Tanzania Embraces Free Enterprise; Mkapa Weans Nation off Its Socialist Roots

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Tanzania Embraces Free Enterprise; Mkapa Weans Nation off Its Socialist Roots


Byline: Carter Dougherty, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - From the lowliest street peddlers to the largest state-owned companies, the winds of free enterprise are blowing through Tanzania, as the country slowly erases the legacy of what was once Africa's biggest experiment in socialism.

But the country's new orientation is also testing President Benjamin Mkapa's ability to deliver tangible improvements to his people.

For near 30 years after the union of Tanganyika and the Sultanate of Zanzibar created the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964, the country pursued the collectivist vision of its founding father, Julius Nyerere. Known as "ujamaa" - a Swahili word describing close familial relations - the system emphasized public education, self-reliance and communal ownership of property.

Tanzanians credit "ujamaa" with having welded the country's 130-some tribes into a coherent, Swahili-speaking nation of 36 million people, free of the ethnic divisions and violence that plagued neighboring countries like Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. The people speak reverently of Mr. Nyerere, who died in 1999, simply as "Mwalimu" - teacher.

But most Tanzanians also concede that his economic policies failed utterly, driving living standards steadily downward through the 1970s and 1980s. In retrospect, even older citizens concede that Mr. Nyerere helped smother the individual initiative their country now needs to boost its per-capita annual income from what the World Bank estimated to be an appalling $280 in 2002.

"We grew up expecting a lot from the state," said Cranmer Rutihinda, an economist in Dar es Salaam. "The entrepreneurial spirit was dead."

These days, a growing band of pro-globalization free-marketers, most notably Mr. Mkapa, spend their days trying to resuscitate entrepreneurship while preserving the positive spirit of "ujamaa" that has kept Tanzania whole.

Mr. Rutihinda oversees the research division of the Tanzania Investment Center, an institution whose existence would have been unthinkable a decade ago. The organization, which answers directly to Mr. Mkapa, aggressively courts foreign investors with promises of limited regulation and a level playing field.

It has been instrumental, for example, in helping the mining industry recover, where international companies are now exploiting rich deposits of gold, diamonds and tanzanite, a light-bluish stone unique to this East African region.

As Tanzania's leading evangelist of free enterprise, Mr. Mkapa shows a fervor seldom seen in Africa. He was once a protege of Mr. Nyerere, and the elder statesman made him president by ensuring his nomination as the candidate of the ruling party - the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) - in 1995. Though opposition parties exist, the CCM is the de facto power center of Tanzania, dominating both the executive branch and the parliament.

While Mr. Nyerere was still alive, the president established the groundwork for reform with some early privatizations and reforms of restrictive land-ownership laws. In the last few years, other, more dramatic changes followed.

Now, with less than two years to go before the constitution requires him to step aside, Mr. Mkapa is exhorting his compatriots to pick up the pace, hoping to leave a solid legacy of reform.

"Frankly, I am sick and tired of always hearing Tanzania being referred to as 'one of the most poor countries,' " Mr. Mkapa said in his Feb. 12 state of the union address to parliament. "It is possible to shed this obnoxious epithet, but not at our present speed."

So far, Mr. Mkapa's main achievement has been to make peace with the International Monetary Fund, and by extension, with the Western donors whose aid still makes up roughly half of Tanzania's national budget, through solid macroeconomic policies.

Inflation, which stood at 27.4 percent in 1995, sank to 4.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tanzania Embraces Free Enterprise; Mkapa Weans Nation off Its Socialist Roots
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.