The letter on Nyerere’s Economic Policies (January-April, 2000) argues that they failed not because they were wrong but because they were poorly implemented.

Nationalization and putting the economy into the hands of parastatals failed, the letter says, because of “lack of attention,” “management inefficiencies,” an unfortunate need for imported inputs to production, “a severe lack of trained personnel,” and an excess of trnst in self-serving foreign sellers of technology and know-how.

The ujamaa villages were a good strategy for rural development, according to the letter, but failed because of “lack of attention” (again), elitist politicians who lacked respect for the rural people, and the failure of the central government to raise the prices for rural produce in line with inflation.

Anyone who has lived through the last decade should have learned that centrally planned and centrally run economies have failed everywhere. Perhaps it is because there can never be enough trained managers or because management inefficiencies creep into all governmental operations or because politicians are always elitist and disrespect the people being governed. Or perhaps there are other reasons.

I was present on the field in Dar es Salaam, heard Nyerere deliver the Arusha Declaration and had a certain amount of enthusiasm for the policies and great hope for the country. However, the lesson of this century has been that the economic policies that Nyerere chose have failed wherever they have been tried. They did not fail in Tanzania because of special circumstances or bad luck or bad timing. It would have been very hard to know it in the 1960s and 1970s, but they were just policies that don’t work.
Paul Sack, San Francisco

Can any readers of Tanzanian Affairs please tell me whether the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania is still functioning? I have been a member for the last ten years sending subscriptions and donations to their London bank account but have received no copies of their twice-yearly newsletter ‘Miombo’ since April 1998 and letters to the Society at P 0 Box 70919, Dar es Salaam have produced no reply. If you have any information please ring me on 01434 3445810r write to Primrose House, Bardon Mill, Hexham, Northumberland NE477HF.
M. H. Dorey

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