased morbidity in the displaced community, partially attributable to lack of access to safe, clean water. People had no option but to dig shallow wells to access water and this led to an eruption of water-borne diseases such as Typhoid, Cholera and dysentery. Research conducted in 2017 confirmed that the resettlement area lacked almost all social facilities. There was still no electricity supply and the new settlement did not yet have a safe, clean water; 63% were dependent upon rainwater harvesting, 20% got water from shallow wells and 17% from swamps. Displaced people also suffered food insecurity due to the resettlement process. They lacked shops and markets to purchase food, and also were unable to access transport to where these facilities were available. Some people subsisted on one meal per day due to scarcity of food and lack of income caused to unemployment. Displacement had caused social disintegration; there was a loss of social networks, along with dismantled trading links and production systems [4].

Inadequate assistance of displaced people

A study of the social impacts of JNIA expansion, based on a survey of 190 affected households and interviews with other stakeholders, conducted in 2015, concluded that Tanzania has insufficient legal provisions to compel the government to adequately assist those affected by resettlement projects. The expansion project led to the displacement of three unplanned settlements close to the airport: Kipawa, Kigilagila and Kipungini. The government claimed it already owned the land and was merely taking it back from encroachers. Affected people denied that they were encroachers and presented their customary land titles. Finally, they agreed to accept compensation on the basis that they were squatters, although they did not accept this term. Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) failed to pay compensation in a timely manner; there was a 12-year delay. TAA announced compensation for Kipawa residents first, in October 2009. Many complained the proposed payment devalued their homes. Several civil society groups tried to intervene, but their attempts to get the government to aid affected people were not successful.

Between October 2010 and January 2011 864 households from Kigilagila were compensated. The process of vacating Kigilagila was largely peaceful but some departed residents reported that on arrival at the new settlement they faced strong opposition from the host population who claimed they had not been compensated for the resettlees to take over their land. Some people from the host population used weapons to threaten the resettlees and prevent them from occupying the new land that had they been allocated. Local government failed to resolve conflicts between resettlees and the host population; there was no conflict resolution mechanism. At the time of the field study, in 2015, some Kigilagila residents who fled the new settlement area, due to the threats by the host community, were still waiting to be allocated new plots of land.

Socioeconomic changes

Socioeconomic changes were found to have affected the 240 households randomly selected for the survey. The proportion of people with jobs declined from 95% before relocation to 76% afterwards. Women were more adversely affected; their unemployment rate went up from 4% to 22%. For men, the unemployment rate increased from 5% to 17%. The resettlement programme had no plan for future income sources for resettles. People who had depended upon income opportunities in the vicinity of JNIA were placed at a disadvantage by the increased distance and cost of transportation, especially women who sold food and drink to people working in the industrial area. There was a dearth of employment opportunities or potential customers in the new settlement; small-scale and home-based businesses were particularly severely affected.

People were expected to reconstruct their homes in the new settlements, but five years after relocation 85% of affected households had not completed their new homes. Only 14% had maintained the same number of rooms in their new homes as they had their previous homes. The new settlement had few schools and health centres and there were complaints of overcrowding for resettlees and the receiving communities. There was a significant reduction in the proportion of households connected to the national electricity grid, down from 95% to just 8%. Survey respondents expressed a high level of dissatisfaction in their living conditions, in comparison with their pre-resettlement conditions. Distress caused by poorer living conditions was exacerbated by a high level of family separations resulting from relocation.

There was a lack of a standard, reliable method of informing resettles about the project. Very few respondents confirmed receipt of a handwritten notice of acquisition from the Ministry of Lands and Human Settlement Development. Failure to involve resettlees in the early stages of the project caused a lack of trust between TAA and affected people. Believing they had no influence over decision-making they perceived sensitisation meetings to be ‘meaningless’. A majority, 77%, of respondents were very dissatisfied with the resettlement programme. Affected people suffered due to absence of a comprehensive national resettlement policy and guidelines, which resulted in no administrative body being held responsible for implementation of the resettlement process [5].

Over 2,000 displaced property owners from the settlements of Kipawa and Kigilagila, which were totally demolished, were relocated to new settlement areas in the Pugu and Chanika wards. TAA and Ilala Municipal Council selected four peri-urban areas in the two wards for resettling displaces: Kigogo Freshi, Kinyamwezi, Zavala and Nyeburu. Farming was still the main occupation in these areas. The resettlement caused members of the receiving communities to lose their farms, which were converted to residential land uses. A PhD research project conducted between 2010 and 2013 (based on in-depth interviews with affected farm owners hosting the displaced people, local leaders, project officials, politicians and local authorities in the Ilala municipality) found that the receiving community was the least compensated for the impacts of the JNIA expansion project and some of them lost their livelihoods.

