Information and stories on Tanzania

Branch App The world of financial technology has a lot to offer low- and middle-income countries. Financial technology is essential to accelerate poverty reduction and enhance the growth and development of developing nations. One such innovation in financial technology is a mobile lending app called Branch. The Branch app has tapped into Africa’s emerging markets and the results are inspiring.

The Branch App

Branch offers mobile financial services that are accessible via smartphone. The advantage of this technology is that the app bypasses some of the restrictions that come with traditional institutions. Branch’s goal is to make money lending and credit building opportunities accessible to all people, which the company believes will “open new channels for personal empowerment and financial growth.”

Currently, Branch serves Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and India. Its user demographic targets members of the middle class in areas with emerging markets. Branch recognizes that people in these areas are often underserved and is dedicated to servicing them with customer-first products.

The People Behind the Project

Matt Flannery and Daniel Jung co-founded Branch in 2015. Flannery, the CEO, previously developed and led Kiva, a nonprofit microfinancing company. Flannery then set out to create a “branchless bank” for Africa, resulting in a financial app that would provide accessible services to low- and middle-income customers. Flannery is a Skoll Awardee and Ashoka Fellow, making him a highly acclaimed social entrepreneur. He was also part of Fortune magazine’s “Top 40 under 40” list in 2009.

Recently, in March 2021, Branch added a new member to its team: Dayo Ademola, who will oversee Branch’s Nigeria operations. Ademola has more than 15 years of experience working with consumer-centric companies and banking institutions. She has former experience with global fintech and much of her efforts in the field have been toward improving financial inclusion in Nigeria. Ademola is particularly excited about continuing this mission and working with Branch to help Nigerians simplify their relationship with finances. Fortunately, Branch provides a successful avenue to do that.

Branch’s Success

Since its launch in 2015, Branch has made significant advancements toward improving banking accessibility in Africa. Since its establishment, Branch has facilitated $350 million in loans. This is a significant accomplishment since Branch operates in countries with new markets and limited resources. Fintech investments in Nigeria have grown nearly 200% in the past three years, showing that these emerging markets are increasingly recognized as valuable.

Flannery and others see the African markets for the significant opportunities they present. Fintechs, especially those with a background in social entrepreneurship, have the power to transform African markets and improve social and economic stability in these countries. As it stands, Branch has more than four million customers and has issued more than 21 million loans in the countries it operates in. If the  Branch app continues to spread across Africa and other developing nations, Branch has the potential to vastly improve financial inclusivity and lift millions of people out of poverty by providing financial solutions that cater to those with minimal resources.

Samantha Silveira
Photo: Flickr

The Path to Poverty Reduction in Tanzania
On the East African coast, Tanzania is home to many tourist attractions for visitors from around the world, such as beautiful beaches, trees and nature. However, Tanzania is still an impoverished country in Africa. Thankfully, developments are emerging in relation to poverty reduction in Tanzania.

The Economy in Tanzania

It is not uncommon for the economy of impoverished countries to fluctuate. At times, foreign aid helps boost the economy, and when foreign aid is low, the economic outlook is less than positive. Much of Tanzania’s economic development and exportable resources relate to the agricultural trade. Most Tanzanians live in rural areas that make it simple for them to grow crops. Agriculture accounts for approximately 28% of Tanzania’s gross domestic product or GDP, and 80% of the country’s labor force has employment in the agricultural industry. Estimates have determined that Tanzania is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies with a 6.3% increase in national GDP between 2007 and 2017.

Poverty in Tanzania

Amid the beauty and natural scenery which attracts millions of tourists annually, approximately 49% of Tanzanians live in poverty. In 2018, approximately 17 million people in Tanzania lived in poverty, living below the international poverty line—those who make less than $1.90 a day.

In spite of this, Tanzania has recorded an improvement in economic growth in the past decade. According to The World Bank, Tanzania’s poverty levels decreased by approximately 8% over the course of a decade. Most of this improvement occurred in rural areas, which were initially more poverty-stricken than urban areas.

Education in Tanzania

In Tanzania, pre-primary, primary, secondary ordinary, secondary advanced and university education exist. According to UNICEF, Tanzania has reached almost universal access to primary education. However, about 2 million children between the ages of 7 and 13 are currently not in school, leaving only 3.2% of children enrolled. The quality of education is also an important factor at play. Some children do not always learn all that they may need in a classroom, as a result of the student-to-teacher ratio being approximately 131:1. Having a large number of students per classroom and attempting to equally divide attention between students are not ideal for teachers.

