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Title: The acquisition of technology, technological capability and technical change : A study of the textile industry in Tanzania.
Author: Mlawa, Hasa Mfaume.
ISNI:       0000 0004 0094 1679
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1983
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This is a case-study of technological development in, and of technology policy for, industry in one developing country - Tanzania. It focusses on the details of technology policy at the level of a particular sector - cotton textiles. It attempts to encompass a range of related policy problems which are usually examined separately: technology transfer, technical efficiency in production, and the development of technological skills and expertise. It examines these issues in the context of the evolution of the sector from its origins in the mid-1960s to 1980, with particular emphasis on the 1970s. The cotton textile sector has been identified as a leading sector in Tanzanian industrial development from the time of the earnest development plans in the post-independence period. However, policy proposals and development plans have consistently failed to give any explicit attention to the technological dimension of the industrys expansion. Nor have they indicated how that dimension may be linked to other stated longer term objectives in the economy (e.g. development of a capital goods-sector etc.). At the same tima broad development strategies (e.g. about self-reliance) were never articulated in a way which encompassed issues about technology. The thesis focusses on two aspects of the development of the sector in the context of this technology policy "vacuum". First, through a series of major investment projects over nearly twenty years, the sector remained totally dependent on imported engineering services, 'capital-embodied' technology and techno-managerial services. There was no evidence of any progressive 'learning' to supply these kinds of technological input for investment. The thesis suggests that considerable costs were incurred as a result of this failure to make any movement at all towards technological 'self-reliance'. Second, over seven years (i.e. 1973-1979) all aspects of technical and economic efficiency in the industry consistently declined. Contrary to common expectations about 'infant' industries there was no 'learning' in on going production - only substantial 'unlearning'. Finally, the thesis suggests that these two costly patterns of technological stagnation and regression were linked, and resulted in large part from the failure to incorporate concerns about 'technology policy' in the process of policy formulation and development planning - in particular from the failure to make significant investment in 'technological capacity' for the sector. It suggests that the returns to such investment would probably have been very high. The thesis outlines implications for policy in this and similar sectors, together with the need for future research and analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour studies