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close this bookAid and Entrepreneurship in Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam University Press, 1993, 165 p.)
View the documentMobilization of entrepreneurial capacity
View the documentState and modernization
View the documentThe colonial state
View the documentThe Nyerere regime
View the documentEffects of aid in Tanzania

Effects of aid in Tanzania

Walter Oyugi (1986) asks how colonial and western interests in Africa have affected the structuring of national governments. He has noted the following traits: Colonial governments were organized on the model of the colonial power. Perhaps because the colonial governments had extractive purposes in the host country, and were not engaged in implementing a coordinated development strategy, the different government organs (ministries, offices etc.) were often poorly coordinated. This problem of lack of horizontal coordination in African state bureaucracies is a recurring problem1. The colonial regimes, through their control of resources, political organizations and public schools and colleges, had a strong socialization effect on national elites, teaching them the superiority of the colonial power's culture and organizations in the modernization process.

After independence the colonial power often reappeared in the 'former colony as donor (cf. Arnold 1982). The donor agency would attempt to exploit positions established during the colonial period. "Through these agencies, donor countries have been able to penetrate and influence the administration of development programmes, especially the formulation of development policies." Because these agencies controlled crucial resources, money, technology and personnel that the new regimes lacked, and the recipient governments hardly controlled anything of interest for the donors, the power of donor agencies in the recipient government has been large.

Oyugi argues that the technical assistance programmes have mostly been unsuccessful, both in the sense that they have not been able to stimulate sustainable industrial production, nor had positive spill-over effects into peasant agriculture. "...that technical assistance has benefitted the recipients' own development can be dismissed as a myth" (citing Oyugi, Milanzi 1990). The aid programmes have often included specialized personnel from the donor countries that the recipients have felt obliged to accept, but whose functions were either detrimental to goal attainment or could have been taken care of by national personnel.

George Gant (1982) argues that the donor sustains his direct influence over recipient governments through three mechanisms:

(1) The requirement of matching funds as a condition for support, to be put up by the host country as evidence of its interest and its intention to support the project fully in the long run.

(2) By giving aid for short periods (a few years) rather than to assure it for a long time, making continuous applications from recipients and approvals by donors necessary.

(3) By giving aid for specifically defined projects rather than for broad programme purposes.

Forss (1985) suggests a marked difference in the way UNDP and SIDA have organized their relations to the Tanzanian government. His study is restricted to planning and evaluation functions. His finding is that UNDP has a formalistic bureaucratic approach while SIDA works more informally and flexibly in relation to government authorities.

In summary, one may characterize the UNDP planning style as blueprint oriented, rational-comprehensive and normative, whereas SIDA's planning style is process oriented, disjointed-incrementalist and normative as well, though somewhat more so than UNDP. (Forss 1985:317).

Forss points to substantial negotiations between UNDP and government on defining the main areas and types of support.

There is also a substantial element of negotiation behind the selection of development objectives, a negotiation involving the ministerial level, parastatal authorities, the UNDP office and consultants/project advisors (Forss 1985:202).

However, the UNDP office and Tanzanian authorities seldom get engaged in the specification of the objectives. That was left to the project personnel and/or project consultants. "The Tanzanian authorities never appeared to initiate this process". Both relied on "the entrepreneurial concept", that each project could organize itself.

SIDA's aid organization in the recipient country is, according to Forss, highly controlled by SIDA. SIDA does not leave project planning to consultants. SIDA uses interdisciplinary teams in project planning "which contributes to a broad view of development problems. The dangers of narrow technical-commercial specialization are avoided...". SIDA uses informal channels and engages professionals with long experience from and knowledge of the type of work the projects are focussed on. This has lead to accusations of favouritism, but Forss is of the opinion that this informalism highly increases efficiency and recipient participation in project planning and implementation (Forss 1985:322). SIDA's planning model compared to UNDP's is seen as highly integrated with recipient authorities and efficient.

The planning process was found to be intensive in terms of communication between the different divisions in SIDA, the field office, the project personnel and the government authorities. It was a consensus building process, but the plan itself did not matter much - it was implementation that counted (Forss 1985:353).

The Country Study (Havnevik et. al. 1989) is a comprehensive overview of the development of the economic, political and administrative system in Tanzania, with a focus on the economic crisis of the 1980's and a detailed description and critique of the Norwegian aid exercise. The first part of the Country Study is critical of the central political/administrative system and puts focus on breaches of human rights:

Even though the situation with regard to human rights in Tanzania is favourable compared to the general African perspective, some of them, like the right and duty to work, the right to fair trial, and the right to liberty of life, are often violated (Havnevik: 109).

