Tanzania Modern History

After the Arusha Declaration, Tanzania has become one of the countries that are most aided by the international donor community. Tanzania received the largest amount of foreign funds and it was the field where any new development theory or program was implemented in 1970s.

When the economy of Tanzania witnessed some sort of a downfall in the 1970s and the 1980s, the World Bank, the International Monterey Fund, and many other donors called for economical reforms in Tanzania and a structural adjustment of the economics of the country.

These agencies and bodies pointed out that the civil services and productive sector of Tanzania has to be exposed to the open market. However, the president of Tanzania at the time, Nyerere, refused this solution to the economical problem he was facing.

However, this didn't seem like the right decision for Nyerere as the economical conditions of the country continued getting worse and worse. This caused Nyerere to resign in 1985. Even the number of tourists who travel to Tanzania has clearly decreased at the time.

In 1986, the Tanzanian Government agreed to the conditions of the International Monterey Fund and the experiment of African socialism in Tanzania was over at this stage. The increase of foreign investments in the country even caused the number of tourists spending their vacations in Tanzania to increase.

As any other country in Africa at the time, the structural reforms were rather shocking with the civil services being gutted.

The number teachers, healthcare givers, and many workers became much less. The same goes for the money that was invested in education and development.
Many governmental institutions and structures such as banks, enterprises, bakeries, factories, farms, and even some vital public services institutions like the Tanzanian Railway were put on sale.

The people living in Tanzania have started neglected the local products for the cheaper goods that were imported from Europe and Asia. The donors have started having more and more influence because each donor had his conditions for presenting funds to Tanzania.

Fewer numbers of tourists spending their holidays in Tanzania meant the decrease in the foreign currency in the county and this had a negative effect on the economical conditions.

With the beginning of the 21st century, the number of foreigners spending their travel packages in Tanzania has raised and this gave the Tanzanian economy a strong push towards the future.

However, the influence of the structural reforms that took place in Tanzania became a hot subject for many debates. Many have asserted that the weak economy of the country was due to external reasons; the remaining influence of the colonization of the country, the rise of the prices of oil in the seventies, and the unjust economical global system.

Many scholars have noted that same approach that the International Monterey Fund uses with all the nations, not putting into consideration any differences between various nations and their particular conditions, has destroyed the national economy of Tanzania and the social public services as well.

Other people who are with the structural reforms claim that the conditions in Tanzania without these reforms would have become even much worse. They also place the blame on the local implementation of the structural reforms in Tanzania.

The economical withdraw was getting worse in the beginning of the 80s with the earning of the export of the Tanzanian goods were only paying off for one third of the imports of the country, while in 1967, the revenues from the exports of the local products used to pay for all the imports of the country including oil, machinery, and some consumer goods.

The Tanzanian Government was actually forced to start borrowing money to pay for the gap between the imports and the exports and starting from the end of the 1970s, the Tanzanian Government started to accumulate a lot of foreign debts.

With the number of travelers spending custom tours in Tanzania getting lower and lower at the end of the 20th century, the debts of the country increased even more at that period.

Some of these loans were actually taken by the government to implement development projects and generate income and most of these programs turned out to be big failures leaving the country to pay for the debts.

In the 1990s, the Tanzanian Government was spending four times as much as it was spending on healthcare. This is only an example to show how the conditions in the country at the time. These conditions only improved with the starting of the new millennium. Even with the increase of group tours to Tanzania, there was always a lack in foreign currency in the country.

Even the biggest achievement of Nyerere which is education has also witnessed some decline. The percentage of Tanzanian children enrolled in schools went down to 58% in the year 2000 before it reached 93% in 1980s.

Among the reforms that were introduced to Tanzania by was the Western style democracy multiparty democracy after having a one party political system that was invented by Nyerere for quite a long period of time.

In the last elections that took place in the country, the new president, Mrisho Kikwwete, took 80% of the overall number of votes and the opposing parties took 43 seats out of the 413 seats in the Tanzanian National Assembly.

Tanzania on the international level

Throughout a long period of time, from the 1960s till the 1980s, president Nyerere was the voice of Tanzania in all global organizations and forums like The United Nations and the Commonwealth.

Nyerere has always supported the state of the Third World to have independent decision and has always demanded the world economical system to become fairer to developing countries.

Nyerere had a great contribution to the independence of the Western African nations from the European domination and the rule of the minorities of whites.
He has supported many countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to gain their libration. Nowadays, even tourists who travel to Tanzania would pay a country like Mozambique a visit as well.

Nyerere on the other hand never refused the aid of the Chinese government in constructing the railway rout between Dar El Salam, the capital, to Zambia. However, Tanzania has always remained nonaligned in the Cold War between the East and the West.

The people of Tanzania have always enjoyed a great sense of unity but sometimes the neighboring countries presented some threats like what happened in 1978 when the ruler of Uganda at the time, Idi Amin, ordered his men to invade lands in Tanzania and they even burned a number of villages where many Ugandans rebels used to settle.

The response of the Tanzanian Government was rather powerful as a force consisting of 20,000 soldiers who joined the rebels of Uganda and restore the power and rule of Miltone Obote, the former president of Uganda.

The decline of the international and regional role of Tanzania in the past few years had causes. The Government had to focus on its internal issues paying its foreign debts and strengthen its economical reforms. The number of travelers spending tours in Tanzania has increased greatly in the last decade.

However, Tanzania has always opened its doors for civilians escaping any violence at their homelands. In the past few years, Tanzania has welcomed many refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and from Burundi as well.  Nowadays, with the great numbers of travelers spending affordable tours in Tanzania, tourism has become a vital section in the economy of the country.