Failing to Compete

Failing to Compete

Technology Development and Technology Systems in Africa

Sanjaya Lall and Carlo Pietrobelli

This unique study draws on extensive fieldwork assessing technology systems in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe in the context of their export competitiveness. Its emphasis is on the role of technology systems in building industrial competitiveness and in this it finds deficiencies in the systems in all these countries, though there are also significant differences between them. Comparisons are made with more successful economies, particularly those of East Asia, and policy implications are drawn for the strengthening of technology support systems. Central to the book is its combination of academic analysis with a strong policy focus – policy implications are drawn for each case-study country.

Chapter 4: Tanzania

Sanjaya Lall and Carlo Pietrobelli

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation

Extract

INTRODUCTION At independence, Tanzania inherited a small and simple industrial base. The base expanded over time, but its progress was halting and slow, and was reversed in the early 1980s as output and capacity utilization fell. The decline was stopped in the late 1990s. Earlier strategies of inward-looking import substitution were dropped and manufacturing was exposed to fairly rapid trade and domestic liberalization. However, the industrial sector remains rudimentary, dominated by simple activities. Competitive responses to market forces have been weak, with little sign of sustained technological or export dynamism. The economy remains heavily dependent on agriculture and other natural resources, without the structural transformation that long-term development requires. One of the critical challenges facing Tanzanian policymakers, having opened the economy to global market forces, is to catalyse technological upgrading in industry and start this transformation. The government has shown a growing awareness of the need for such technological upgrading. As the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (MSTHE) (1996, pp. 3-5) says, The vital role of science and technology in socio-economic development is acknowledged the world over, by all nations, both developed and developing. It is therefore imperative for developing countries like Tanzania to embrace science and technology as a vital tool for accelerating their social economic development. It is becoming increasingly clear that developments in science and technology are not only important determinants of a country’s level of development but also enhance its international competitiveness and its position in the world economy . . . A realistic Science and Technology...

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