Industrial location in Tanzania: a study of the spatial dimension and decision making.

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study in industrial location in Tanzania is based upon the various development plans designated to spread industrial activity and urban centres in the Tanzanian spatial landscape. Generally, the study observes and analyses the process of industrial dispersion since independence in 1961. More specifically it focuses on the three major plans since 1969 and the relevant policies and their spatial implications. On the one hand, the objective of the research is to understand and explain how the various patterns of economic activity related to industry have evolved and developed, and on the other, to understand the manner in which location decisions concerning manufacturing establishments are made in Tanzania. An analysis of the impact of urban and industrial dispersal policies is also attempted. A number of developing countries have sought to transform their economies from agrarian to industrial. Tanzania is no exception to this. In the process, Tanzania has also attempted to transform the space economy it inherited from the colonial era. Although in 1961 the industrial sector was very small, it was limited to a few urban centres and mainly port locations (except for agro-processing industries). Soon after independence, it was realised that if the distribution of industrial activity and urban centres was to follow along this lopsided distribution, existing spatial disparities would be further enhanced. Given the country’s socialist and egalitarian policies, this was an undesirable phenomena. Hence the industrial and urban dispersal policies in the Second and Third Five Year Plans. Inspite of the relatively show pace of industrialization and the numerous bottlenecks facing this sector, there has occurred a limited transformation of the space economy in Tanzania over the last twenty five years. This also applies to the spread of the vital economic infrastructure. As a result of this, only a small number of new industrial centres have emerged in the Tanzanian space economy. This change is not limited to the spatial dimension alone. Changes have also taken place in the structural characteristics of the industrial sector with an increasing share of intermediate and capital goods manufactures. The decision making process of the individual unit is also investigated. On the whole, blanket policies concerning dispersal of industrial activity have been instituted but without due consideration to the special locational requirements of the individual firm. Thus these policies cannot be wholly effective as they pay little attention to the different sizes, forms of ownership and production processes of firms. The conclusions drawn from this study are that over the past two and a half decades there have emerged additional islands of development in the Tanzanian spatial landscape. The degree of industrial concentration in the Primate City of Dar Es Salaam has been decreased slightly. In the major secondary industrial urban centres, there has been a significant increase in industrial concentration. In the remaining areas there is very limited industrial growth. Also of importance is the special relationship between economic infrastructure and industrial location. The poor co-ordination between the relevant planning agencies has been, in part, responsible for the inefficiencies in industrial production and expansion. Of equal importance is the consideration that must be given to the requirements of different types of firms, under different forms of ownership, size and production methods. This special consideration must also engulf the decision making process related to locations, and in turn this would enable planners to create a conducive atmosphere for industrial dispersion. A balance must be struck between spatial equity on the one hand and economic efficiency on the other.
Tanzania, Economic policy, 1970-1980, Industries, Location of
Jambiya, G. L. K. (1986) Industrial location in Tanzania: a study of the spatial dimension and decision making, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (