Administration and Economic Planning in Eastern Africa: A Ford Foundation Program Evaluation                          April 1977                                                                P. 1 of 8 


For the past fifteen years, the Foundation has supplied administrative and economic advisors to governments in eastern Africa. Through most of the period this was the largest of the Foundation’s programs in the region. Now, for a number of reasons, the focus is shifting. There is less reliance on expatriate advisors and less intimate association with governments. The last resident advisor has been withdrawn from Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia, though a group of Foundation staff in Botswana continue an advisory program modeled closely on the East African experience.   


Bathers at Khartoum, at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles, the Sudan 1955

When winding up a major program such as this, the Foundation customarily reviews its efforts, recognizing an obligation to account for and evaluate the use of tax-free funds abroad. The review process has management objectives as well; it is a method of sharing experience among staff in various parts of the world; of identifying flaws in operational methods, and sometimes of spotting loose ends that should be dealt with before moving on. Broadly, the backward look is a way of learning about the development process from the experience.   

In this case, the exercise has added interest because the two principal countries involved, Tanzania and Kenya, have chosen radically different social and development strategies. Indeed, the contrast between them has attracted much scholarly attention, a fact that makes possible a somewhat broader review than one based largely on program documents. 

The anticipated emergence of Namibia and Zimbabwe in southern Africa also lend a potential significance to the review process. The Foundation may be called upon to decide how much of its eastern African experience it is prepared to help replicate in these states. 

A. 1. Program dimensions

          The specific program actions that this review is meant to cover are the following Delegated Authority Projects (DAPs): 

#639-0290 - Project specialists and consultants on economic planning in eastern Africa

          Allocation (1963 - 1976)  $ 3,606,000 

#649-0420 - Project specialists and consultants on public administration in eastern Africa

          Allocation (1964 - 1976)  $ 2,450,000 

#709-013 9 - Project specialists and consultants to the East African Community

          Allocation (1970 - 1976)  $ 671,000 

These projects supported approximately 172 man-years of resident advisory staff, whose local logistical support costs were borne by the East African office budget. These costs amount to an additional $1,500,000, approximately. 

This, however, is not the full picture. Some DAPs, totaling $2,362,000, supported related activities, such as the first three years of the public administration program in Tanzania and final expenditures of the three main projects, which were combined into a Public Management DAP in 1974 for administrative reasons. Parallel advisory efforts in Botswana were first funded under DAP 649-0420, but then spun off into a separate but related DAP. 

In addition, grants totaling over a million dollars were made in support of planning and administration program objectives; e.g. for building a Civil Service Training Center in Dar es Salaam, for holding the Kericho Conference in Kenya, etc. These are not evaluated here, but they contributed directly to the programs under review. It can be seen that the total cost of the Foundation’s work in these fields since 1961 in eastern Africa was more than ten million dollars. 

          For this review, it is useful to note the breakdown of direct advisory costs in economic planning and public administration between Tanzania and Kenya:

                             Tanzania               Kenya

Economic Planning     $ 1,173,000          $ 1,924,000 

Public Administration    1,530, 000           995, 000  

Totals  $ 2,703.000    $ 2,919,000 

(Advisors stationed in Arusha to assist the East African Community organizations are excluded from the totals.) 

A. 2. Methodology and Limitations

          Having sketched the broad purposes of a terminal review, and described the dimensions of the programs to be considered, one must hasten to describe the way the review had been carried out and the limitations inherent to the process. 

The bases for the review are experience, the files, published material, and a limited number of interviews with participants, government officials and knowledgeable observers. My experience consists of having served as assistant representative of the Foundation in East Africa from 1963-67; focusing on Tanzania in writing two papers while at Harvard the following year; and revisiting Nairobi and Dar es Salaam for two weeks at the end of 1976. The files contain periodic program justification documents (requests for supplements), formal program review documents, and an incomplete set of terminal reports written by departing project specialists. The published material on eastern Africa is enormous; that which I have been able to consult is listed in the bibliography. A list of interviewees appears in Appendix B. 

