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       Chapter IX: Economic Aspects of Capital City Development

Regional Economic Characteristics


Current Conditions in Dodoma Region

Dodoma Region is a geographic unit of local government administration, surrounding the town of Dodoma; it includes the Districts of Dodoma, Mpwapwa and Kondoa. The Region covers an area of some 40,000 square kilometres and has an estimated population of about 900,000.

As stated earlier, the impact of the new Capital at Dodoma will extend beyond the boundaries of the administrative Region. In this chapter references to the region will generally refer to this somewhat larger impact region.

The great majority of the region's population is engaged in agriculture, mostly at a subsistence level. Industry, which represents only a very small proportion of the regional economy, is largely concentrated in the town of Dodoma.

The region's agricultural production problems are largely the result of periodic droughts. However, potentials for improvement do exist, in terms of more intensive use of the lands near rivers and other water bodies, greater investment in irrigation projects and the development of crops which are most suited to the prevailing conditions. The creation of a larger and accessible market for local products, e.g. the Capital City, should stimulate increased efforts and investment.

Soil erosion is one of the region's major problems and is largely due to the lack of effective controls with respect to cattle grazing. Programmes to limit the size of herds and the location of grazing areas should not only have the result of reducing erosion, but should also be able to increase the economic productiveness of the cattle, which is currently quite low.

The combination of drought, erosion and the lack of industry mean that Dodoma Region urgently requires positive action. Because of its relatively low level of economic development, the region is also seriously disadvantaged in a social sense. This, in turn, has doubtlessly been a major factor in preventing economic betterment. It must be emphasized that the region's economic characteristics cannot be evaluated in isolation from social factors. People's lifestyles, their state of health and the quality and quantity of social and community services and facilities which are available to them, are all major elements which help to determine their ability to participate in and contribute to economic growth. TANU's and the Government's thorough understanding of these matters are clearly established in the Arusha Declaration and in the principle of Ujamaa. It should in this context be pointed out that the Ujamaa Village programme was started in Dodoma Region and that over 90% of its formerly scattered population are now living in Ujamaa villages.

The Government's recognition of these facts was one of the major reasons behind the decision to transfer the National Capital from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.

Regional Development Requirements

The construction of the new Capital could, however, create a serious regional problem, since it will almost certainly result in a tendency for increased migration to Dodoma. Not only is it likely that the people now living in the more distant parts of the region will want to move closer to Dodoma, but this flow could well be augmented by people from beyond the regional boundaries. Experience in Tanzania, as well as in most other countries, suggests that the new city will become a powerful magnet for rural people. Unless a sufficient number of jobs exists, the regional economy will deteriorate. Moreover, such new-comers to the Dodoma area may in turn generate more cattle, which must feed on already seriously over-grazed land, leading to the further loss of potentially arable areas. In short, the Capital could exacerbate an already serious situation, if effective counter-measures are not taken.

It is, therefore, essential that more and better economic opportunities be created in the rural parts of the region, to balance those of the Capital. They must have the effect of controlling people's desire to migrate to the city; the rural economy and its services and facilities must become so attractive that the people will wish to stay in the villages and on the farms.

With respect to the Capital's impact on the regional economy, the transfer of direct earnings of urban wage employment, from the city to the villages, will be one of the most important factors. To ensure that this will actually occur, the rural and urban development programmes must have the following results:

The region's people are its most important resource and the optimum development of this resource must be given the highest priority. A significant proportion of the population is seriously under-employed. They need better markets and facilities to achieve accelerated rural and agricultural development. At the same time, programmes to train people in the required skills are as yet inadequate.

A thorough investigation of the entire population and the current and future labour and employment situation in the region and the growing Capital should, therefore, be initiated. This should include:

In addition, a considerable number of regional economic development opportunities and requirements have been detailed in other parts of this report. It should again be emphasized that these must be regarded as preliminary, rather than specific and comprehensive recommendations. The highest priority should be given to the preparation of a regional development plan and implementation programme, which should be closely integrated with those of the Capital City.

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Copyright: Project Planning Associates Limited, Toronto, Canada, directed by Mr. Macklin Hancock and recipient "The Government of Tanzania, Capital Development Authority under the auspices of Mr. George Kahama.".