Poverty in Tanzania
Tanzania is an East African nation, recognized for its national parks and attractions, and home to some of Africa’s highest mountains. Although Tanzania gains from its tourist attractions, the nation is considered one of the world’s poorest economies. Poverty in Tanzania is severe — 36% of the population lives below the poverty level. However, in recent years, Tanzania has improved its economy. According to the World Bank’s poverty analysis, Tanzania has maintained economic growth and a decline in its poverty rate. Additionally, new opportunities could potentially be positive for changes and reforms.


The Tanzanian government works to improve access to water, education and health services. To combat poverty in Tanzania, the government and several organizations have chosen education to emphasize. Since 2016, Tanzania has implemented a fee-free basic education policy which has increased enrollment and decreased the number of out of school children. Two parts of the policy include:

  1. A commitment to providing 12 years of free and mandatory basic education to the whole population.
  2. A mandate to expand technical and vocational education and training. Thus, increasing the number of skilled human resources and becoming a semi-industrialized middle-income country by 2025.

Additionally, the World Bank established the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQUIP). SEQUIP aims to provide children in Tanzania safer and more accessible secondary education, thus improving the country’s human capital. The project also strives to increase opportunities for girls and reduce teen pregnancy and marriage.

The Tanzanian government and World Bank understand that by improving education and creating opportunities for girls, they contribute to economic growth.

Health Care

Aside from major economic growth in the past decade, not everyone in Tanzania has benefited. Poverty in Tanzania persists, with nearly much of the population living below the income poverty line of $1.90 per day. The Abbott Fund has contributed to developing sustainable improvements in the quality of testing, treatment and health care across Tanzania. The Abbott Fund is responsible for improving infrastructure and technology at healthcare facilities. The organization also seeks to address critical issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, such as providing aid to orphans and vulnerable children. Additionally, the Abbott Fund has contributed to the following areas of need:

  • Provided nutrition and income to the residents of Mkinga by donating 300 dairy cows, and started farming and poultry co-ops throughout Tanzania.
  • Trained more than 5,000 paralegal volunteers to resolve more than 80,000 paralegal cases surrounding the protection of women and children’s rights.
  • Enrolled more than 1,000 families in community health insurance.
  • Built schools for vulnerable children and allocated millions in grant funding to execute community-development activities.

Poverty in Tanzania perseveres, and economic growth has not been evenly distributed. Real transformation needs to occur on a government level to ensure everyone gains from the continued growth. According to Nadia Belhaj Hassine Belghith, Senior Economist and co-author of the 2019 Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment, “along with the reduction in poverty, the country is showing signs of a structural transformation.” Lastly, Tanzania should invest in human capital and skills development while increasing job opportunities for key sectors that promote advancement. By investing in people, Tanzania can reach economic growth that provides for everyone, and not just the ones in power.

– Mia Mendez
Photo: Flickr

poverty in TanzaniaAfrican countries tend to be surrounded by the stigma of poverty and underdevelopment. However, most people are oblivious to the fact that the region is, in fact, rich in natural resources. Tanzania falls into this category. The East African nation has no dearth of wildlife, land or minerals. Despite being endowed with such advantageous conditions, the question of poverty in Tanzania arises time and time again.

About 12 million people, or 28.2 percent of the population, are living in basic needs poverty, 80 percent of which reside in rural areas. The workforce is concentrated in the agriculture industry, which employs 75 percent of Tanzanian workers. The land can only sustain a certain number of commercial farmers, leaving the majority to make ends meet via subsistence farming.

The internal production of agricultural goods is not being supported. Cereals and other grains are often imported from international markets instead of being purchased from domestic producers. Shifting production back to the country will not only employ many people, but will also stimulate the GDP.

The underlying reason for poverty in Tanzania can be attributed to a lack of education. Focusing on education for all will reduce family sizes and expand career options, especially for women. Women in Tanzania have approximately five children, according to the World Bank. 42 percent of children face malnutrition because their parents have to allot their resources according to larger family sizes. Without enough money to feed their kids, sending them school is not an option. Education programs and family planning services have both been helping to curb the population growth in Tanzania; they also give women the opportunity to provide a supplemental income with the extra time they have.

Concentrating on education from a young age is vital for alleviating poverty in Tanzania. Multiple doors of opportunity will open up for them, and they will not be trapped into subsistence farming. Training and education will make Tanzanians adept and allow them to be competitive in the international economy. When fewer people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, farmers will have more available arable land and more opportunities to pursue commercial farming.

