Annual Forum Papers

Small Business Entrepreneurship in Dar es salaam - Tanzania: Exploring Problems and Prospects for Future Development

  • Year: 2004
  • Author(s): Rashid M. Mfaume and Wilhelm Leonard
  • Countries and Regions: Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa)

Small Business Entrepreneurship haves been seen as a hub in generating income for the majority of urban dwellers with no formal paid employment. In Tanzania, entry into small business entrepreneurship is usually not seen as a problem. One can start small business at any time and in any place. However, the development of this informal sector has been profoundly characterized by two parallel phenomena which are perhaps contradictory in character. One is the increasing politicization effort encouraging people to engage in Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (SME). This has led to the proliferation and mushrooming of small business most of which are in the form of petty trading, at least everywhere in the urban centres. The second is the parallel increase in events suggesting prevalence of crime and bureaucratic hurdles which affect SME and counter reaction from the small traders. While the second can be characterized as due to the increasing repressive action by city authority over vendors, the counter reaction behaviour of itinerant and small traders toward city authority is also evident in most urban areas. Generally, the sector is characterized by constant tension and feuds between small traders and urban authorities. Drawing on research findings, the present paper challenges the possibility of reducing poverty in Tanzania using the strategy of developing the small business entrepreneurship under the situation where there is an increasing level of petty crime and bureaucratic hurdles. It is argued and indeed, concluded that if the present intricate and controversial situation surrounding SME and small business is not reversed, if not brought to rest, the development of SME is on slippery slope. The option suggested to tame the conundrum includes, developing discourse portfolio between small traders and bureaucratic authority and authorities formulating policies that can promote development of small business entrepreneurship.