The government is criticized for monopolizing power. In analyzing the role of the central administration the study suggests that the "main source of power" of the administration is its "monopoly of knowledge with regard to the technicalities of the planning process" (Havnevik: 102). This statement suggests that the local levels of government have little power. On the other hand the study idealizes the local and district level of administration, suggesting that national government power should not extend beyond the provinces. "Ideally, the power of the Central Government ought to end at the regional level in the administrative hierarchy" (Havnevik: 103). "But, if Tanzania is to build up a strong democratic base, and if it is to strengthen its economy along the principles of self-reliance, then local government seems to be the only available viable institution" (Havnevik: 105). Havnevik may want to indicate that the local level of government should be strengthened and that democratization has more possibilities locally than regionally and nationally. However, the idea that central government power should end at the provincial level and local power take over from there indicates an unfamiliarity with the state as institution. The Tanzanian state would not be a state without control of the whole national territory. An alternative organization is not a horizontal division between central and local levels of the national state, as the Country Study seems to suggest. Local autonomy is a question of autonomy within the national state, an autonomy allotted to local authorities by the national authority. The alternative is the creation of new states within the old state's territory2. 21 The question of regional/ethnic autonomy and the possibility of a federal type of state in Tanzania is discussed in Gran (1988). The article compares processes of state formation in Norway and Tanzania. The present study suggests that the lack of entrepreneurial mobilization within NORAD aided projects is partly explained by the lack of functioning parliaments both nationally and locally. By stacking parliaments with representatives from one movement, from one political party, the incentive for local mobilization and local political organizing is blocked.

In the second part of the Country Study there is a critical review of the main NORAD projects in Tanzania. The conclusions drawn are:

- The choice of technology has generally created an unnecessary dependency on imports;

- The private consultants, that have been used extensively have not had knowledge of or interest for popular development demands;

- Much of the project planning has been undertaken without participation of the recipients;

- Project implementation has increasingly been taken over by NORAD and consultancy firms. That has resulted in fewer, not more connections and relations to Tanzanian groups and institutions; and

- Project personnel have to a large degree focussed on technical success of the projects, and to a very limited degree on schooling, training and Tanzanian sustainability of the positive project elements (Havnevik 1988:305-311).

The Country Study is positive to the district development project RUDEP, which has the goal of "strengthening the institutional, administrative and planning capacity in the region" (Havnevik: 271)3. RUDEP did not start with comprehensive plans and blue-prints, but took small steps together with local personnel and gradually developed a programme and a project organization. On the other hand the Study argues normatively for more overall planning of projects:

Nevertheless many Norwegian-assisted projects and programmes have faced fundamental problems, due to the lack of specificity and/or clarification of the complexities of their objectives... Elaboration of the problems of project objectives is needed in order to design a strategy for attaining the aid and national policy objective (Havnevik: 303-304).

The. Study thus argues that projects fail because they lack coherent and overall planning with clear definitions of goals. This point seems to contradict some of the positive aspects of the RUDEP project which chose an incremental approach, defining goals and means for reaching them along the way. The cited formulation on the need for clear objectives and well defined strategies assumes the possibility of a macro-rationality in aid exercises. The statement expresses a form of planning optimism that even in modern industrialized societies has proven difficult to uphold in practice. Such planning may not even be desireable because it can block a necessary learning- and adjustment process.

The Country Study suggests reforms in both government and NORAD projects: - more efficient industry with less import support;

- increased productivity in agriculture, more infrastructure, technical support and agro-industry;
- environmental protection;
- more welfare state;
- better pay in public sector.

The Study suggests continued and increased foreign aid. It singles out agriculture, women, environment and local government as priority areas for assistance. The Study concludes:

The challenge for the donor is thus to live up to the objectives of orientation towards recipients (districts), differentiated target group orientation (women and the poor), and environmental and institutional sustainability, by means of flexible (optional), institutional development, involving cross-sectoral, software, demand focus. (Havnevik 1988:342).

This conclusion is built on the idea that NORAD aid is basically on the right track. It mirrors a command type, social democratic theory of development: The state, especially through its district/region organs is the prime mover or organizer of development. Aid should be channeled through the state. Focus should be on the poor, not on the entrepreneurial elites in town and countryside.

This is the idea of the welfare state transposed to the development arena, the idea that the state should redistribute resources to the poor. That idea developed in (some) western nations well after modernization had taken hold. The present study puts focus on the role of the state and especially how aid affects the formation of an autonomous, professional and politically responsive public administration in the recipient country.

Let me now turn to the organizational concepts found relevant for the analysis of NORAD and government agencies as organizations engaged in the project of creating economies with the capacity of moving beyond, transcending, the static poverty of subsistence agriculture in Tanzania, in the periphery of the global capitalist economy.