However, UNICEF is making an effort to help reduce the number of children that are out of school in Tanzania. UNICEF’s “For Every Child” initiative is also tackling issues on a policy level, supporting policies that improve the root factors of low enrollment, particularly for girls and children with disabilities. UNICEF is training teachers on how to support vulnerable youth and create alternate learning methods for children who struggle to remain in school. Some of the educational goals the organization aims to have met by 2021 are to improve the delivery of quality education, to improve learning strategies and to help children gain access to education.

Looking Ahead

Despite being a relatively impoverished nation, the country has worked toward poverty reduction in Tanzania throughout the years and is continuing to do so. Maintaining economic growth in the agriculture sector and improving child education are important factors in helping Tanzania build a brighter future for its citizens. Tanzania is on a path to poverty reduction and structural improvement.

– Amina Aden
Photo: Flickr

Renewable energy in TanzaniaIn 2018, 29% of the population in Tanzania had access to electricity. For rural populations, that number was 10% and for poor households, it was 7%. About 66.2% of Tanzania’s population lives in rural areas, according to data from 2018. This means that most of the population that needs electricity lives in off-grid regions. The Tanzanian government and other organizations seek to meet this need through innovative renewable energy solutions.

Renewable Energy in Tanzania

Renewable energy in Tanzania has great potential. Tanzania’s renewable energy resources include hydropower, solar, wind and biomass. A study completed by the Institute for Sustainable Futures from the University of Technology Sydney, the Climate Action Network Tanzania, Bread for the World and the World Future Council found that by 2020, Tanzania’s portion of renewable energy generation was thought to reach 53%. By 2030, that number could increase to 75%. The study also discovered that it is 30% cheaper for Tanzania to use renewable energy than energy from fossil fuels. Thus, the study recommends implementing 100% renewable energy in Tanzania so that the country can substantially decrease poverty levels.

Importance of Renewable Energy Access for Poverty Reduction

Energy access is crucial in the fight to end poverty. Renewable energy is valuable for poverty reduction because it can provide power to more schools. Furthermore, it can increase health services and hygiene and provide clean water in rural areas. In fact, the World Bank cites increased electricity access as one of the reasons poverty rates have decreased in Tanzania.

According to the World Future Council, due to the increase in energy access, people in rural areas have been able to focus on “efforts to improve their socio-economic welfare.” Women, in particular, have benefited greatly from energy access. They can spend more time working on other tasks rather than working in the home and in the field.

Projects and Initiatives

Renewable energy in Tanzania has increased over the past decade because the government and other organizations have been working on renewable energy projects. These initiatives include installing off-grid and grid power systems and advocacy work.

Lighting Rural Tanzania installed solar lanterns and solar home systems to mostly low-income households. The goal of the project was “to enable access to cleaner and safer off-grid lighting and energy for 6.5 million people in Tanzania by [the] end [of] 2019.” Overall, the project helped provide energy access to 1.2 million people as of 2018.

The Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) is a membership organization dedicated to improving renewable energy technologies and increasing access to renewable energy in Tanzania. The organization provides ten distinct services with advocacy and awareness work, community access programs and renewable energy policy initiatives.

Last is the Rural Electrification Expansion Program for Tanzania (TREEP). Beginning in 2013 and ending in 2022, TREEP’s goal is to provide both grid and off-grid energy to 1.3 million rural households and businesses. The project focuses on solar energy, specifically photovoltaic systems. As of 2021, The World Bank has labeled TREEP as “moderately satisfactory.”

Looking Forward

While less than half of Tanzanians have access to electricity, governmental initiatives and dedicated organizations are succeeding in increasing energy access. According to the International Energy Agency, Tanzania hopes to ensure that 70% of the population has access to electricity by 2030, with 50% of that originating from renewable energy resources.

– Sophie Shippe
Photo: Flickr

University of CalgaryThe University of Calgary (UCalgary), one of the premier research universities in Canada, has been establishing meaningful global partnerships which have produced tangible results. While the university has multiple international campuses and partnerships, the successes of a few have particularly stood out. UCalgary’s global health partnerships with the Mbarara University of Science and Technology and other global health organizations are working to improve health in Uganda and Tanzania.

