By Gabriel Andre – Art in Tanzania internship
TANZANIA, A DEVELOPING COUNTRY IN THE MIDST OF AN ECOLOGICAL SHIFT
Economic and demographic development
Þ General introduction
Tanzania is lauded as one of the most peaceful and stable countries in Africa. Since its independence, the country has moved to a multi-party democracy that allows a separation of powers. Tanzania, being the mainland, has an Island called Zanzibar. Tanzanian’s economic development largely depends on agriculture. Since the 1990’s, the country has had strong economic growth and was predicted to be one of the fastest economic growth in the world. Nevertheless, it is one of the poorest economies in Africa in terms of per capita incomes, and the overall growth rate is due to the growth of the tourism sectors (safaris, Zanzibar recreational facilities) and gold mining. Most of the people that I have met here have been a tour guide for at least one or two years. It is the case for example of Hadija, who started as a day trip tour guide for Art in Tanzania and has now become a team leader in social sector projects. Tourism is the second pillar of the Tanzanian economy as it provides employment to many jobless people. The development of tourism has led to the improvement of the infrastructures of regions with tourist accommodations. Tanzania expects about 750,000 tourists to arrive in the country every year according to the United Nations Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP).
The main export commodities include gold, tobacco, fish products, coffee, cotton, diamonds, horticulture, and sisal. Tanzania’s main trading partner are China, Switzerland, South Africa, Kenya, and India.
Agave sisalana, known as Sisal, is a plant native to southern Mexico. It’s a very resistant fiber is widely used for ropers, fabrics, or carpets.
The country of Tanzania is mainly composed of two religions: Christianity and Muslim.
Both religions live in perfect harmony thanks to Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere. Each religion is respectful to the other beliefs. The island of Zanzibar is mainly composed of Muslims representing 96% of its population.
Þ Demographic development
On October 24th, 2020, Tanzania’s population was estimated at 59 million whereas on July 1st, 2015 it was at 52 million. Due to high birth rates in the country, on March 18th, 2021, the total population approached t0 61,006,138 which represents 0.77 % of the total world population. In 6 years, Tanzania’s population has seen an increase of 8 million people whereas during the same period the French population has an increase of less than 1 million. Around 37% of the Tanzania’s population is urban.
Also, 44% of the population constitutes of people under the age of 15, 52 % between 15 and 64 and 3.1 % is above 64 years old. Tanzania is built through a variety of cultures and traditions whereas the country is divided into 120 ethnicities, Sukuma being the largest one representing 16% of the total population. Despite aids and grants from the IMF, Tanzania is still dependent on foreign countries due its serious debt. It has an external debt of about $USD 7.9 billion and the debt servicing constitutes about 40% of the government expenditures. In order to repay this debt, the country is forced to qualify for loans from other countries. Adelaide Mkwawa, ICT and Communications Officer at Climate Action Network Tanzania is preoccupied by Tanzanian debt “A lot of aids are coming from other countries such as Switzerland, USA, China but it’s more to have a position in the country then to help. Tanzanians are really dependent on every domain on foreign aids”.
One of the main concerns in Tanzania is the eradication of poverty. According to the World Bank data, in 2017, 49.4 % of Tanzania’s population were living under the 1.90$ per day (the price per day in 2011) which is almost half of the population. The absence of resources to conduct surveys engender difficulties for the World Bank to grasp data updates. In this same year, the World Bank announced that 76.8 % of Tanzanians were under the 3.20 $ a day poverty headcount ratio (PPP in 2011) and 91.80 % under the 5.50 $ one’s. As a comparison, France’s 5.50$ poverty headcount ratio in 2017 is under the 0.1%.
The development of trade in Tanzania has played a key role in eradicating poverty in the country since the private sector controls the growth of the national economy. Major imports include capital goods, intermediate goods, and consumer goods with trading partners such as the USA, China, Norway, UK, Finland, Kenya and Zambia. Trade has led to the attraction of foreign investors due to its proof of the availability of political stability and natural gas discoveries. On the other hand, Tanzania is becoming more dependent on those countries’ financial investments.
Þ Environmental politics in Tanzania
Non-Banking financial Institutions and non-governmental organizations play a key role in the deployment of free education to citizens especially to women in the rural areas to make them aware of what is going on in the economy and the environmental issues. The Tanzanian government has established environment sections in all its ministers and a key result of it is the integration of environmental issues into the Medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) budgeting. This money should help NGOs working for the climate to play a major role. Nevertheless, Adelaide Mkwawa has never seen those governments funds when she was at the United National Appeal Tribunal (UNAT) or at the Climate action Network (CAN) where she currently works nowadays. Same conclusion for Hadija, Team leader at Art in Tanzania, non-governmental organization who promotes volunteer and intern projects in the field of climate change, education, social work, medical and health practices, social media, arts and music, sports, and HIV/AIDS awareness. “For my experiences, I’ve never heard if there were any funds from the government to Art in Tanzania which can help on environmental projects. Maybe the government planned to provide funds to NGOs, but the fund didn’t reach Art in Tanzania yet. It’s my hope that if there are some funds for NGOs, then Art in Tanzania will be among those NGOs to be considered”, Hadija said.
The biggest problem regarding environmental policies is the lack of information and communication. The government doesn’t provide any information about the strategies nor about any concrete actions put in place. Most of the research I’ve done guided me to environmental information provided by other countries or institutions (U.S Agency for international development, United Nations Environment Program, Netherland’s government, etc.) or from the last government environment data updates, which was in 2013. For more recent information, it’s necessary to talk directly with a government employees, but as you can imagine, it’s even harder than to see a cheetah in a safari. According to Adelaide Mkwawa, even the Parliamentarian Assembly for Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (Parliaments Assembly) has given information and strategies on how to implement the SDG’s in the government budget. That’s where the UNAT’s helps come to a limit. After this, the government takes responsibility for the project. “That’s why there is a lack of information and monitoring. Really hard to find the progress because the government hides a lot of info,” said Adelaide.
