Tanzania: Is the Ugly Duckling Finally Growing Up?

Tanzania: Is the Ugly Duckling Finally Growing Up?

Tanzania: Is the Ugly Duckling Finally Growing Up?

Tanzania: Is the Ugly Duckling Finally Growing Up?

Synopsis

The title of this report is inspired by the great Danish author Hans Christian Andersen who in the children's tale "Den Grimme ¿lling" ("The Ugly Duckling") tells the story of a particularly ugly duckling. She is so ugly, in fact, that she is despised and disliked by all the other ducks and ducklings. After a long and painful period of time, however, she grows up -- but not to become an ugly duck. Instead she becomes a beautiful white swan, admired by all. So Andersen's tale has a happy ending -- at least as far as the ugly duckling goes. The major question tackled in this report is whether a similar fate is awaiting Tanzania. Having been something of an enfant terrible since the deep crisis in the early 1980s, economic progress since 1995 provides some hope that the duckling period in Tanzania is finally over.

Excerpt

The title of this report is inspired by the great Danish author Hans Christian Andersen who in the children's tale “Den Grimme Ælling” (“The Ugly Duckling”) tells the story of a particularly ugly duckling. She is so ugly, in fact, that she is despised and disliked by all the other ducks and ducklings. After a long and painful period of time, however, she grows up—but not into an ugly duck. Instead she becomes a beautiful white swan, admired by all.

So Andersen's tale has a happy ending—at least as far as the ugly duckling goes. The major question tackled in this report is whether a similar fate is awaiting Tanzania. Having been something of an enfant terrible since the deep crisis in the early 1980s, economic progress since 1995 provides some hope that the duckling period is Tanzania is finally over.

Although both of us have been doing research on the Tanzanian economy for the better part of the 1990s, much of the material for the report was collected during a visit to Dar es Salaam in 1999. We would like to record our gratitude to all those who generously shared their time and views in interviews (a list of all interviewees is in the Appendix), and in particular Godwin Mjema at the Economic Research Bureau at the University of Dar es Salaam and Charlotta Norrby, at the time Economist at the Swedish Embassy in Dar es Salaam, for help in arranging interviews.

The study initially came about as part of the “Emerging Africa” research programme launched by OECD's Development Centre in 1997. Comments from participants in that research programme are gratefully acknowledged, particularly those of Jean-Claude Berthélemy (project leader), Aristomene Varoudakis and Ludvig Söderlind. Jean Bonvin, President of the Development Centre (until spring, 1999) guided the project from the start. The project was financed by generous grants from the governments of Switzerland and Belgium.

Göteborg and Lund, March 2001

Arne Bigsten  Anders Danielson . . .

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