Healthy Child Uganda

UCalgary’s global health partnerships work with the Cumming School of Medicine. This allows medical students to gain experience and provide much-needed help in health outcomes and projects in Uganda and Tanzania.

One of UCalgary’s most important partnerships is Healthy Child Uganda. Healthy Child Uganda is a partnership between Mbarara University, UCalgary and the Canadian Paediatric Society, with some funding from other universities and associations. It “works with national and district health planners, leaders and communities themselves to develop, implement and evaluate initiatives that strengthen health systems and improve health for mothers, babies and children.” It is based adjacent to Mbarara University’s campus in Mbarara town, Uganda. The Healthy Child Uganda partnership operates in the districts of Mbarara, Bushenyi, Buhweju, Ntungamo and Rubirizi in Uganda as well as two districts of the Mwanza Region in Tanzania.

Healthy Child Uganda was established in 2002. Its multitude of efforts aims to improve health services in Uganda, especially in maternal and pediatric care.

The Impact of Healthy Child Uganda

Since its establishment, Healthy Child Uganda has partnered with local health authorities to train more than 5,000 community health workers for service in almost 1,000 villages in Uganda. Community health workers promote health in their villages, take part in development activities, spread awareness and monitor sick children and pregnant women to see if they need treatment. Healthy Child Uganda shares its training curriculum for community health workers online, providing valuable information to other medical providers. It is also a leader in maternal and child health research, having developed many different practice approaches that have provided models for many other organizations.

Healthy Child Uganda has also worked to combat COVID-19 in Uganda, with funding largely provided by the UCalgary. In the early stages of the pandemic, it was able to provide cleaning products, PPE, handwashing stations, fuel, hand sanitizer and hygiene soap. This was crucial in providing protection in Uganda before provisions came in from Uganda’s Ministry of Health. Healthy Child Uganda also worked to train frontline health workers in fighting COVID-19.

Mama Na Mtoto

The University of Calgary is also a valuable partner in Mama na Mtoto, a partnership that seeks to improve women and child health in rural Tanzania. Mama na Mtoto does its work in the Mwanza Region of Tanzania.

Mama na Mtoto performs many of the same functions as Healthy Child Uganda, just in a different location. It works with the government and existing health facilities to “support communities to adapt and lead activities and innovations that address their own health challenges.”

Mama na Mtoto plans activities that emphasize information and teachings about women and child care, from adolescence to pregnancy. This, therefore, helps to take the burden off of government health services and equip mothers with the best tools to succeed in places where there is little access to health information.

UCalgary’s Successes

UCalgary’s work in Uganda has had tangible results. In 2020, Bushenyi District was recognized as the best performing district for healthcare in Uganda. UCalgary helped this district under Healthy Child Uganda. UCalgary is also working with Mbarara University on another initiative known as HAY! (Healthy Adolescents and Young People in Uganda), which will educate youth on family planning, sexual health, menstrual hygiene and gender-based violence. The University of Calgary is showing how universities can be proactive and provide support that improves health in vulnerable areas.

Clay Hallee
Photo: Flickr

STRYDE Program
The Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) program has been helping women in developing countries develop and learn entrepreneurial skills as well as partner them with mentors. A mere 28% of Africa’s labor force consists of stable-wage jobs. The other 72% consists of income mainly from farming. Many African youths choose to move to the city, seeking better work opportunities. However, according to TechnoServe, 70% of youth remain in rural areas. These areas have a large absence of training and job opportunities.

Ndinagwe Mboya, STRYDE and Training

In Mbeya, Tanzania, one woman has managed to reinvent how the world views women entrepreneurs, especially young women. Ndinagwe Mboya, a 22-year-old, managed to revive her father’s struggling egg incubation businesses. Through lessons available through the STRYDE program, Mboya decided to capitalize on her family’s farm. Through STRYDE’s business plan competition, she won $165. She then used that money to purchase more eggs and subsequently raise more chickens. In a period of 45 days, she was able to triple her original profits. From this increase, she spread to working with other animals by breeding pigs and rabbits. She now earns $210 a month.

TechnoServe states that Business Women Connect has worked to empower women with the ingenuity and experience necessary to make their businesses thrive. The goal is to increase connection to mobile savings technologies and to provide greater access to vital business skills. The STRYDE program began in 2011 when Technoserve and the Mastercard Foundation partnered to ease the adversity of rural youth in Africa through financial independence.

