Tanzania - Poverty and wealth

Although a small segment of Tanzanians with secure access to employment in the public and business sectors enjoy a relatively high standard of living, the vast majority of Tanzanians live in poverty. Indeed, the United Nations Development Programme 's (UNDP) human development index (HDI) listings, which arranges countries according to their overall level of human development, ranks Tanzania 156th out of a total of 174 nations. The HDI, a composite index (one that assesses more than one variable) that measures life expectancy at birth, adult literacy rate, school enrollment ratio, and GDP per capita , is indicative of a country's general social and economic well-being. As such, Tanzania's HDI ranking demonstrates that the country is one of the poorest and least developed in the world.

Under the socialist policies of Julius Nyerere, the Tanzanian government focused heavily on achieving social equity through the development of a strong health and education sector. Inequality in the early years of Ujamaa was mainly the result of the colonial legacy in which some peasants were connected to the cash crop export economy while others were not. Those that lived in areas favorable for cash crop production enjoyed a slightly higher standard of living than their subsistence peasant

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Tanzania N/A N/A N/A 175 173
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
Kenya 301 337 320 355 334
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Tanzania
Lowest 10% 2.8
Lowest 20% 6.8
Second 20% 11.0
Third 20% 15.1
Fourth 20% 21.6
Highest 20% 45.5
Highest 10% 30.1
Survey year: 1993
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

counterparts. Though Nyerere's social policies were generous, they were unsustainable in a context of economic crisis and negligible growth. Moreover, many critics, such as Enos S. Bukuku, the author of The Tanzanian Economy: Income Distribution and Economic Growth, argue that Nyerere's development policies promoted the modern, nascent industrial sector, at the expense of agriculture. The result was actually increased poverty in the countryside, and the creation of a few highly skilled and highly paid jobs associated with the parastatals and policies of import substitution industrialization.

Today, the cleavage (division; in this case economic) between the general peasantry and those with higher-paying jobs in the urban centers persists, though this type of inequality is characteristic of most countries that are still in the throes of the development process. According to the CIA World Factbook , the poorest 10 percent of the Tanzanian population consume a marginal 2.9 percent of total national consumption, while the richest 10 percent consume 30.2 percent. In 1998, the GNP per capita in Tanzania was estimated at a paltry US$220, whereas the GNP per capita in the United States was US$29,240 in the same year.

Social policy in Tanzania is currently guided by the so-called "Vision 2025," a comprehensive framework emphasizing 7 priority areas linked to overall poverty reduction. In 2000-01, the Tanzanian government allocated its budget amid these 7 priority areas as follows: education (23.2 percent), health (8.4 percent), roads (6.4 percent), agriculture (1.0 percent), judiciary (1.0 percent), water (0.6 percent), and HIV/AIDS (0.6 percent). While the government's coherent strategy is a welcomed development, the IMF notes that it needs work in some areas, including education, promotion of agricultural/rural development, gender strategies, and a more comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS and the environment.

The vast majority of Tanzanians spend their meager incomes on the basic necessities of life, such as food, rent, clothing, fuel, and transportation. Very little is spent on entertainment and recreation, which are considered luxuries for those that live in considerable poverty. To make matters worse, in the past 10 years the increase in the GNP per capita has been grossly outweighed by mounting inflation , which means that Tanzanians are having an increasingly difficult time purchasing the commodities essential for human existence. The UNDP estimates that the annual growth rate in GNP per capita between 1990 to 1998 was 0.4 percent, while the average annual rate of inflation during the same period was 24.3 percent.

Also read article about Tanzania from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

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Jan 4, 2011 @ 1:01 am
Thank you very much for contribution, keep it up for through this forum most of us going to be knwledgeable.
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Jan 12, 2011 @ 8:08 am
It is true what u have suggested about the poverty in our country.But once we look on the main causes of that poverty it is better also to say some thing about the effects of colonialism in the contribution of this poverty,for example the excess exploitation they done during their rule,it made us to face many difficulties to overcome this foolish poverty.
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Mar 17, 2011 @ 5:05 am
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Jun 1, 2011 @ 2:02 am
Reasons as to why Tanzanians are poor could best explained by Tanzanians themselves rather than outsiders like UNDP, IMF, WB and others. There intrinsic factors that lay beneath the foundation on which our country was found and more recently contemporary factors related to Governance, accountability and rule of law.

Unfortunately most donors, bilateral and multilateral organizations don't want to dig deep down but they have been using superficially perceived knowledge on the causes of poverty to address what they think is the root cause of this plight.

The effort that made by our founding fathers to bring our country thus far have now been eroded by greedy leaders of our country due to poor governance, lack of accountability and politics of protectionism. Its very difficult in Tanzania today to hold a leader who have squandered the resources of this country accountable than it was over the last 20 years during Julius Nyerere era.

The vast of natural resources meant for all Tanzanians are currently being plundering by handful of those entrusted to the wealth of this beautiful nation and no one is bold or clean enough to even condemn them publicly. The speed or rate at which our natural resources and national heritage is being plundered by our leaders is almost the same at which poverty is accelerating.
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Jun 23, 2011 @ 12:12 pm
Tanzania is poor, because there is no political willing!! only that!!
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Oct 7, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
i want to ask on the nature of ujamaa's development in tanzania..
mohammed zahor said
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Oct 25, 2011 @ 8:20 pm
how can a country set free from poverty if its leaders are corupt
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Nov 17, 2011 @ 3:03 am
World now is changing with the people are going blind. Economy of any country is under the leaders of the country. The slogan says, "be the change of changes that you want" would help people recover world's underdeveloping. Do we need Corruptive leaders? What is your action to Them?

You are concerned.
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Nov 30, 2011 @ 2:14 pm
Tanzania is poor because leaders they fail to control the economic structure. They fail to make good alternative on how to reduce importation of goods and cervices. The government have to speed up the production of goods which we import them at high cost like food products(cooking oil)and other energy. Also because agriculture is best production especially in developing country like Tanzania, the Government have to credit farmers and to find good market for them so that to make them able to produce at low cost at the same time they get more profits. Then tanzania is poor because we tried much to formulate good policy but we fail to implement them for example KILIMO KWANZA, this is politician policy its there for winning the election only.
Christian Gama
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Dec 20, 2011 @ 11:11 am
Reform your minds on economic aid! forget it! It helped no one but the donors! Start being independent. Establish policies that are pro-development not pro-poor!Then be willing to pay some sacrifice. No one developed by sitting on a mat!
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May 24, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
What measures should be taken to eradicate povert?do tanzania can overcome such a problem?if yes why? and if no why not?
tracey ruby
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Jul 12, 2012 @ 3:03 am
what is the average income generation of a poor Tanzanian citizen?
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Nov 30, 2012 @ 4:04 am
the real causes of poverty of tanzania is how they intergrated with the wolrd.

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