Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Poverty Alleviation 'Still Elusive'

THE government's approach of giving preference to private sector-led growth has been cited as one of the reasons leading to a mismatch between the increase of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and personal income in the county.

A report by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) review of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Commonwealth countries noted that amid GDP increase, so is inflation coupled by high population growth.

The gap between the rich and the poor is growing in Tanzania, the report says. In the assessment of many CSO representatives consulted in the review, it was noted that poverty is worsening despite the government reporting an impressive average growth rate of 7 per cent of GDP between 2006 and 2011.

The report released last week stated that many development policies and strategies are not well known among poor people. This situation hampers the potential to foster a demand driven approach to development.

The review process, led by the Tanzania Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO) in the first half of 2012, revealed that the country made substantial strides in its development since the previous civil society review was conducted in 2005.

However, it was discovered that little has been achieved in terms of alleviating poverty. Talking to the 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview after the launching of the report, TANGO Policy Engagement Programme Manager, Mr Zaa Twalangeti said the project was undertaken as part of a programme with the UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC), which supported country-level research by civil society organisations in 20 countries.

He said that the study concluded that despite Tanzania undertaking a number of interventions and investing resources in the achievement of the MDGs since 2005, this investment has had little impact on poverty reduction and achievement of the MDGs and it was not possible to meet some of goals in the two years left before 2015.

"For significant progress to be made, it is clear that a new approach is needed to eradicate poverty in Tanzania and it is only through including citizens in planning and improving the enabling environment for civil society as an essential part of this," Mr Twalangeti said.

He cited Mkukuta Annual Implementation Report, 2010 saying that about 33 per cent of the Tanzanian population still survives on less than US$1 a day thus pushing for citizen involvement in addressing poverty.

As the world and Tanzania in particular prepares to take on post 2015 development agenda, Mr Twalangeti said that lessons from the MDG experience, CSOs involved in the review suggested that a post-2015 development framework should adopt a bottom-up approach in its design, planning and implementation.

Principally, he said that progress should not depend on donors, as part of a human rights approach to the framework, financing for development should be integral and not an added charitable consideration.

"The government should ensure that any post-2015 development and policy framework applied in Tanzania is more enabling to non-state actors and includes CSOs and the public in its design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation," he added.

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