Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania, is a country in Eastern Africa that is home to natural wonders like Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria. Although the country is rich in natural resources, poverty in Tanzania persists.
10 Important Facts about Poverty in Tanzania
- In Tanzania, 67.9 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
- Extreme poverty in Tanzania has declined in recent years, from 11.7 percent in 2006 to 9.7 percent in 2012.
- Poverty leads to hunger. Roughly 42 percent of children under five in Tanzania suffer from chronic malnutrition and 16 percent are underweight.
- Malnutrition affects children’s physical development. The rate of stunting in Tanzania ranks third in sub-Saharan Africa, after Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Many of the most commonly eaten foods in Tanzania, such as potatoes and cassava, are inexpensive but lack essential nutrients. Some schools in Tanzania now hold nutrition classes for students in hopes of reducing malnutrition.
- On average, women in Tanzania will have five children. Slowing fast population growth and the high fertility rate by empowering women through education support and family planning services is key to reducing poverty in Tanzania.
- Poverty is highest in rural areas, with around 80 percent of the country’s poor living in those regions.
- Poverty is also highest among female-headed households, particularly those that depend on livestock or food-crop production for their livelihood.
- Young girls and women in Tanzania often suffer from more nutritional deficiencies than men. One-third of women are deficient in iron, iodine, and vitamin A and two-fifths are anemic.
- Cash transfer programs, which have been successful in other parts of the world, have proven in recent years to be effective in Tanzania. While families do not receive large sums of money, it is enough to free them from constant subsistence farming and allows them to focus on generating additional, more stable, sources of income.
While improvements have been made in reducing poverty in Tanzania, much of the population still suffers from malnutrition and poor living conditions. Continuing to strengthen the economy through initiatives such as cash transfer and family planning programs could help further reduce poverty in Tanzania.
– Alexi Worley