By November 2020, more than 68,000 rural youths gained technical and soft skills through training. The curriculum includes the development of personal effectiveness, future plans, communication and confidence. Across Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, 15,000 rural youths received sessions such as skills training, aftercare and mentoring. These sessions provided the knowledge necessary to expand their business opportunities.

STRYDE Program Models

The STRYDE program focuses on two main models.

  1. The Peer to Peer Model: Through this model, youths receive training directly from local Technoserve staff, such as Mboya. Approximately 70% of participants have received training through this model.
  2. Partnerships Model: About 30% of trainers have utilized the Partnerships Model, in which youths obtain training through partnerships, such as Vocational Training Institutions.

Mboya has become a mentor for other women entrepreneurs, taking part in a three-week training program designed for business counselors. Mboya takes pride in her work, teaching other Tanzanian businesswomen how to succeed in entrepreneurship and grow their businesses through the STRYDE curriculum. According to Technoserve, the STRYDE program taught Mboye to believe in herself and her abilities as an entrepreneur.

Successes of the Project

The average participant of the program has seen an increase in income by 133% and more than 48,000 youths total having benefited from the training institutions. STRYDE participants in Tanzania totaled 15,773, 61% of those being women. In Tanzania alone, the TechnoServe partnership has established eight Vocational Training Centers and eight local NGOs and community-based organizations (CBO).

The STRYDE program allows entrepreneurial women, such as Mboya, to gain the confidence and skills needed to succeed in a mainly male-dominated field.

Nina Eddinger
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Agricultural Improvements in Tanzania
Tanzania is a country located along the coast of the Indian ocean in Eastern Africa. It has a population of more than 60 million people and continues to grow. Tanzania’s economy has been on the rise over the last decade. However, its agricultural sector employs a large number of people and is still struggling to make ends meet. The country partners with many agencies and organizations. Moreover, the U.S. government-funded USAID is Tanzania’s most important donor. It has been working to contribute to agricultural improvements in Tanzania by increasing the efficiency of weather information. Here are some facts about Tanzania’s economic condition, the importance of access to climate information and the U.S. aid that the country’s farming sector has received recently.

The Total Number of Low-Income Tanzanians Has Increased Despite Economic Growth

Tanzania has a wide variety of resources and economic reforms. As a result, the nation has witnessed astonishing growth in its economy within the last 10 years. Thus, the poverty rate fell from 34.4% in 2007 to 26.4% in 2018. Additionally, approximately 14 million people were living in poverty. However, due to the country’s rapid population growth, the absolute number of people living in poverty increased while the relative number decreased. The areas of economic growth were related to industry and service. This only gives work to 6% of the total population. The agriculture industry requires the most support and foreign aid because it grows slower. In addition, many Tanzanians work in this industry.

Easy Access to Weather Information is a Necessity

Access to weather information is the main tool in the process of agricultural improvements in Tanzania. This has become increasingly important as the climate is constantly changing. Since food production heavily relies on precipitation, farmers need to be able to predict and prepare for any amount of rainfall. The Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) has been sending out SMS to more than 3,000 farmers all around the country several times a month to provide them with the much-needed information. However, due to high cost and inefficiency, the methods of spreading information have been the main focus of improvement.

Database for Farmers has Supported Agricultural Improvement in Tanzania

USAID funds the Building Capacity for Resilient Food Security Project and serves as an important partner in improving the spread of information. This project’s goal is to support the Tanzanian government in stabilizing its agricultural sector through different climate challenges. Additionally, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is one of the project’s three national partners. It has also supported TMA in creating a database for farmers to access and analyze weather information. The new technology has made it easier for farmers to receive the necessary information and has also resulted in higher usage of social media platforms by people in rural areas. It has become much easier for those in the agricultural sector to schedule the planting and harvesting of crops with this improvement.

USAID Sponsored Training to Increase Food Production Efficiency

The Building Capacity for Resilient Food Security project has contributed to many agricultural improvements in Tanzania. For example, the project sponsored training sessions for decision-makers and stakeholders throughout Tanzania in 2019. These training sessions teach farmers how to survive different climate crises and how to plant and harvest efficiently. Experts from American universities and various international partners are leading the training program. Furthermore, the goal is to teach the participants how to practice climate-smart agriculture. The hope was that the training session would increase Tanzania’s food production and decrease the number of farmers living in poverty.

