World Bank
World Bank

The World Bank on Friday urged Tanzania to accelerate efforts aimed at reducing poverty in the east African country of 55 million people.

In its report released in the commercial capital Dodoma, the World Bank said although mainland Tanzania recorded sustained economic growth and poverty reduction over the past decade, the poverty reducing impact of economic growth has been slowing down.

The latest World Bank Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment report, which is an analysis of the government’s 2018 Household Budget Survey (HBS), confirmed its findings that the poverty rate declined from 34.4 percent in 2007 to 28.2 percent in 2012, and to a further 26.4 percent in 2018.

It was important for the country to accelerate the trend, as the number of poor was still high and the majority of Tanzanians were vulnerable to falling back into poverty at the slightest shock, said Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi

“Almost half of the population lives on less than 1.9 U.S. dollars per person per day, so there is a lot of work ahead to improve the living standards of all citizens,” said Bird.

“With an increase in the economic returns outside agriculture, there is a growing need for investments in human capital especially among the poor and the vulnerable,” said Bird, adding that increasing access to productive employment opportunities is key to sustaining the momentum picked up during the last decade.

The assessment shows emerging signs of a structural transformation which can be seen in the increasing share of industry and services in total employment.

Agriculture is employing fewer workers and those who remain in the sector are diversifying towards non-farm wage and self-employment, according to the assessment.

Among other key findings, the assessment shows an increase in ownership of communication and transport assets as well as in access to basic services like improved water and sanitation facilities, energy and road network.

School enrollment rates have also increased, and a higher proportion of the labor force is working in secondary and tertiary sectors, it said.

Despite these improvements, said the assessment, overall education level and access to basic services remain low, particularly for the poorest and for those living in rural areas.

“This is reflected in recent growth being less pro-poor, widening the welfare gap between the rich and the poor,” it said. Enditem

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