by Hugh Wenban-Smith

In the aftermath of the Holborn fire, the LSE library could not be accessed by your correspondent. However, Tanzania items in the African Studies Abstracts were provided by a kindly librarian.

An intensity analysis of land-use and land-cover change in Karatu District, Tanzania: John LR, H Hambati & FA Armah African Geographical Review, Vol 33 (2):

Land-use and Land-cover changes (LULCCs) are the result of complex interactions between the human (cultural, socio-economic and political) and the biophysical environment at different spatial scales. The present study assessed the spatial distribution of LULC (1976-2008) in the high and low altitude zones in the northern highlands of Karatu, using both qualitative (in-depth interviews and group discussions) and quantitative techniques (Intensity Analysis). The qualitative approach was used to elicit information on the coping strategies adopted by land users as transitions occurred with time and Intensity Analysis was used to assess the systematic land losses, gains and persistence of the various categories with time.

Iron Age agriculture, fishing and trade in the Mafia archipelago, Tanzania: New evidence from the Ukunju Cave: Crowther A & nine other authors Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa Vol 49 (1): Small-scale excavations were recently undertaken at the site of the Ukunju Cave in the Mafia archipelago to collect new bio-archaeological and material culture data relating to the site’s occupation and the nature of early subsistence and long-distance trade in the region. Our findings suggest that occupation of the cave began during the Middle Iron Age (seventh to tenth centuries AD), as indicated by the presence of Early Tana Tradition/Triangular Incised Ware pottery in the lowest layers above bedrock, as well as small quantities of imported ceramics and glass beads, also dating from the mid- to late first millennium AD. Small assemblages of faunal and botanical remains, including introduced African crops (pearl millet, sorghum, baobab and possibly cowpea) were found in association with these finds, indicating that these communities practised a mixed economy of fishing, domestic livestock keeping and agriculture. In addition, the presence of cotton suggests they may have also been producing fibres or textiles, most likely for local use, but possibly also for long distance trade.

A deposit of Kilwa-type coins from Songo Mnara, Tanzania: Perkins J, J Fleisher & S Wynne-Jones Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa Vol 49 (1): A deposit of coins was recovered during excavations at Songo Mnara, contain­ing over 300 copper Kilwa-type coins. This is the first deposit or hoard of these coins found in a well-defined archaeological context and it therefore offers a unique glimpse into both the typology of these coins and their contemporary uses. … In particular, the deposit is firmly attributable to the end of the fourteenth or very early fifteenth centuries, allowing for some chronological resolution. Coins of the late eleventh to early twelfth century Sultan Ali ibn al-Hasan show that these types remained in circulation for several hundred years. In addition, the common coin type of Nasir ad-Dunya can now be attributed firmly to the fifteenth and possibly fourteenth centuries by this find.

Can your child read and count? Measuring learning outcomes in East Africa: Jones S, Y Schipper & R Rajani Journal of African Economies Vol 23 (5): The last 15 years have seen major changes to education systems in East Africa. Superficially, there is much to commend. Net primary enrolment rates have risen to over 90% alongside significant improvements in gender equity. Nonetheless, there are growing concerns that better access is not adding up to more learning. This paper introduces unique test score data collected by Twaweza’s Uwezo initiative for over 600,000 children across East Africa, including children enrolled and not enrolled in school. Using these data we show that many children in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda remain functionally illiterate or innumerate, despite having completed multiple years of school.

Industrial transformation or business as usual? Information and com­munications technologies and Africa’s place in the global information economy: Murphy JT, P Carmody & B Surborg Review of African Political Economy Vol 41 (140):

Many view information and communications technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones, computers and the Internet as tools that can significantly strengthen the quality and depth of Africa’s engagement with the world economy. This paper interrogates the impacts of Africa’s burgeoning ICT ‘revolution’ through an examination of their use among small, medium and micro-scale enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa’s and Tanzania’s wood products and tourism sectors. The findings reveal that while new ICTs are being adopted rapidly, they are generally used for communication purposes, not deeper forms of information processing and management. While positive in many ways, this has done little to stop a trend towards the devaluation of the goods and services provided by the SMMEs surveyed here. Moreover, ICTs are enabling new forms of outside intervention and intermediation unto African markets, often further marginalis­ing local firms and industries

We also note here four recent reports by Tanzania’s think tank, REPOA (Policy Research for Development):

Rural non-farm activities and poverty alleviation in Tanzania: A case study of two villages in Chamwino and Bahi Districts of Dodoma region: Katega IB & CS Lifuliro (Research Report 14/7)

Socio-economic factors limiting smallholder groundnut production in Tabora region: Katundu MA & 3 other authors (Research Report 14/1)

The invisibility of wage employment in statistics on the informal economy in Africa: Causes and consequences: Rizzo M & M Wuyts (Working Paper

Integrating traditional and modern knowledge systems in improving pro­ductivity in Upper Kitete village, Tanzania: Nawe J & H Hambati (Research Report 14/3).

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