Thursday, December 04, 2008

New survey on Tanzania poverty reduction

A new survey on how Tanzania is doing in poverty reduction was released today. It contains a mixed bag of results. The good is the economic growth, the bad is sanitation, income and health.

The Inter Press Service brings us new details from the survey conducted by the governments National Bureau of Statistics.

Supported by budding financial markets, the proportion of Tanzania's population living below the poverty line dropped to 33.3 percent last year from 35.7 percent in 2000/01, stated the 2007 survey, which was released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

However, the number of people in Tanzania who have to survive on $1.10 a day or less has risen by one million to 12.7 million in the last six years. Researchers have attributed this mainly to an annual population growth of 2.6 percent.

"It's a bit of a shock that poverty has reduced so little despite our efforts," said Monique Bergeron, chair of the poverty-monitoring group of foreign donors to Tanzania and a Canadian diplomat. "Economic growth is moving in the right direction, yet poverty reduction is still marginal."

Tanzania is one of Africa’s biggest recipients of development aid with almost 40 percent of the current 2008/09 budget funded by outside donors. Foreign aid agencies are willing to invest into the country because of its political stability, attempts to crack down on corruption and sound fiscal reforms.

Economic growth in Tanzania, the third-biggest gold producer in Africa, reached about seven percent a year since 2001. Yet, the country remains one of the poorest in the world. The United Nations Human Development Index, which measures a range of social and economic indicators, ranks Tanzania 159 out of 177 nations.

Poverty continues to be rife because progress in spreading Tanzania’s economic benefits has been uneven and many of the poorest citizens have seen little or no improvement in their quality of life, explained Dar es Salaam-based World Bank economist Paolo Zacchia.

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