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Tanzania in the 1970s was at the forefront of policy innovation. Near-universal primary education, access to health services and supplies of clean water subsequently became mainstream ambitions in Africa and elsewhere. But its policies towards agricultural and industrial production failed and left the country in a particularly weak position when it faced the demands of structural adjustment in the 1980s.
This book, originally published in 1982, has been reissued with a new introduction which brings its themes up to the present, when income from gold mining and natural gas is making Tanzania one of the most dynamic economies in Africa today. The author, first an economic civil servant in Tanzania, later an academic at the University of Dar es Salaam, was in a unique position to write it, drawing on his own experiences as well as the plethora of ideas and debates in Dar es Salaam in the 1970s. The book has stood the test of time not only because of the range of material it covers but more profoundly because of the approach it takes to the work of Tanzania's founding president, Julius Nyerere - sympathetic to his ideas, deeply critical of failures in implementation.
25 short easily-read chapters take the story of Tanzania from pre-colonial times to the present, and show how Nyerere was hemmed in by what he inherited from the German and British colonialists who ran the country up to Independence in 1961. It provides an invaluable introduction to anyone coming to the country for the first time, and offers a profound assessment of the theoretical debates that have made Tanzania of such interest to students of development.