Unlike most African nations, Tanzania did not suffer through internal strife. This gives them a leg up and increases the expectations for improvement. Tackling education should be the top priority of the government in their domestic policy.

Tanvi Wattal

Photo: Flickr

A Stroke of Optimism: Growth in Tanzania
Despite poverty-stricken conditions, Tanzania continues to be an exemplary bridge of eastern and western values.

Over the last ten years, the Tanzanian government posted an average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of six to seven percent. Improvements have been attributed to structural reforms administered by the Tanzanian government and international economic institutions.

Growth in Tanzania began with its abnormal political cohesion. Dissimilar to other nations in the sub-Saharan African region, the 1992 transition to democracy was peaceful and durable. The Chama Cha Mapinduzi party has been in office, which allowed reform efforts to be monitored and driven forward.

Unfortunately, economic growth has not significantly impacted the widespread conditions of poverty. During the previous ten years of a steadily increasing GDP, poverty has only reduced by two percent. Currently, 15 million people live below the poverty line, which puts the U.N. millennium development goals well beyond reach.

Although poverty is still prevalent, Tanzania’s prospects for regional parity are incontrovertible. Growth in Tanzania goes well beyond the confines of increased GDP.

The plural society has found a delicate societal balance between two opposites: Islam and Christianity. Tanzanian society is comprised of 60 percent Christians and 36 percent Muslims. Citizens of both religions are free of religious prosecution under Tanzanian law and enjoy a secular constitution.

Tanzanians have developed an identity that prioritizes commonalities over differences, which has weathered numerous internal disagreements and the aftermath of surrounding external conflicts. Growth in Tanzania is best demonstrated by its societal inclusiveness.

The foundation of the national identity is the practice of a national language — Swahili, which is compulsory in Tanzanian public schools. Moreover, activities that are normally contemptible — conflict negation, trade and legal works — are mollified by the ability to communicate.

National landmarks also contribute to a shared identity: Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria and the Serengeti Plain assist in building national pride.

Perhaps nothing is as important to national identity as the role of ceremonial food customs. Tanzanians take pride in providing a full meal to their guests at grandiose events. Nationally shared plates such as pilau (a spiced rice, potato and meat dish) serve as a bridge between the different religious segments of society.

Tanzania’s atypical government and society continue to impress the world and its investors. As the world begins to value growth beyond economical measures, growth in Tanzania will be viewed through a positive lens.

Adam George

Photo: Flickr

Rice Production in Tanzania
The use of an innovative technology to increase rice production in Tanzania has recently been approved. The new fertilizer method known as Urea Deep Placement, or UDP, boosts rice production by more than 20 percent per acre.

The cost of fertilizer is increasing, and nitrogen application lacks efficiency. UDP is a modern, crop-boosting fertilizer alternative that is better for the environment. Shortly after rice paddies are planted, farmers strategically bury urea supergranules close to their crops’ root zones. The urea absorbs more effectively into plant roots, cutting fertilizer costs and increasing nitrogen efficiency.

Over 33 percent of Tanzania’s rural population lives in poverty. Agriculture is the country’s industry staple, especially in rural areas. Farming in Tanzania accounted for over 67 percent of employment in 2015, and agricultural production contributes to nearly 30 percent of the country’s GDP.

Rice is Tanzania’s seventh most important crop, and rice production has steadily increased over the past decade. In 2010, Tanzania became a net exporter of rice, producing over 2.6 million tons. Tanzania’s rice production levels are the second highest in Africa, directly behind Madagascar.

UDP was first introduced to the African continent in 2009 after the world witnessed its results in Asian countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia, all of which are big rice producers.

Nitrogen is rice’s most vital nutrient. Using UDP decreases nitrogen losses by up to 40 percent. By enhancing nitrogen efficiency, UDP benefits both global food security and farmer livelihoods while also diminishing widespread pollution. Nitrogen pollution can contribute to climate change and damage water quality, increasing the likelihood of attracting waterborne diseases.

Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority senior official Allan Mariki expressed the authority’s support of UDP.

“We are encouraging farmers to venture into the system [of UDP utilization], which increases rice production per acreage,” Mariki said.

Tanzania’s newly unveiled five-year Expanding Rice Production Project focuses on improving irrigation and utilizing new agronomic practices such as UDP in order to double the country’s rice production. The implementation of UDP is increasing yields, reducing nitrogen pollution and benefiting Tanzania’s rice industry.

Kristyn Rohrer
Photo: Flickr