Current and future challenges and opportunities in Tanzania.
Tanzania has undergone impressive political and economic developments and improvements in social welfare in recent years. However, the country continues to face considerable development challenges, not least in essential areas such as economic distribution, population growth, corruption and a stronger division between party and state. At the same time, new opportunities are arising which have the potential to become decisive for the necessary changes and reforms.
POVERTY AND INEQUALITY: HIGH GROWTH, BUT NOT FOR ALL
Tanzania has been a macro-economic success story for nearly two decades. The rate of economic growth increased from 3.5 pct. in the 1990s to 7 pct. in the 2000s. Despite the global financial crisis, growth rates have been remarkably stable over the last decade, and they are expected to continue or even increase in the foreseeable future. At the same time, the country has experienced high population growth – from 11 million people in 1963 to around 45 million in 2012. Population growth remains high, at nearly 3 pct. annually. If this growth rate continues, there will be 53 million Tanzanians in 2018 and 100 million in 2042.
Economic growth and decades of massive international aid have created many good results, but it is important to recall that the growth began from a very low starting point and that poverty in Tanzania has proven extremely stubborn. With an annual GDP per capita of USD 532 (2011) and a Human Development Index rank among the lowest 20%, Tanzania is one of the poorest 15 nations in the world. More than two-thirds of the population live below the internationally recognized income poverty line of USD 1.25 per day and almost 90 pct. live on under two dollars per day. Around one-third live below the "basic needs poverty line" corresponding to around USD 0.96 per day.1 Measured by this limit, official poverty levels declined slightly from 39% of the population in 1992 to 34% in 2007, to 28% in 2012. Due to population growth, however, this relative decrease still means that the actual number of people living below the poverty line has remained relatively constant level of 11-12 million Tanzanians. Official surveys show a constant level of inequality from 2001 to 2007 (Gini 0.35). Other calculations, however, show a 20% increase in inequality in the same period.2 the degree of inequality can be illustrated by the fact that the richest 20% of Tanzania’s population accounts for 42% of total consumption, whereas the poorest 20% consume only 7%.