Making Tanzanian Agriculture Self-Reliant

The partners of the Building Capacity for Resilient Food Security Project, FAO, USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) improved Tanzanian farmers’ capability to plan their food production efficiently in January 2021. Furthermore, the partners provided important supplies such as ph meters, measuring cylinders, bottles and new technologies for a weather database to the TMA.

It will be easier for the agency to collect weather data and quickly spread the information to Tanzanian farmers with the new equipment. This will support the farmers’ goal in expanding their food production and security to the point of self-reliance. The organizations hope that making Tanzania’s agriculture more sustainable will contribute to the country’s economic growth and help many people who have employment in the sector out of poverty.

– Bianca Adelman
Photo: Flickr

10 Years of Helping Babies Breathe
The first few minutes of a baby’s life have a significant impact on their chances of survival and their life quality. Statistically speaking, risks for newborn deaths are at their highest at that time. A main reason for the increased risk is asphyxia, a dangerous lack of oxygen right after birth. Every year, approximately 10 million newborns are unable to breathe on their own and require immediate help. In 2010, as a response to the medical issue, Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) was born. Recently, Helping Babies Breathe celebrated its anniversary for 10 years of work. Here is some information about the successes during the 10 years of Helping Babies Breathe.

USAID: An Important Partner

A partnership of many different agencies and organizations like Save the Children, Laerdal Global Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the program Helping Babies Breathe. Another very important partner in the creation of HBB was the United States government’s agency USAID. After receiving Congress-approved funds from the federal government, USAID was able to be a key figure in establishing the program. The agency contributed significantly to HBB’s success by mobilizing more than $120 million to save newborns over the last decade.

Educating People

When HBB launched, its approach to fighting newborn mortality was based on creating a global movement. The goal was to raise awareness for the complications of asphyxia and to educate and train medics around the world. Thus, HBB focused on making educational materials and necessary equipment accessible for everyone. Furthermore, it supported training people in the resuscitation of newborns. When the program began, all the partners involved agreed on one ultimate goal. The plan was to assure that every infant started life with access to at least one person with the training to resuscitate babies after birth.

When HBB taught medics all around the globe how to reduce the risks of newborn mortality, it addressed several different approaches. One of HBB’s top priorities was to increase general hygiene and, thus, prevent potential infections. Helping Babies Breathe further gave clear instructions for the evaluation of a newborn. These included understanding crying as an indicator for whether or not a baby was receiving enough oxygen and examining the baby’s breathing more thoroughly. The program also taught providers how to react in the case of a newborn not being able to breathe. In order to do so, HBB focused specifically on the method of drying the baby to facilitate breathing. It also encouraged using ventilation and chest compression if drying was not enough.

Decreasing the Number of Newborn Deaths

In the last 10 years of Helping Babies Breathe, the program has successfully increased the chances for newborn survival. HBB has trained approximately 1 million people in more than 80 countries in resuscitating babies right after birth. A study in several different countries like Tanzania and Nepal has shown the huge impact of the program on the lives of infants. The number of stillborn babies has gone down by 34% and the number of newborns that die on their first day has reduced by 30% in places that have been working with HBB.

Governmental Independence

After initially investing in equipment and training birth attendants to help babies breathe, many places no longer need HBB. Seeing how successfully the program increased newborn survival, many of the countries that HBB was working with started to include the resuscitation techniques and new standards for medical providers into their governmental budgets. Since many countries now have the knowledge and determination to fight newborn deaths on their own, HBB partner and important sponsor USAID is able to slowly stop the financial support that the agency has been giving to the program for the last 10 years.

Bianca Adelman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Norway's Foreign Aid
Many countries in Europe regularly distribute foreign aid to developing economies in an effort to contribute to global welfare. Norway’s foreign aid makes up a significant portion of the aid that wealthy nations distribute. It has a long history of emphasizing the importance of foreign aid and continues in this legacy today.

