Thirty-two participants from academic institutions* and government ministries in Tanzania gained knowledge about structural transformation and industrial policy at a Vi workshop held in Dar es Salaam February 23-25, with financial support from the One UN Fund for Tanzania.
"The workshop came just at the right time as currently the government of Tanzania is considering revitalization of the privatization policy", said France Shayo, Vi coordinator at the Open University of Tanzania which hosted the event. "(My motivation was to) gain thorough understanding of the relevance of structural transformation and industrial policy in Tanzania, especially now that the government emphasizes industrial revival," added another participant.
Delivered by Piergiuseppe Fortunato, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, the workshop introduced the participants to the links between structural transformation, industrial policy and economic development, and the role of industrial policy and strategic trade integration in fostering structural transformation.Given the importance of primary commodities in Tanzania's exports, it also addressed the specific case of economic transformation in resource-abundant economies.
Additionally, a guest lecture on structural transformation in Tanzania was offered by Neema Towo, of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Several group work sessions allowed the participants to apply their new knowledge to assignments related to their country. In particular, they worked together to identify constraints to Tanzanian economic growth and propose sectors into which the country could diversify and the economic policies to be prioritized in this regard.
"We had an opportunity to discuss various measures that could be taken to accelerate economic growth through industrialization," said one of the participants, while another noted: "The new knowledge I got was to determine which sectors and clusters of products have a development potential and what policies a country should implement in order to develop its economy. This is very important because it helps to reduce poverty in some countries."
All the participants unanimously agreed that the workshop has helped them acquire precious knowledge for their future work. They also put forward a number of ideas as to the future use of the workshop knowledge.
"I would like to do a research on how to compare the agricultural sector and the industrial sector in terms of employment and economic growth," proposed one of the participants. A colleague of his plans to conduct a study on economic transformation and natural resources linkages.
According to another participant: "Attending this workshop will help be to professionally participate in the current government's industrialization efforts by contributing the industrial policy formulation and implementation."
"This workshop was a rare but great opportunity that brought together researchers, policymakers, academics and government officials from Tanzania to reflect on policies that could support the current Tanzanian administration’s political willingness to industrialize the economy", concluded Shayo.
*The Open University of Tanzania, University of Dar es Salaam, East African Research Capacity Development Foundation, Institute of Finance Management, National Institute of Transport, Ardhi University, Centre for Foreign Relations