The Political Economy of Tanzania: Decline and Recovery

The Political Economy of Tanzania: Decline and Recovery

The Political Economy of Tanzania: Decline and Recovery

The Political Economy of Tanzania: Decline and Recovery

Synopsis

Since gaining independence, the United Republic of Tanzania has enjoyed relative stability. More recently, the nation transitioned peacefully from "single-party democracy" and socialism to a multiparty political system with a market-based economy. But Tanzania's development strategies--based on the leading economic ideas at the time of independence--also opened the door for unscrupulous dealmaking among political elites and led to economic decline in the 1960s and 1970s that continues to be felt today. Indeed, the shift to a market-oriented economy was motivated in part by the fiscal interests of government profiteers.

The Political Economy of Tanzania focuses on the nation's economic development from 1961 to the present, considering the global and domestic factors that have shaped Tanzania's economic policies over time. Michael F. Lofchie presents a compelling analysis of the successes and failures of a country whose postcolonial history has been deeply influenced by high-ranking members of the political elite who have used their power to advance their own economic interests. The Political Economy of Tanzania offers crucial lessons for scholars and policy makers with a stake in Africa's future.

Excerpt

Tanzania has undergone two transformations in the last thirty years. It has transformed its economy from one of state ownership and control to a market-based system. In addition, it has transformed its political system from a constitutionally entrenched single-party system to an openly competitive multiparty system. It has accomplished these transformations peacefully and without major incidents of ethnic violence or civil disruption. Tanzania is conspicuous for what has not taken place there. In a region of the world that has experienced more than its share of political turbulence, including failed states, military coups, local warlords, ethnic cleansing, regional secessions, civil war, severe famine, and dictatorial rule, Tanzania is special because of its sheer normalcy. It has a stable and functioning political system that works: children attend school; civil servants pursue their careers, receive promotions, and retire; the universities admit, teach, and graduate their students; hospitals and clinics provide medical services; bus systems carry workers to and from their jobs; roads are repaired and upgraded; the country’s public utilities, such as telecommunications, water, electricity, and trash disposal operate, though sometimes intermittently; and government ministries carry out their assigned functions on a day-to-day basis. To supplement the services it has difficulty providing, the government offers a hospitable atmosphere for innumerable nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), whose activities supplement the public sector in such differing policy areas as environmental matters, gender equity, human rights, poverty alleviation, housing, and education and health services.

Tanzania has a strong claim to academic attention for its history of civil peace during the first five decades of independence. The Chama Cha . . .

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