The History

According to a Developmental Assistance Committee review by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Norway’s foreign assistance history dates back to more than 50 years ago. It has been donors to different nations around the world, and its government has most regularly distributed economic aid to countries in Africa and Asia. Norway’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a large role in distributing its foreign aid. As of 2008, 30% of Norway’s development assistance went through NGOs. One of the earliest years of recorded foreign aid in Norway is 1965. In 1965, Norway distributed 8.1 million NOK (~$980,760) in aid to Africa. The top five countries that received aid were Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, Kenya and Ethiopia. Also in 1965, Norway earmarked 14.1 million NOK (~$1.7 million) in aid for countries in Asia. The vast majority of that aid went to India and Korea.

Norwegian Foreign Aid today

Norway’s total foreign aid budget for 2021 is $4.1 billion, which amounts to a little more than 1% of its gross national income. Norway distributes its foreign aid in an effort to help with humanitarian, education and economic relief efforts. It has also expressed a willingness to help promote peace around the world. Like many other nations that distribute foreign aid, Norway has emphasized environmental improvements. The government supports expanding clean and renewable energy, as well as forest conservation and agricultural productivity.

Foreign Aid Goals

Norway’s foreign aid focus is on emergency assistance, developmental and economic aid, climate programs, education, food and governance. Although some are easier to meet than others within a certain timeframe, the Norwegian government works to meet each one of these goals. Over the years, Norway has distributed billions of dollars in foreign aid while keeping the focus on the goals listed above. By meeting these goals, the Norwegian government can try to help other nations rebuild economies, improve education and governance.

According to Ine Eriksen Søreide, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway will continue its humanitarian and economic aid efforts in 2021. This will be especially pertinent as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic play out. Since 2013, Norway has increased its humanitarian budget by about 67%. In 2020, it was the sixth-largest donor worldwide. Its special focus on green humanitarian aid is also very important during today’s climate crisis.

In conclusion, Norway is a top distributor of foreign aid every year and an important player in the world’s response to humanitarian crises. It focuses on issues such as economic development, food distribution and education for young people. And especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Norwegian government recognizes the increased need for assistance in developing nations around the world.

– Amina Aden
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate Reduction
The World Bank published an analysis in 2019 of the 15 countries with the greatest poverty rate reduction from 1999-2015. Of those 15 countries, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and The Kyrgyz Republic were the most successful in reducing poverty. While some of these five countries are continuing to reduce their poverty levels, others have recently faced hardships, stagnating their ability to eradicate poverty.

5 Leaders in Poverty Reduction

  1. Tanzania: Tanzania saw a poverty rate reduction of 3.2% from 2000-2011. Moreover, its poverty rate is continuing to reduce as from 2007-2018, the poverty rate fell from 34.4% to 26.4%, and the extreme poverty rate fell from 11.7% to 8%. However, the wealth gap increased during that same time period, with the Gini coefficient rising from 38.5 to 39.5. This uptick in the wealth gap may be due to the fact that education and sanitation have become more accessible in cities but not rural areas. However, despite this increase, Tanzania is persisting in reducing its levels of poverty.
  2. Tajikistan: Tajikistan reduced its poverty levels by 3.1% from 1999-2015. Poverty rates fluctuate in Tajikistan depending on job availability and remittance. However, the poverty rate mostly remains on the decline in Tajikistan, albeit it is slower than in the past. From 2012-2017, the poverty rate fell by 7.5%, but now it is decreasing about 1% per year on average. The poverty rate has been decreasing slower because the remittances that Tajikistan has received have lessened over the past few years. Additionally, COVID-19 has negatively affected the economy, causing more food insecurity. Fortunately, expectations have determined that the country will recover quickly from this downfall.
  3. Chad: Chad experienced a reduced poverty rate of 3.1% from 2003-2011. The projected number of impoverished people in Chad increased from 4.7 million to 6.3 million from 2011-2019. Additionally, Chad ranks last on the World Bank’s Human Capital Index. The good news is that many nonprofit organizations are working to help decrease the poverty rate in Chad. The World Food Bank has established many support systems and has helped 1.4 million people so far. The International Development Association (IDA) improved learning conditions for over 300,000 elementary school children from 2013-2018. The IDA also provided health support for over 50,000 people from 2014-2018. These are only two examples of organizations that work to improve the quality of life of the people and reduce the poverty rate in Chad.
  4. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): The DRC reduced its poverty rate by 2.7% from 2005-2011. It remains low on the Human Captial Index with 72% of people living in extreme poverty. Yet, like in Chad, there are many nonprofits working to help reduce the poverty rate in the DRC. For example, the IDA helped 1.8 million people receive health services and provided work support programs for 1 million displaced people through 2018. The United Nations Capital Development Fund has been working in the DRC since 2004 and helps create a more financially inclusive environment. Even though the country has a long way to go, the hard work of these organizations shows a promising future for the DRC.
  5. The Kyrgyz Republic: The Kyrgyz Republic reduced its poverty levels by 2.6% from 2000-2015. The Kyrgyz Republic’s economy has experienced fluctuations since 2010 and remains vulnerable. Many citizens live close to the poverty line. However, the poverty rate in rural areas continues to steadily decline. Like Tajikistan, COVID-19 negatively impacted The Kyrgyz Republic’s economy. On July 30, 2020, the World Bank decided to finance three projects that will help “mitigate the unprecedented health, economic and social challenges caused by the…pandemic.” One of these initiatives includes direct financial help for up to 200,000 poor families. Overall, the Kyrgyz Republic has prevailed in reducing the poverty rate and increasing access to healthcare and education in the past 20 years.

