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Being taken for a ride: Privatisation of the Dar es Salaam transport system 1983-1998

Cambridge University Press
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  • Department Of Economics
  • Economics
  • Political Science


Being taken for a ride: privatisation of the Dar es Salaam transport system 1983–1998 J. of Modern African Studies, 40, 1 (2002), pp. 133–157. # 2001 Cambridge University Press DOI: 10.1017}S0022278X01003846 Printed in the United Kingdom Being taken for a ride: privatisation of the Dar es Salaam transport system 1983–1998 Matteo Rizzo* abstract This paper analyses the effects of privatisation and deregulation of the Dar es Salaam transport system. It starts with an account of the decline of the government-owned transport company and the first opening of the market to private buses in 1983. The analysis then moves to the progressive de- regulation of the sector and its impact on transport supply. Competition be- tween private operators in the oversupplied market manifests itself in non- compliance with safety rules, and inefficiencies in the fare structures. Labour relations with the private sector are then examined to illustrate the logic of the market. The results of a questionnaire answered by 668 workers suggest that the reaction of casual workers to exploitative conditions of employment characterises many aspects of the operation of the transport system. The im- pact of deregulation is therefore most clearly to be seen in the nature of labour relations within the sector, and it is argued that there is a need for state regulation to monitor and enforce conditions of employment within the private sector if service provision is to be improved. introduction Since the international financial institutions first identified privatisation as a condition for assistance to developing countries, in the early 1980s, the economic role of the state in central planning and regulation has been in steady decline throughout sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). So pervasive are the goals generally associated with privatisation that it has been labelled an omnia ad omnes (all things to all men) policy (Adam et al. 1992 : 3). The principal benefits that privatisation is intended to b

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