Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Ujamaa: Planning and Managing Development Schemes in Africa, Tanzania as a Case Study

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Ujamaa: Planning and Managing Development Schemes in Africa, Tanzania as a Case Study

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since 1962, Julius Nyerere, leader of TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) (1) started to articulate a philosophy of national development perceived to be more appropriate for newlyindependent African states. Rural development, in that philosophy, was the back-bone of economic development to Tanzania. Ujamaa, his version of 'African Socialism' (2), focused on national self-reliance by means of government leadership, technical support for rural cooperatives and self-managing rural communities, with focus on agricultural production and education. Equity and productivity were central to the Ujamaa philosophy. Many aspects of appropriate technology and participatory development, widely studied in the world today, can be traced back to early writings on Ujamaa. In October 2009, the UN General Assembly named Nyerere 'a world hero of social justice.'

However, whether Ujamaa succeeded in reality in Tanzania, or has been adopted and modified by other developing countries, is arguable. Although relatively ample research had been done on Ujamaa, from many aspects, most of that research was during the implementation years of Ujamaa (early or late). As Ujamaa moved to steps of implementation, it drew the attention of many researchers and development agencies worldwide. The implementation period that merited due attention covered two Five-year plan periods, the first from 1968 to 1973 and the second from 1973 to 1978 (Boeson et al. 1977). Foreign as well as local researchers took early interest in Ujamaa and attempted to study the scheme as it evolved. (3) Some of the foreign researchers were prompted to visit Tanzania, choose villages and districts for case studies and observe their story with Ujamaa as it unfolded through the following years. Freyhold (1979) and her study team traced the introduction of Ujamaa in different contexts (several villages from the district of Tanga). The study aimed to analyze the response of peasants and government staff to the new rural program. Boeson et al. (1977) presented a similar study to Freyhold's, in many aspects, with the West Lake Region as their case study. The latter however took a larger look at the institutional impacts of Ujamaa in the villages by looking at three indicators: (1) the capability of becoming socially and economically viable, (2) signs of a transformation process towards cooperative organization of production, and (3) establishment of democratic procedures. (4) Raikes (1975) and De Vries (1978) presented a political-economic analysis of the progress of Ujamaa implementation during its peak years. Kjekshus (1977) demonstrated, though historical analysis and arguments of rural planning, the centrality of the Ujamaa policy, and its villagization component, to the Tanzanian development strategy. Croll (1979) assessed the experience of women in rural regions under selected socialist regimes, which are the USSR, China, Cuba and Tanzania. Croll's study is of high value for its comparative look at schemes of similar characters as mentioned before in the paper, besides the improvement of women status that has been set early by Nyerere himself as one of the two most indicators of the progression of Tanzania from the traditional African social system to one of a modern socialist country. Biersteker (1980) assessed Tanzania's entire approach to self-reliance (and not just the Ujamaa scheme) by giving definitions to self-reliance and arguing of how it could be translated into policies of development.

Biersteker then assessed Tanzania's performance against measures of self-reliance policies, concluding that, while much work was yet to be done, indicators of increased self-reliance can be demonstrated by data and profiles of exports/imports, trading relations with developed and developing countries, and domestic economy and market performance. (5) Hyden (1980) took the experience of Ujamaa as a benchmark case study for understanding African development questions from an African point of view and not a Western point of view. …

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