The issue of indigenisation – favouring greater African participation in Tanzania’s economy (Bulletin No 44) – has not gone away. Advocates of indigenisation claim that, although Asians number only 200,000 they control 30% of commercial businesses and indigenous Africans control only 3%. The state still has over 60%.

Demands for indigenisation are all the fault of the IMF according to former Minister Abdu1rahman Mohammed Babu, quoted in the Business Times during a visit to Tanzania for a meeting of his International Institute for Human Rights. Babu castigated political leaders who subscribed to parochial ideas and models like indigenisation saying they were out to wreck the nation. Specifying Christopher Mtiki1a’s ‘gabacholi’ political model, which suggests that Asians are the exploiters and black Tanzanians the exploited, Babu said that the model was aimed at sidetracking the real issue facing Tanzania “which is Imperialism”. He said that Tanzania belonged to all people who lived in it.

Not at all, hinted ‘annoyed citizen’ in the Business Times (February 12): it was Mwalimu Nyerere who was responsible. ‘He brought about the Arusha Declaration and the Leadership Code which resulted in the business field being left entirely in the hands of Indians’.

USAID representatives in Tanzania have indicated their concern at the recent turn of events. They said that ownership of an enterprise did not matter as long as the investor paid his taxes in Tanzania, employed Tanzanians and earned foreign exchange for Tanzania. They warned that the competition for capital in today’s world was very keen. Investors could invest in Tanzania or some place else.

As if to emphasise the problem, the Canadian International Development Agency announced on March 4th that Tanzania was among eight African countries which had been dropped form the list of recipients of Canadian aid because of financial problems in Canada. A week later Sweden announced that it too was cutting its aid by 10% because of its unprecedented economic crisis and because ‘it was time for developing countries to stand on their own feet’.

But Norway has indicated that it intends to maintain its level of development financing to Tanzania largely for economic development. By contrast, the European Commission has announced a change of direction in its aid to concentrate more emphasis in future on the social rather than the economic sector. There would be no cut in the amount.

Mwalimu Nyerere himself has consistently dismissed the indigenisation campaign as a camouflage by a small elite of African capitalists to cheat the Tanzanian masses by purchasing formerly state owned parastatals, which the people helped to build up, at rock bottom prices. He said that if Tanzanians begin to discriminate against non-indigenous Tanzanians what would there be to prevent further discrimination between for example, the Gogo and Chagga Editor.

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