A draft of this paper was circulated to a few individuals who participated in or were familiar with the program in operation. Helpful comments have been received from David Anderson, R. Cranford Pratt, Bevan Waide, Brian Van Arkadie, Jon Moris, Edgar Edwards, Guy Hunter, Edward Rubin, Peter Bottelier, John Robin, Edgar Winans, and Frank Sutton. Needless to say, they cannot be held responsible for the inaccuracies or biases that remain in the document. 

          The limitations of the exercise will be seen to be considerable. Most regrettable is the comparative lack of attention to Zambia. I was unable to visit Lusaka or to see the principal architects of our program there, David Anderson and Alan Simmance, so this part of the program, a successful and important part, will be relatively neglected. 

          Similarly, the work in the East African Community is inadequately treated. This is less damaging, perhaps, because of the declining climate for East African cooperation and the limited relevance of the project for other regions. Still, John Scott’s work as director of economic research and planning for the Community was of unusual quality and influence and deserves more adequate treatment. 

A. 3. Previous reviews

          This is far from the first review to be made of these programs. In addition to the annual program report by the representative, and the frequent restatement of results and objectives involved in requesting supplemental funds, staff consultants made periodic reviews throughout the fifteen-year period. The first of these was Operation Janus, an intensive analysis of program objectives and activities conducted by each field office of the Foundation in 1966. In 1970, a rather elaborate African Program Review was conducted for the Board of Trustees, with contributions from program staff in New York and the field offices. Also in 1970, the economic planning program in Kenya was reviewed by Ben Lewis and Edgar Edwards, and in Tanzania by Lewis and Gerald Helleiner. J. Donald Kingsley and John Thurston, whose consulting report gave shape to the original public administration program in Tanzania in 1961, returned ten years later for a subsequent assessment. In 1973, a staff conference in Dar es Salaam examined the planning and administration programs with a view to changing directions towards a public management program. 

These efforts give evidence that, although advisory assistance was popular with the governments of the region and generally regarded by Foundation staff as being of good quality, there was no tendency to complacency, no routine continuation of the projects simply because they were functioning satisfactorily. Indeed, the strongest criticism of the Foundation’s restless process of program review came from Alan Simmance, who felt that in recent years intense Foundation self-scrutiny has led to a distraction of energies from the work at hand and the premature abandonment of work for which it was uniquely fitted. This is a topic to which we will need to return later. 


B. 1. Foundation strategy

          The Foundation turned seriously to Africa in the late 1950s, only after some years of development work on the Indian Subcontinent and in the Middle East. Prior experience naturally had an important influence on the fields in which its work in Africa initially concentrated. Broadly speaking, governmental modernization and the building of educational institutions were high priority for governments and the Foundation. 

The large investment made by the Foundation in India in the 1950s in community development programs was less well thought of, with the result that projects in rural development and agriculture, as well as community development, were not featured in the Africa programs for some years. This did not reflect a lack of interest in rural development on the part of the Foundation (indeed Forrest F. Hill, then vice president in charge of overseas development programs, was an agricultural economist); but a new strategy was thought to be needed which would offer greater chances for success than building community development projects or agricultural faculties in universities. During this period the Foundation joined the Rockefeller Foundation in building IRRI, setting a pattern of investment in technology development that has generally been adhered to since. 

A fourth program category that in recent years has been a prominent feature of the Foundation’s work is population, but in Africa at the time of independence that was a subject far from the minds of its leaders. Development work in Africa, therefore, focused initially on education and government modernization, of which only the latter program is the subject of this review. 

In retrospect, the Foundation’s strategy in working with governments in East Africa has a clarity and coherence that masks some of the groping uncertainty felt at the time. The first and obvious task was to assist the newly independent African governments to assume effective control, i.e., to indigenize their civil services without unduly damaging their effectiveness. The second task was to help these governments realize their egalitarian objectives by shifting more attention to developmental activities; and the third was to devise methods to improve the functioning of governmental services, particularly those of a developmental character. 

