Here - University of Dar es salaam

Africa has witnessed significant economic growth in recent years, recording a growth of 5.8% in 2014 as
compared to the global 3%, with manyof its countries recording an 8% annual GDP growth. This
economic growth is, to a large extent, attributed to the adoption of liberal and free market economic
opportunities and interventions plus the intensification of private sector control of the means of economic
This economic success, however, has not necessarily translated into tangible improvement of the living
conditions of the majority of the continent’s citizenry. Poverty rates in Sub Sahara Africa are still high,
standing at 46.8% for people living under 1.25$ a day (2011). Infant mortality rate is 61 deaths per
100,000 live births (WHO-2014). 800 women die of child-birth every day worldwide, 99% of them are in
developing countries and 50% of these are in Sub Saharan Africa (WHO- 2014).Despite rising enrolment
rates as a result of the global Education for All campaign, drop-out rates are still unacceptably high
particularly for girls and children in poor communities. 42% of Sub Saharan school children drop out
before the end of primary school.
The capitalist character of free market, cut throat competition, maximization of profit, exploitation for
profit,individual drive for quick wealth have ushered in a rise in human rights violations and social
injustices against those unable to protect themselves against the economically powerful. For many
grassroots communities in Africa, the social cost of capitalism far outweighs the widely publicized
economic benefits.Economic exploitation, unemployment, lack of access to basic needs and services and
poverty in general have intensified.
Privatization of the major means of production, particularly mining and agriculture and the provision of
social services, especially education, health and culture, is one area where the negative effect of the forces
of capitalism has been most stark, particularly for grassroots and marginalized communities.
Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented rush by foreign investors to invest in Africa’s extractive
industry, attracted by the rich deposits of a large variety of minerals including gold, tanzanite, diamonds,
zinc, copper, uranium, oil, and natural gas. Multinational companies and hordes of small-scale miners
from all over the world have invaded mineral sites in all corners of the continent. A similar trend is seen
in the agricultural sector where foreign dominated private large - scale farming is expanding rapidly.Land
has been commoditized leading to an escalation in land grabbing and rampant sale of huge tracts of
community land and evictions of many peasant communities.There is an increase in struggles over land
tenure, conflict and civil strife between peasant farmers, livestock keepers and big private companies.
The privatization of education provision has led to the emergence of elite private schools which, though
of high quality, areexpensive and beyond the reach of the majority poor, especially the rural population.
Meanwhile the dwindling of resources to public education systemshave led to a serious deterioration of
the quality of education offeredby public schools attended by the majority poor.The privatization of
health services have made health care inaccessible to the majority poor, with most of the private health
care centers located in urban areas where profit is high.
The cultural milieu and national ethos have changed to incorporate capitalist- oriented values and
attitudes. Individualism triggered by market competitionand the pursuit of quick wealth and class
divisions fuelled by a huge wealth gap are evident. Corruption is fast eroding the value of pride in hard
work and self - reliance and stifling responsibility and accountability. Those sidelined by the economic
gains are resorting more and more to alcohol and drug abuse and violent crime, religious fundamentalism
or tribalism. Gender equality achieved through fierce gender struggles of the past four decades is sliding
back with increased commoditization of women by commercials and the entertainment industry.
At the political level, Africa has seen noticeable improvements in the rise in democratic practice.
Multiparty political systems have replaced the once dominant single party systems. However, democracy
is seriously challenged by rampant political malpractices including the commoditization of electoral
processes. In their desperation to survive competition within the multi-party environment, politicians are
privatizing electoral processes by buying off voters and engaging in corruption to win elections. Huge
amounts of funds are spent in political campaigns, leading to sidelining of the poor from vying for
political posts. In addition, the poor are increasingly enticed with cash to sell their votes to corrupt
candidates. Such practices have, in many cases, resulted into a leadership incapable of steering countries
to sustainable development and improving the welfare of the people, particularly the poor and
In terms of gender relations, the huge advances in gender equality achieved through fierce gender
struggles are sliding back. Women are increasingly treated as mere commodities to be exploited for profit.
Commercials and the entertainment industries are portraying women as little more than sex objects.
Gender based violence is on the increase at the household and public level, with profit driven practices
like trafficking of girls, particularly from poor families, gaining international proportions.
Large scale forestry products industries have led to rampant destruction of forests and negative
environmental effects such as climate change that are now causing havoc to agricultural production by
peasant communities due to unreliable rainfalls.
The Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair in Pan African Studies wishes to draw the attention of African
scholars, policy makers and development stakeholders to the fate of Africa’s marginalized communities in
the face of the social injustices arising out of the processes of privatization.
The sixth Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival, to be held on 13th -15th April 2015, at the University Of
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, will be devoted to interrogatingprivatization and social justice with a focus on
analyzing the effects of privatization on the welfare of communities, particularly the poor and
The theme of the seventh Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival to be held on 13th-15th April is:
Privatization and Social Justice for Marginalized Communities
Various sub themes will focus on interrogating privatization and social justice in relation to different
areas critical to people’s welfareas listed below:
1. Privatization and Social Justice in Economic welfare (Mining, Agriculture, Forestry)
2. Privatization and Social Justice in Social Service Provision (Education, Health)
3. Privatization and Social Justice in Relation to Societal Values (Culture, Gender)
4. Privatization and Social Justice in Relation to Civil Rights (Democracy, Governance, Law)
5. Grassroots Communities Experiences on Privatization and Social Justice
6. The Private Sector Reflections on Privatization and Social justice
7. Privatization and Social Justice in relation toTanzania General Elections 2015
Those interested in making presentations at the Intellectual festival on any of the sub-themes are invited
to submit their concept papers by 15th February 2015. The concept paper should be not more than 300
words. Concept papers should be submitted electronically to any of the following email addresses
[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
Penina Mlama (Prof)
Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair in Pan African Studies
+255 754461703