Monday, April 9, 2012
Dar takes steps to alleviate poverty
THE Government of Tanzania has reiterated its commitment to directly integrate national development activities by allowing direct foreign investments to take place in three major economic sub-sectors. This move is intended to reduce poverty amongst its people. Speaking on the issue in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday this week, President Jakaya Kikwete vowed that his government would henceforth concentrate more on the agriculture, mining and tourism sectors of the economy. These, he said, are the key areas which have great potentials in growing the national economy, “despite ups and down which the nation has been facing in different periods since Independence” more than fifty years ago! The president was addressing the 17th Annual Research Workshop which was organized by a non-governmental organization, Research on Poverty Alleviation (RePOA). Speaking at the workshop ― whose theme was 'Social Economic Transformation for Poverty Reduction' ― the RePOA executive director, Professor Samuel Wangwe, said “the economic growth experience in Tanzania in the last decade does not reflect poverty reduction. Recent experiences show that it has been possible for several developing countries to transform their economies and reduce poverty levels substantially. Noting that, “for the last 12 years, Tanzania's economy has been growing at an average rate of seven per cent per annum,” President Kikwete said that, despite this relatively high growth rate, “it is amazing that the rate of poverty reduction among the people in the country has been low!” Statistics, for example, indicate that, from 2001 to 2007 ― a period when Tanzania's economy was growing at relatively high rates ― overall household poverty fell by the marginal rate of only two per cent, from 35.7 to 33.6 per cent! The country's agriculture sector is still backward, and needs to be revamped and boosted soonest. About 80 per cent of the population is found in rural Tanzania, and largely depends on agriculture as their economic mainstay. However, they practice subsistence farming, using antediluvian methods and the hand-hoe. Hence, agricultural growth is very low. In the event, the Government “has firmly resolved that any effective socio-economic transformation in Tanzania should be anchored in agriculture,” President Kikwete said, adding that he is “giving agricultural transformation a very high priority.” The conception and institution of the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP) and the 'Kilimo Kwanza' Initiative by the Government is testimony to this assertion. The two landmark initiatives are designed to deal with the constraints inhibiting agricultural growth, keeping productivity and production low.