30 July 2015

Tanzania: UN Report Spells Out Some Endemic Causes of Poverty

Majority of Tanzanians remain poor despite an impressive seven per cent average annual GDP growth rate due to domination of foreign owned investments in top economic sectors, with limited linkage to the ordinary citizens.

According to the Tanzania Human Development (THD) Report 2014, economic growth, though necessary, is not enough to address abject poverty inflicting people.

University of Dar es Salaam's (UDSM) economic lecturer, Dr Wilhelm Ngasamiaku, presenting the report at the report's dissemination workshop in Dodoma, said instead of focusing on output expansion, the country needs to emphasise on changing the qualitative features of production that occur through growth process.

"Economic growth by itself has failed to expand the ability of majority Tanzanians to lead the kind of lives they value," said Dr Ngasamiaku, advocating for economic transformation for human development.

According to the report, with the exception of some notable progress in few areas such as child survival and school enrolment, improvement in the overall status of human development in the country remains minimal, with the country falling seven positions in the global UN Development Programme's 2014 human development index ranking.

Dr Ngasamiaku said the status of THD used Human Development Index whose three dimensions are health, knowledge and income as well as Multidimensional Poverty Index, a three-dimensional assessment that represents three 10 indicators in human development.

The 10 indicators in MPI are nutrition and child mortality under health, years of schooling and school attendance under education as well as type of cooking fuel, sanitation, availability of clean and safe water, access to electricity, type of floor and ownership assets as indicators of living standards.

Discussing the report, the participants, mostly academics, said the key to economic prosperity in Tanzania lies with transformation of the agricultural sector.

Professor Severene Rugumamu said mechanisation of the country's agriculture was inevitable if the impressive economic growth has to trickle down to the ordinary Tanzanians.

"We have to get rid of the hand hoe peasants if we have to transform agriculture, which employs the majority citizens," said Prof Rugumamu. He said the country has to go for large scale commercial farming, with introduction of insurance products in farming to adequately manage the industry related risks.

"Insurance is a critical catalyst that is missing in the farming sector...the risks in agriculture are not well managed as a result," charged the don, proposing certification of people entering the farming industry.

"Farming should never be for rejects who have failed elsewhere," he said. Dr Innocent Karamagi said there was no miracle for success, charging that only hard work, discipline and change of mindset will rescue Tanzanians out of abject poverty.


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