Displacement in the resettlement areas

Beginning in December 2010 people displaced from Kipawa and Kigilagila started to access the plots of land they had been allocated, where they began to construct houses. Some people from the host community began to confront the displacees who were accessing their new plots. TAA arranged for police escort to protect members of the Plot Allocation Committee from agitated original settlers. Confrontations eased after the government allocated USD1.3 million to compensate the farm owners. However, farm owners were displeased with the amount of compensation, maintaining it was lower than expected, and objected to how it was paid. All the farm owners who were interviewed complained about how small the amount was and that it did not follow the provisions of the Land Act 1999. The Land Act 1999 specifies that compensation must consider land area by acreage, crop values, disturbance allowance, and building value. None of these were accurately considered in the calculation of the compensation package. Out of 337 farm owners, 93 refused to accept their compensation cheques.

Some farm owners were themselves displaced when plots that included their houses were allocated to property-owners displaced by the JNIA expansion project. Allocation of land for facilities such as a health centre and a football pitch, within the resettlement areas caused further displacement in the receiving community. Farm owners lost their sources of income and food from farms, crops, and trees. Six households had lost their place of habitation. The research project concluded that affected farmers within the resettlement areas were subject to the same types of impoverishment risks as the displaced property-owners who were relocated to the area: food insecurity, joblessness, and homelessness. Farmers in the host community were placed at a higher degree of impoverishment risk because they were few in number and their level of participation in the resettlement process was lower [6].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania
State or province:Dar es Salaam region
Location of conflict:Ilala District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Water access rights and entitlements
Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

In March 2012 managing director of Tanzanian Airports Authority (TAA), Suleiman Suleiman, said that negotiations with the Chinese investors had ceased and the Julius Nyerere International Airport third terminal project had been suspended until new investment was in place. The sign at the site bearing the name Chinese Investment Fund had been painted over. Suleiman said the new terminal would cost at least USD300 million. The VIP terminal at the airport had already been built by the Chinese firm, at an estimated cost of USD 6 million [1].

In April 2013 BAM International, the Netherlands-based operating company of Royal BAM Group, was awarded the contract to design and construct the Terminal 3 complex including associated works. The contract value of Phase 1, facilitating 3.5 million passengers annually - with the scope of works comprising the construction of the main terminal building, parking lots, access roads, platforms and a taxiway - amounted to more than €130 million. The second phase will increase capacity to 6 million passengers annually. Previously BAM International had completed the rehabilitation of the airport’s main runway and upgrade of Terminal 2, and renovation of the airport’s infrastructure including taxiways and ground lighting [7].

In January 2015 Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba, made assurances that Terminal 3 would be completed as scheduled, at a total cost of USD300 million, by November, and that there would be no further delays. The facility would cover 70,000 square meters [8].

In March 2015 construction of the third terminal was reported to be on schedule, with both phase one and phase two to be complete in 2017. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Juma Kapuya, said delays in paying compensation to residents evicted from the area had created financial challenges. Dar Post reported that Tanzania had received a loan from HSBC under guarantee by the Netherlands for the third terminal construction project and that 15 per cent of the project was funded internally by CRBD Bank [9].

In February 2017 Tanzanian President John Magufuli told officials to investigate the cost of the Terminal three project, saying it was inflated. Both phases of the project had been awarded to BAM before he took office in 2015. Phase two had been scheduled for completion by December 2017 but the date had been pushed back due to delays in payments to the contractor.[10] NYIA third terminal became operational in September 2019. The terminal building has eight air bridges, 41 check-in desks and four baggage carousels. The project also involved creation of 90,000 square meters of apron and parking spaces for 2,900 cars [11].