These three strands correspond roughly, but not exactly, with the public administration DAP (649-0005), the development planning DAP (639-290), and the public management DAP (749-0828), which superseded the other two. 

The Foundation’s strategy coincided with, and to a large extent was in response to, the priorities of the governments themselves. African leaders wanted first to take genuine control of the state institutions, which meant rapid Africanization of key positions; then to gain control of their economies, and to increase and spread the benefits of political and economic independence to their people through development programs. 

There was thus general agreement on long-range goals between the govern­ments and the Foundation, but there was an important difference in time perspective. Governments are responsible for the course of day-to-day events, and hence often have rather short-range time horizons. The Foundation, lacking such responsibility, has the leisure, and in some cases its staff have the experience, to take a somewhat longer view. In practice, this often meant that Foundation staff were generating activities in advance of the emergence of genuine demand for them from the governments. In some cases Foundation staff anticipated future demand correctly, and in some cases wrongly, but the difference in time perspective explains why, despite the coincidence of overall objectives, the Foundation’s activities were not always limited to responding to governmental requests. 

B. 2. Public Administration in Tanzania 

          In 1958, J. Donald Kingsley served as a consultant on civil service staff development in Nigeria. Shortly thereafter he became the Foundation’s representative in West Africa and initiated a program strongly oriented to public administration advisory services and training. In 1961, just before Tanganyikan independence, the chief secretary invited Kingsley to consult on the means of nationalizing the public services. Kingsley and John Thurston of IIE produced a report that sent shock waves through the expatriate-dominated civil service of Tanganyika. 

They described the public service at the time as consisting of “African ministers and African messengers with a thick sandwich of Europeans and Asians in between.” (Janus) The expatriates were aware of the meager numbers of Africans possessing the educational basis to master the skills of running the bureaucracy, and naturally assumed their services would be needed for many years to come.  (Tanganyika had less than 100 university graduates and less than 1,000 secondary school leavers at independence.) But the Party members (TANU) and labor union leaders who had done much to advance the date of independence demanded the replacement of the expatriates whom they saw as symbolizing the colonial past. 

Kingsley and Thurston recommended a program of orderly but rapid transition, which would involve supply and demand analyses of skill requirements, identification of key expatriates for retention, restructuring of departments to accommodate available skills, and concerted efforts to focus training programs to meet needs of the highest priority. To help design and implement this program, a staff development advisor, David Anderson, and three job analysts arrived in Dar es Salaam in 1961. 

 Anderson came to Tanzania from Ghana, where he had been a senior officer of the colonial service, selected to remain as Establishment Secretary in the indepen­dent Nkrumah government. His first step in Tanzania was to suggest the appointment of an Africanization Commission headed by a Minister, for the purpose of undertaking a detailed study of the staffing position and the training needs of each Ministry. This took the political heat out of the Africanization issue and allowed Government to identify those expatriates it needed to retain beyond their contract expiration dates, and even to recruit new people on the basis of functional requirements. 

Anderson and his team were able to assist the Government in beginning to build a viable public service, through such steps as centralizing control of the Civil Service in the Office of the President, making horizontal and vertical studies of the operating requirements of ministries, reshaping organizations to take account of the limitations of the local labor market, studying training resources, and shaping training to job requirements. In addition, a Civil Service Training Center was established, largely with Foundation funds and initiative. The CSTC is still turning out over 400 trainees a year in executive and clerical grades, and the Government believes its capacity should be doubled. 

In 1962, shortly after independence, a Foundation consultant, George Tobias, arrived in Tanzania to undertake a survey of high-level manpower require­ments and resources. His report, published in August of that year, attempted to make a rather precise estimate of the post-secondary level skills then employed in Tanzania and the likely need for additions and replacements over the ensuing five years. The most important recommendation of the study, however, was that a human resources secretariat be established as an integral part of the economic planning process. The government immediately accepted this recommendation and asked the Foundation to recruit a manpower advisor to help establish what became the manpower planning section within the Ministry of Development Planning (DevPlan). 