Looking Forward

While some countries have regressed in poverty rate reduction, others continue to decrease poverty rates. However, good news exists even for countries with increased poverty rates. Nonprofits work to provide relief, aid and policy changes that help those in poverty.

Sophie Shippe
Photo: Flickr

OPEC FundThe OPEC Fund for International Development fights against poverty by funding projects that improve poverty and spur development. On February 19, 2021, it continued this effort by sending a $50 million loan to Tanzania. The funding supports the Fourth Tanzania Poverty Reduction Project. The project intends to focus on boosting the economy through rural development. It will also improve access to social services for more than 900,000 people. Tanzania has certainly made progress in reducing poverty over the past decade, but around 26 million Tanzanians still live on less than $1.90 per day. The efforts of the OPEC Fund intend to address the issue of poverty in Tanzania.

The Goal

The fourth phase of the plan aims to build rural infrastructure for education, health, water, agriculture and transportation. By improving these conditions, employment opportunities will arise for those who are struggling. Additionally, this project will provide people with income opportunities such as growing vegetables and farming animals. The OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa states that the organization has committed to improving poverty in Tanzania for years. He explains that the current loan will empower communities to help themselves by strengthening food resilience and household incomes as well as developing social amenities to encourage growth and development.

The Partnership

The partnership between the OPEC Fund and Tanzania has existed for 45 years. During the partnership, the OPEC Fund has given the country more than $370 million for the current project and 37 other public sector operations. The OPEC Fund most recently granted assistance toward transportation. Tanzania received $26 million for the Kazilambwa-Chagu Road Upgrading Project. The road built will connect two of the country’s main ports. Improving the accessibility of these ports will ultimately lead to an increase in both agricultural and tourism-related activities. Additionally, it will enable trade with neighboring countries, therefore spurring economic growth.

Plans for Development

The OPEC Fund’s mission is to stimulate economic growth in low to middle-income countries. The OPEC Fund provides financing to both member and non-member countries. Established by member countries in 1976, it sought to increase development and strengthen communities, all while empowering the people of the country. The OPEC Fund has approved more than $25 billion for 135 countries, showing many that development is possible for everyone. With help from the OPEC Fund, Tanzania has greatly reduced poverty levels over the past 10 years. As the OPEC Fund fights against poverty, the Tanzanian government is implementing programs to eradicate poverty and developmental issues. Exemplary programs include three previous phases of this project co-financed by the OPEC Fund.

Importance of Agriculture

Agriculture is the center of Tanzania’s economy, contributing around a quarter of GDP and employing three-fourths of the country. Increasing droughts and harvest losses, however, present a threat to food security and the agriculture sector. Tanzania’s GDP growth of 6–7% annually over the past decade stems largely from the agriculture sector. A majority of the agricultural success has come from improvements and progress in farming and harvesting.

Tanzania also struggles to expand modern energy access, with two-thirds of the population still without access to modern energy. Similarly, only 9% of Tanzania’s population has access to formal financial services and only 4% has ever received a loan from a bank, factors clearly stagnating economic growth and development in the country.

The assistance provided by the OPEC Fund alongside community members and the Tanzanian government has allowed Tanzania to make great strides toward eradicating poverty and improving developmental growth.

Jai Phillips
Photo: Flickr