Zitto na Demokrasia

Zitto na Demokrasia

The Bottom 30M

with 11 comments

‘Why majority of Tanzanians are impoverished in a Wealthy Country and How to eradicate Poverty’

Zitto Kabwe, MP

I use the term The Bottom 30M to paraphrase Paul Collier’s Bottom Billion. This article has been motivated by the article I read from The Citizen on Saturday of 9th June, 2012. The article (Tanzania: Don’t leave your rural world behind) authored by Jacques Morisset, an economist from The World Bank explains the obvious and answers the fundamental question, ‘why is Tanzania poor’.

The Bottom 30M: Rural Tanzania

Almost 30 million Tanzanians are left out of Tanzania’s success story because the economic growth has never been inclusive. The policies of economic development adopted by Tanzania as directed and supported by the Bretton Woods institutions is the main cause of this skewed growth.

For the last 10 years, a decade, of adopting Poverty Reduction Strategies (MKUKUTA I, II and now III) Tanzania has recorded a remarkable economic growth rates but with a puzzling outcome, because the majority still live in poverty. In 2011 the Poverty and Human Development Report (PHDR), the first statement recognizes this paradox of  ‘a growing economy with increasing poverty’ and that of growth without jobs. One can claim that the bottom 30 millions Tanzanians are poor because the policy makers wanted it be.

Why are the majority of Tanzanians still poor?

Government reports as well as various research findings show that the poor live in rural Tanzania. The Household Budget survey of 2007 shows that 37% of the people living in rural areas are living below the poverty line, only 2% of the people have access to electricity and less than 40% have access to water supply. The Uwezo report ‘are our children learning‘ of 2011 shows that children from poor families do not get educated and for those in standard three in primary schools, only 3 out of 10 can answer a standard two question. This is a clear indication that the poor potentially get poorer and inequality widens.

Lifting poverty levels in the rural area could potentially improve even the welfare of urban community. Statistics show that majority of young people migrate to urban towns every day in search of greener pastures. However, it is clear from my explanations above, these young people would arrive in urban areas without sufficient job skills, without proper economic potentials and therefore this breeds another life of misery. It is not rocket science to link the high unemployment in our towns and cities and the increase in criminal activities such as drug trafficking, prostitution etc. The point I am driving home here is, it is in our best interest to improve the welfare of the rural majority in order to ensure peace and tranquility even to those who live in urban areas.

Why is poverty a rural phenomenal?

Mr. Morisset again states the obvious. Agricultural growth in Tanzania has been flat. Since Agriculture is the dominant sector in rural areas, then rural economy’s growth rate has been flat over the last decade. While we recognize record growth of Tanzanian economy, only a quarter has felt the growth leaving the rest living below the poverty line, for the last 10 years. This has happened because of poor and extractive policies on Agriculture (bureaucratic and corrupt crop boards, roadblocks, export bans on agriculture produce),  inadequate rural infrastructure ( irrigation, roads, energy and water supply) and a lack of focus ( leadership being distracted to lucrative rent generating sectors like mining and later telecom). In many sense, our leadership decided to leave the rural behind. Tanzania chose to have the Rural poor. Rural Development has never been on top of the agenda of the Government of Tanzania since 1985.   Rural Tanzania is poor because  post Mwalimu governments have made a consisous decision for it t be that way.

We in the  opposition have been tirelessly working on bringing the plight of the rural people on the agenda for some time. Our last shadow budget put forward pioneering spending plan to address growth constraints in rural areas whereby TZS 150bn would be spent annually for three consecutive years. Targeted areas for this spending plan would be; rural roads, rural energy and rural water supply (including irrigation infrastructure). We went further to propose for the formulation of the rural development policy and establishment under the Office of the Prime Minister the Rural Development Authority with mandate to monitor initiatives and removing constraints to growth of the rural economy. This Authority would really do what Mr. Morisset suggests, the two models to propel the rural economy which are contract-farming monitoring and regulating and advancement IT use to rural areas.

These policy shift and initiatives would be empathized again in the 2012/2013 shadow Budget as we did last year. The government must spend enough money in rural investments as the shadow budget as we have prioritized. Low integration of the rural economy to the national economy makes poor people poorer compounded by the fact they will continue to sell their produce pegged at rural prices and buy their consumables at urban prices hit by inflation.

The proposals we have offered are hardly efforts to invent the wheel, it is based on our already existing infrastructure for the rural majority. We have Institute of Planning (Chuo cha Mipango) which its primary objective is to train village managers. We should put incentive for our rural managers to work and live there.

We are being faced by Tanzania with two sides, one for the rich (mainly urban) and the other for the poor (rural) and this is not acceptable. Mwalimu Nyerere warned about this in the Arusha Declaration and it is happening in our time. The Bottom 30m Tanzanians living in villages must be uplifted through inclusive growth policies less of extractive nature existing presently. The so called Maisha Bora kwa kila Mtanzania is meaningless if it caters only for the top 15 million and leaves behind The Bottom 30 millions.