Level of Investment for the conflictive project600,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:Approx 2,000 families
Start of the conflict:1997
Company names or state enterprises:China International Fund from China - Contracted to construct third terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport. In 2012 the managing director of Tanzanian Airports Authority (TAA) stated that the Terminal project had been suspended.[1]
BAM Group from Netherlands - Contracted to construct third terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport in April 2013. Designed to facilitate 6 million annual passengers the project includes parking lots, access roads, platforms and taxiway[6]
CRDB Bank from Tanzania - 15% of NYIA Terminal 3 project was funded by CRDB Bank
HSBC from United Kingdom - Tanzania received a loan from HSBC under guarantee by the Netherlands for NYIA third terminal construction project[9]
Relevant government actors:Government of Tanzania
Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA)
Ilala Municipal Council
Ministry of Lands and Human Settlements Development
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Legal and Human Rights Centre -

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Global warming, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Air pollution, Noise pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Other Environmental impactsGreenhouse gas emissions from air traffic at new third terminal
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Malnutrition, Deaths, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases, Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Other Health impacts, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases
Other Health impactsIncreased morbidity caused by water-borne diseases caused by lack of clean water in new settlements
Illnesses caused by pollutants emited by aircraft
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Approximately 2,000 families were displaced from three settlements - Kipawa, Kigilagila and Kipungini – to make was for a third terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport. The eviction of about 1,300 families from Kipawa was sudden, teargas was deployed and properties were demolished. A man was jailed for protesting against the eviction. Compensation was low, based on the obsolete Land Act 1967 rather than the Land Act 1999 that superseded it and specifies that compensation must consider land area by acreage, crop values, disturbance allowance and building value. A poorly managed resettlement programme exposed the displaced people to increased impoverishment risks including homelessness, unemployment and food insecurity. Many resettled residents did not have an electricity supply or access to clean water. For many affected people the only sources of water were shallow wells, causing an eruption of water-borne diseases (Typhoid, Cholera and dysentery) which increased morbidity in the resettlement area. Furthermore, many residents of the receiving community where displacees were resettled lost their farmland, and in some instances their houses. They were also dissatisfied with low compensation that did not follow the provisions of the Land Act 1999.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)


References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[3] Mwakapalila, Furaha and Henerico, Evodius, Determinants of Land Values during Compulsory Land Acquisition in Dar es Salaam: The Case of Kinyerezi and Kipawa Wards of Ilala Municipality, International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), Volume 8 Issue 6, 06/2019

[4] Dawah Lulu Magembe-Mushi, Impoverishment Risks in DIDR in Dar es Salaam City: The Case of Airport Expansion Project, Current Urban Studies, 2018

[5] Nyandaro Mtekei, Tekehiko Murayama and Shigeo Nishikizawa, Social impacts induced by a development project in Tanzania: a case of airport expansion, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, Volume 25, 2017 – Issue 4

[6] Dawah Lulu Magembe-Mushi, Displacement by the Displacees: Perceptions From Farm Owners in Resettlement for Airport Expansion Project. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Journal of Land Administration in Eastern Africa (JLAEA) Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2015

[1] Chinese investment in Tanzania bears bitter fruit, Beibei Yin, The Guardian 02/03/2012

[2] Evicted by Chinese investment, Beibei Yin, Africa-China Reporting Project, 20/10/2012

[7] BAM wins major design and build contract for Terminal 3 at Nyerere International Airport Dar es Salaam, BAM, 19/04/2013

[8] Construction of Terminal Three at Julius Nyerere Airport to be completed as scheduled, Construction Review Online, 06/01/2015

[9] Terminal 3 arrival on schedule, Dar Post, 06/03/2015

[10] Tanzanian president orders probe into airport project cost, Reuters, 09/02/2017

[11] Terminal plugs new life into Tanzania, African Aerospace Online News Service, 09/09/2019

Meta information

Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded network, email: [email protected]
Last update24/02/2021
Conflict ID:5408



Demolished area of Kipawa

A demolished section of the Kipawa district, razed to the ground for airport expansion project, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 02/03/2012

China International Fund sign

Sign reading ‘Terminal III Building, Investor: China International Fund, Limited’ at Julius Nyerere International Airport. Photo: Tang Xiaoyang, China in Africa, 10/2011

Airport + Kipawa area map

Map showing Kipawa and the resettlement area. Development-driven displacement and relocation in Dar Es Salaam, UN HABITAT / Baraba Novat

No clean water for evictees

People evicted from Kipawa for Julius Nyerere International Airport expansion were relocated to an area lacking clean water, Africa-China Reporting Project, 20/10/2012

Terminal 3, Julius Nyerere International Airport

BAM International

Building a community hall

Kipawa evictees building a community hall after being relocated for the airport expansion project, Africa-China Reporting Project, 20/10/2012

Terminal 3 apron, Julius Nyerere International Airport

Three settlements were demolished to make way for a 3rd terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport. Resettlement areas lacked a clean water supply and people were at increased risk of homelessness, joblessness, food insecurity and loss of livelihood