The expert was the late Bob Thomas, a straight-talking ex-U.S. Department of Labor employee. Thomas was not highly trained in statistics, nor did his methodology excite the envy of the theoretical writers on manpower planning from the economics profession, but his work soon attracted President Nyerere’s attention. Thomas and his colleagues formulated and gained Governmental acceptance of a set of basic policies to guide the manpower program. Some of the more important of these policies are the following: 

-        A target date of 1980 for essential self-sufficiency at all skill levels of the economy;

-        Secondary and higher education to be given first priority in the government’s educational investments;

-        Higher education investments to be geared to manpower require­ments;

-        Government bursaries (scholarships) to be allocated on the basis of the manpower requirements of the economy;

-        Foreign bursaries to be directed only to supplying skills for which training was unavailable in East Africa;

-        Students receiving bursaries to be required to work one year for the government for each year of post-Form Four education;

-        Methods to be sought to increase the usefulness of existing skills;

-        Expatriates to be recruited to bridge serious gaps. 

A number of special programs were devised to accelerate the supply of skilled manpower and to ensure that those expatriates who would be welcome beyond the expiration dates of their contracts were given advance notice of this fact. The localization effort focused almost exclusively on government positions for the first four years of the program. Only in 1966 was there a serious attempt to launch a localization program for the private sector; prior to that time the demands of government for available trained people were too great to permit their diversion. 

The manpower program quickly assumed unusual importance in the Tanzanian planning process. President Nyerere took a personal interest in it and often declared that the shortage of trained manpower was the principal constraint on Tanzanian development. In introducing the 1964 Economic Plan to Parliament, the President began with a strong endorsement of the manpower program. He also requested an annual comprehensive report on skilled manpower development in the country. 

          Thomas remained in his post until 1970, when he transferred to Nairobi to become the regional program advisor on manpower in the East Africa office of the Foundation. At the time of his departure he was able to take considerable satisfaction in the program. A Tanzanian successor, Mr. Henry Okulu, had been given three years’ training at Foundation expense in the United States and had worked for a number of years in close association with Thomas. The number of Tanzanians occupying middle and high-level positions had increased from 19% at the time of independence to 70% by 1967. 

The Tanzanian manpower program achieved a considerable international reputation. The International Institute of Educational Planning in Paris selected it for a special case study, and delegations from various countries visited Dar es Salaam to view its workings. It was generally considered to be the most advanced manpower program on the African continent. In 1968, Bob Thomas offered the opinion that the 1980 goal of manpower self-sufficiency would be met. 

There was less satisfaction with the results of the work of the job analysts on improving the utilization of existing skills. Although four competent analysts had been employed from two to four years each and then had submitted comprehensive reports on the Ministries of Agriculture, Communications, Works, Local Government and others, the Ministries concerned seemed reluctant to take remedial action. In one case, an analyst was assigned to a ministry for a full year to assist in the implementation of the report, but at his departure he felt that little had been accomplished because the ministry was basically uninterested in the objectives of the program. 

In the analyst’s opinion, the expatriates within the ministry who controlled the key technical and professional posts were most resistant to change, but he also found fault with the methodology employed in the program. The studies generally originated outside of the ministries concerned and were conducted by people who did not know the ministry staff on a personal basis. The studies tended to be rather formal and somewhat critical of the existing situation, and this naturally produced defensive reactions. He suggested that a manpower services organization should be created to offer a broader range of advisory services to ministries at their request. These services would include personnel management, organization and methods studies, work-measurement studies, manpower planning, and management reporting and control procedures. 

The staff development function remained vital and sensitive even after David Anderson’s transfer to Kenya, where he took on a similar task. He was replaced in Tanzania by Edward Rubin, an American with a business management background, and later by Frank Glynn, who had many prior years of experience in Tanzania. The functions of the task changed somewhat, from the initial emphasis on civil service legislation and procedures to more specific administrative reforms, to meet changes in government requirements. There is no doubt that the occupants of this position significantly affected the development of the new public service in Tanzania, as in other eastern African countries where such posts were created and filled by Foundation-supplied specialists. 

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