The government must raise more domestic revenues from mining, telecom and now increasingly Oil and Gas sectors to finance rural development, Increasing agriculture productivity and hence cut poverty. Once we achieve agricultural growth rate of 6% and above, we would start seeing rural poverty ending. This can be done in our life time. These targets are achievable, What is needed is leadership.

11 Responses

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  1. Thank you Mr Kabwe. This is a succinct analysis of the policies and deliberate priorities by the government at Magogoni. These policies are aimed at keeping the 30+ millions of poor Tanzanians in the rural areas in abject poverty. It is not rocket science to see the facts in these misplaced policies. If you look at education, the expansion of school buildings and enrollment at the secondary level has failed to meet the quality education delivery expectations of the students and the country. This misplaced policy alone is leaving millions of poor children at ward schools uneducated each year. This is what I call the mis-education of poor masses in Tanzania.

    And yes. We can do better than what is currently done.

    The sad thing is that–this is just one among many policies put forth by the Magogoni government including Kilimo Kwanza that are not well executed in the rural areas. Saying that you will lend farmers tractors and farm implements to help them increase productivity is a very good thing. However, the realities in the villages are quite different. Very few farmers (peasants) can afford to buy a tractor outright. Many rely on the banking system to acquire the money to buy those tractors. The banks will not lend them money since they don’t have any type of collateral. It is hard and sometimes completely impossible for the land people to go to the villages and issue land titles for these poor souls. To sum this all up, only the rich and the well connected can actually take advantage of the Kilimo Kwanza policies hence leaving behind 30+ real people that would really benefit from this policy.

    My point here is that— we have seen these shenanigans over and over again. What could we do differently to make the right change for our PEOPLE?

    Shaaban Fundi

    June 12, 2012 at 3:25 PM

  2. Agreed. We need leaders with full of will to get us there.


    June 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM

  3. The maamuzi ya hovyo & kulindana has brought us up to here !


    June 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM

  4. only if we have a serious committed readership on top that will be step one but also we as a country have centralized all the power to one person.i dont see why district commisssioner should not be picked by the people of that same area,that would have a positive impact in bring up development and trust to their elected reader rather than hand picked one using the CURRENT SYSTEM.Constitutional amendment should serious look on this very distress issue of strip off this power from the president.this is the main cause of poverty keeps persisting to our country.THe government is too big for our economy to accomodate also the rulin a g party has been its doctrine picking the wrong readers whom are lazy likes to depend on foreign aids for their political servival.We need to change this lazy trend of begging hence thats strip off our confidence total independent as a nation.LET us see what will come out from Warioba with his team what cake they gonna put on the table.OUR views should be respected that is the first step toard having a better future for our country.Let us all now focus on monitoring and comment as much as we can to ensure that intellectual class plays a major role to bring up people views significantly into our constitutional review.

    david rugemarila

    June 12, 2012 at 4:47 PM

  5. Sure,All these mess we suffering from is because of leadership.Good policies are in place but zero implementation.this is the bomb we are creating by leaving the huge gape between poor(living in villages)and riches(living in towns)people are immigration from rural to urban who will be left in rural areas for production?we need good policies which are attainable. what is mkukuta 1,2 &3?because we have failed to implement the good policies in place.As youth,any where in this country ask yourself,stand at your place and act.

    Tumaini Madinda

    June 12, 2012 at 5:25 PM

  6. Kuna watu wapo wanatamani ccm tutateseka jamani, mimi moyo unaumia nikiona wakenya wanaendesha nchi yao kwa rasilimali chache walizonazo

    Bakari hassan

    June 12, 2012 at 6:48 PM

  7. On point! Let me read Morisset


    June 13, 2012 at 7:14 PM

  8. every thing is now clear, we really who is the thief and how are our country resources being stolen! what else do we need? if this generation does not make it possible, the liberation of TANZANIA from black colonialism let it be cursed!

    mtanzania wa kweli

    June 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

  9. Good article, however, I would distinguish between focusing on rural poor for their development and focusing on rural poor for political patronage. We have never stopped focusing on the rural poor in Tanzania, in fact I would support the claim that we are over focusing on rural poor. The problem is money goes to the rural poor in Tanzania in one hand and comes back to some greedy politicians and businessmen in another hand

    Talk of Kilimo Kwanza investments, the famous “Mamilioni ya JK”, bank loans, etc

    irenei kiria

    June 14, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    • Does focusing on the rural poor (lips services i.e kilimo kwanza) without really reaching them amount to anything?

      Shaaban Fundi

      June 15, 2012 at 10:05 PM

  10. […] few weeks ago Mr. Zitto Kabwe wrote an article on his blog “Kabwe na Demokrasia” entitled “The Bottom 30 Millions”. This article gave a succinct analysis of the deliberate […]

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