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Poverty In Tanzania

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How to break the cycle of poverty

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African 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 to 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.

5 Facts

The Main Causes of Poverty in Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the most impoverished countries in the world, however, according to the World Bank, poverty from 2007 to 2018 was reduced by 8% overall. There are multiple reasons why the largest East African country is in such despair, such as food scarcity, poor access to education, and inadequate health care access. This article will discuss five facts about the causes of poverty in Tanzania.

  1. The population rate is increasing faster than the poverty reduction rate in Tanzania. This is causing millions of people to live in poverty and survive off of $1.90 a day or less. According to the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Brief, from 2011 to 2018, there was only a 1.8% decline in poverty. To combat this issue, according to the brief there should be more opportunities available for those living in rural areas. This is because rural areas have the highest rates of poverty.
  2. A lack of a proper education lowers the chances for sustainable employment. A primary issue related to education in Tanzania is the decline in enrollment of children in primary school. According to a report for out-of-school children in Tanzania by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), out of the 1.3 million children aged 7 years old in Tanzania, 39.5% do not attend primary or secondary school. However, as children get older, the likelihood of attending school rises.
  3. Life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria impact millions of Tanzanians. Many families have to pay out of pocket to receive continuous treatment. Recurring payments pressure already low-income households, adding to one of the causes of poverty in Tanzania. To mitigate the diseases affecting millions living predominately in rural areas, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided treatment to decrease the severe heath conditions’ growth and spread.
  4. Out of a population of 57.3 million people in Tanzania, 4 million people do not have access to clean water. Additionally, 29 million people do not have “access to improved sanitation.” These circumstances mean women and young girls, primarily, must carry massive amounts of water over a great distance to provide it for their families.
  5. The labor force is continuously declining in Tanzania. This can be partially attributed to a lack of government support in initiating sufficient employment opportunities, especially in rural areas. Due to poverty being the highest in rural areas because of poor living environment circumstances, many tend to move into urban areas. Unfortunately, unemployment persists due to people lacking skills for the jobs in their new urban environment. Access to proper education and an increase in attendance in primary and secondary schools will help expand opportunities and skills for more promising and long-lasting employment.

Progress in Eradicating Poverty

The key to eradicating poverty in Tanzania is education. However, for more children to become educated, there needs to be an increase in access to education and school attendance. As of 2020, Tanzania’s literacy rate is 70.6%. However, the literacy rate has fluctuated over the last decade, hindering continuous growth. 

By 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 in 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.