Thursday, November 23, 2017

YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS : Focus on ‘selective’ industrialisation first

 

By Karl Lyimo

If ‘industrialisation’ is the development of industry on an extensive scale, then ‘selective industrialisation’ implies intentionally choosing some things and not others – with the ‘most suitable,’ ‘most qualified,’ etc., being among the criteria used in making the selection…

‘Industry’ is, of course, the economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials, and the production of goods in established manufactories.

Economic growth

Industrialisation can transform an economy like Tanzania’s from being primarily agricultural to one based on manufacturing. Individual manual labour is often replaced by mechanized mass production – and individual craftsmen replaced by assembly lines.

Industrialization can lead to – and result in – economic growth, more efficient division of labor, and the use of technological innovation to solve problems.

If these characteristics are tangible, meaningful and sustainable on the ground, then the industrialization has been effective, successful.

Industrialization in Tanzania isn’t that new– having somewhat ‘ballooned’ following proclamation on February 5, 1967 of the ‘Arusha Declaration (and Tanu Policy) on Socialism and Self-reliance’ by the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Presidency.

That Declaration sparked wholesale nationalization, as well as establishing new industries. This was in a singular effort to put the so-called ‘Commanding Heights of the Economy’ under State control.

Then the balloon sort of burst a few years after Mwalimu relinquished the Presidency in 1985. This flung the doors wide open to wanton privatization that ‘flourished’ in earnest under the Benjamin Mkapa Presidency (1995-2005).

But, the industrialisation didn’t quite ‘flourish’ in like manner then. Post-Nyerereindustrialisation faltered for the next generation or so. The few industries that were hobbling along post-privatization more often than not benefited the foreign investor-conglomerates rather than hapless Tanzanians and their ‘wishy-washy, spiritless’ economy.

Then Dr John PombeMagufuli came on the scene as President of the fifth-phase Tanzania government, sworn into office on November 5, 2015.

Magufuli just as soon proclaimed ‘industrialisation’ as among his regime’s priorities.

But, industrialisation is no child’s play. It’s not a scenario that can be cobbled together overnight.

That’s why Tanzania should perforce take the ‘Selective Industrialisation’ route to success as proposed by the UN’s Industrial Development Organisation nearly a decade ago.

Conceptual breakthrough

Describing it as a ‘conceptual breakthrough’ to uplift the world’s poorest, selective industrialization offers the best chance for smaller, developing countries to achieve sustainable economic progress over a relatively shorter time.[See ‘UN Agency proposes selective industrialisation to help world’s poorest.’VoA News, Feb.23, 2009].

According to Unido’s 2009 Industrial Development Report, ‘choosing the right products to make for the global market is key – if low-income and slow-growing countries are to break free from the poverty trap.’

The operative words here are: ‘CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS TO MAKE FOR THE GLOBAL MARKET.’ That’s ‘selective industrialization’ in a nutshell for you!

There’ll, of course, be hurdles to surmount, including those by the World Trade Organization – which looks askance at the so-called ‘Third World’ when ‘regulating’ world trade – and the ‘developed countries’ that are usually unwilling/unready to liberalise their trade regimes to allow/enable developing countries to become future competitors at the world’s markets. Tears!

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‘industrialisation’ is the development of industry on an extensive scale, then ‘selective industrialisation’ implies intentionally choosing some things and not others – with the ‘most suitable,’ ‘most qualified,’ etc., being among the criteria used in making the selection…

‘Industry’ is, of course, the economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials, and the production of goods in established manufactories. Industrialisation can transform an economy like Tanzania’s from being primarily agricultural to one based on manufacturing. Individual manual labour is often replaced by mechanised mass production – and individual craftsmen replaced by assembly lines.

Industrialisation can lead to – and result in – economic growth, more efficient division of labor, and the use of technological innovation to solve problems. If these characteristics are tangible, meaningful and sustainable on the ground, then the industrialisation has been effective, successful.

As an outgrowth of capitalism – ‘capitalism’ being an econo-political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state – industrialisation isn’t a new phenomenon, as the (European) Industrial Revolution that started in the late 18th Century Christian Era attests. By parity of reasoning, industrialisation in Tanzania isn’t that new – having somewhat ‘ballooned’ following proclamation on February 5, 1967 of the ‘Arusha Declaration (and Tanu Policy) on Socialism and Self-reliance’ by the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Presidency. (1962-85).

That Declaration sparked wholesale nationalisation, as well as establishing new industries left, right and centre. This was in a singular effort to put the so-called ‘Commanding Heights of the Economy’ under State control.

Then the balloon sort of burst a few years after Mwalimu relinquished the Presidency in 1985. This flung the doors wide open to wanton privatization that ‘flourished’ in earnest under the Benjamin Mkapa Presidency (1995-2005).

But, the industrialization didn’t quite ‘flourish’ in like manner then. In all fairness, it must be admitted that post-Nyerere industrialisation faltered for the next generation or so. The few industries that were hobbling along post-privatisation more often than not benefited the foreign investor-conglomerates rather than hapless Tanzanians and their ‘wishy-washy, spiritless’ economy. Then Dr John Pombe Magufuli came on the scene as President of the fifth-phase government of the United Republic, sworn into the highest office in the land on November 5, 2015.

Magufuli just as soon proclaimed ‘industrialisation’ as among his regime’s priorities.

But, industrialisation is no child’s play. It’s not a scenario that can be cobbled together overnight. That’s why Tanzania should perforce take the ‘Selective Industrialisation’ route to success as proposed by the UN’s Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) nearly a decade ago.

Describing it as a ‘conceptual breakthrough’ to uplift the world’s poorest, selective industrialization offers the best chance for smaller, developing countries to achieve sustainable economic progress over a relatively shorter time. [See ‘UN Agency proposes selective industrialisation to help world’s poorest.’ VoA News, Feb.23, 2009].

According to Unido’s 2009 Industrial Development Report, ‘choosing the right products to make for the global market is key – if low-income and slow-growing countries are to break free from the poverty trap.’

The operative words here are: ‘CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS TO MAKE FOR THE GLOBAL MARKET.’ That’s ‘selective industrialisation’ in a nutshell for you!

There’ll, of course, be hurdles to surmount, including those by the World Trade Organization – which looks askance at the so-called ‘Third World’ when ‘regulating’ world trade – and the ‘developed countries’ that are usually unwilling/unready to liberalize their trade regimes to allow/enable developing countries to become future competitors at the world’s markets. Tears! [israellyimo@gmail.com].

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