Justinian Rweyemamu Biography – Life, Career, Writings and More

Justinian Rweyemamu Biography – Life, Career, Writings and More

Tanzania’s first prominent economics expert, Justinian Rweyemamu (born September 28, 1942 and died on March 30, 1982), was Tanzania’s first prominent economist. He was a pan-Africanist, international civil servant , and political strategist, and was widely regarded as the most brilliant representation of post-independence African thinkers. The 1st Tanzanian to get a doctorate from Harvard University.

Justinian Rweyemamu Early Years and Education

Albert Hirschman
Albert Hirschman

Rweyemamu was born in Katoma, a tiny community on the borders of Bukoba town in Tanzania’s Kagera Region, on September 28, 1942. He enrolled in a Catholic secondary school, St. Thomas More College Ihungo, in Bukoba, in 1958 and graduated with honors in 1961. On the eve of his country’s independence from the British, he travelled to the United States on a grant to pursue undergraduate studies. He enrolled in Fordham University, where he majored in Economics, Applied Mathematics, and Philosophy and graduated with a BSc degree (1965). He was a member of the university’s Economics and Philosophy clubs while at Fordham.

Under a Rockefeller Foundation grant, Justinian Rweyemamu moved on to Harvard University for his graduate and doctorate studies in Economics (Ph.D 1971), studying under economists Thomas Weisskopf and Albert Hirschman. He was a Harvard classmate of Mahmood Mamdani, a political scientist, and James Ault, a documentary filmmaker, with whom he created the Harvard “Africa Group.” His Ph.D dissertation, “An Industrial Strategy for Tanzania,” was a fundamental work in the field of development economics, and a revised version was eventually published by Newspaper as Underdevelopment and Industrial growth in Tanzania: A Research on Perverse Capitalist Industrial Development (1973).

Justinian Rweyemamu Career

Justinian Rweyemamu returned to his own nation after finishing his graduate studies and became a faculty member at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Department of Economics, subsequently becoming the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He subsequently chose a job in the government to become a more active participant in society rather than a privileged observer in academics. In the administration, he served as the Permanent Secretary of the Planning Ministry (1975) and later as the President of the Republic Julius Nyerere’s Personal Assistant (Economic Affairs). He rose to worldwide prominence in a matter of years as a result of his thought-provoking economic analyses and suggestions on the impoverished countries’ economic problems. As a result, he was named Council Chairman for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), a member of the Third World Forum’s Committee, and a founder of the International Foundation for Development Alternatives (IFDA).

He left Tanzania in 1977 for a high-profile UN position, first in Switzerland and subsequently in New York, USA. He served on the Brandt Commission, the United Nations Committee for Development Planning, and the United Nations Director General for Development and International Cooperation  up to his death from cancer on March 30, 1982.

Justinian Rweyemamu is known as the “Father of Tanzanian Economics,” and he is most known for the extraordinary concentration of his pupils at the highest levels of government and academia. The fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, and the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Benno Ndulu, are among them. Tanzanian academician and politician Ibrahim Lipumba; Tanzanian economist Delphin Rwegasira

The Justinian F. Rweyemamu Prize was founded in 1982 by his friends and colleagues to honor J F Rweyemamu’s intellectual spirit and to encourage young Africans to follow in his footsteps by putting their talents to the service of their people. It was founded by four of Justinian Rweyemamu’s connected organizations: the Third World Forum, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, CODESRIA and IFDS, and . Calestous Juma, a distinguished Kenyan scientist residing at Harvard University, is one of the award winners.

Justinian Rweyemamu Selected works

Tanzania’s Underdevelopment and Industrialization: A Study in Perverse Capitalism (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1973)

Towards Socialist Planning

Economics Education in Africa

Africa’s Industrialization and Income Distribution

Pugwash on Self-sufficiency

A Survival Plan for the North-South (The Brandt report)

A New Order Dialogue

Third World Options: Authority, security and hope for the next development (Tanzania Publishing House, 1992).

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