The African Union estimates that corruption around Africa represents $50 billions of losses each year. Lots of changes have been made in all African countries to eradicate corruption. Legislation has been drafted and anti-corruption authorities have been formed. However, on the ground, approximately everywhere and especially in Tanzania, nothing seems to have changed. Corruption is a noneconomic factor which creates a gap among the Tanzanians’ people. Since 1968, with the creation of the Anti-corruption commissions in Africa (Bertelsmann foundation 2014), Tanzania has tried to combat corruption. Most of Tanzanian’s presidents ‘ mandates were standing on the fight against corruption. In 1995, President Benjamin Mkapa declared “war” to corruption, and he organized the Presidential commission against corruption to assess the state for corruption and highlight some recommendations. This led to the adoption of the National Anti-Corruption strategy and Action plan (NASCAP) in 1999 and to the implementation of a revised NASCAP from the new president Jakaya Kikwete in 2005. At the end of 2014, a new report was made with a new anti-corruption strategy. All that information proves that, at the end of 2015, corruption had risen compared to 2005 and was less transparent than ever. Despite the government’s efforts, Tanzania continues to suffer badly from rampant corruption at all levels. Good governance is essential for the reduction of poverty and controlling corruption in the country. Tanzania faces both grand and petty corruption due to weak government laws in different agencies. Most of the foreign investors have stated that corruption in areas like taxation, customs service, and procurement, create a difficult environment for them to do business in the country, due to the high demand for bribery.
The diagram above shows us the corruption rate level from low (=1) to high (=6). Tanzania is parts of the countries that observe the highest rate of corruption. In a comparison, the USA and France are not even listed in the World Bank dataset because their respectful rate is under 1. Cape Verde and Bhutan are the two countries who faced the highest corruption with a 4.5 rate.
New president Magafuli, like his predecessors, has made the fight against corruption a point of honor of his mandates. Nicknamed “the Bulldozer” because of its style of leadership earned himself credibility for its fight against corruption. He rebuilt lost trusts with foreigners’ donors and with his population by firing publics officials that was incompetent and corrupt. In November and December 2016, six senior officials in the Tanzania Revenue Authority were fired and pushed away.
Unfortunately, president Magafuli was fighting alone in this battle and against top officials, influential leaders and wealthy powerful people. Despite the efforts and the hope Magafuli was bringing to Tanzanian’s people, corruption is still one of the main problems in Tanzania. As a personal example, I was able to see and experience this drama of corruption through my trip by car between the city of Arusha and the city of Moshi. In only 3 hours, we were stopped no less than 9 times without any reason, and we had to pay between 1000 and 4000 schillings each time. This represents between 50 cents and 2 euros. Sometimes the bill is more expensive, sometimes they let you pass, it’s random. With 91.8 % of the population living with less than 5.5 USD per day and 48.9% under the 1.9USD, corruption is a disaster.
Unfortunately, President Magafuli passed away on this Wednesday, 17 of March 2021 at the age of 61 years old. For instance, vice-president, Samia Suhulu Hassan was sworn in as a president and became the first East African country’s female president. Because of Magafuli 21 days of mourning, President Hassan didn’t expose yet her strategy to avoid Tanzania corruption.
Sectors Promoting Economic Development of Tanzania
As the main economic activity of Tanzania, agriculture contributes to 26% of the GDP and employs about 75% of the labor force. Agriculture, being the key sector of the economy, assists in poverty reduction especially in the rural areas where most people cannot afford to buy food nor have any food security. Not only does agriculture provide employment opportunities but also provides 95% of the food to the people. During the 1990s, agriculture was mainly controlled by the government but after the liberalization of the economy, many people engaged freely in this activity. Some areas received enough rainfall throughout the year making it easy for cultivation while other areas are prone to tsetse flies which badly affect the production of crops.
The lack of access to the banking sector makes it difficult for farmers to obtain loans to carry out their production since only 9% have access to financial services and only 4% are able to obtain loans. Small holder farmers have low education and knowledge resulting in poor quality of crops. This causes the crops to fetch low prices in the markets. Tanzania depends on export of cash crops which increases revenue. Since the 20th century, the main exported commodity is coffee and each year 30 to 40,000 metric tons are being produced whereby 30% is Robusta and 70% is Arabica. But none of this coffee is consumed by Tanzanian people, as they prefer cheaper and low-quality coffee. About $115 million is generated from coffee exportations. Coffee consumption is at 7% of its total production in the national output (Gupta & Bose, 2019).
According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), only 24% only out of the 44 million hectares of land have been utilized for the cultivation of crops. Moreover, the existence of water resources, favorable climatic conditions and fertile lands have led to a decrease in poverty condition.
Challenges facing the agriculture sector include:
- High rainfall dependency and low irrigation process
- Lack of agricultural knowledge and low level of technology such as use of ploughs
- Lack of financial access to obtain farm inputs, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides
- Low quality of agricultural production resulting in crops fetching low market prices
- Lack of storage facilities and poor infrastructure in the rural areas making it difficult to transport commodities to be processed and sold
To face these challenges, the government created the Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank. This bank was established in 2015 to ensure the implementation of agricultural policies and strategies guiding the performance of the sector in general. Agriculture is also the first sector badly affected by climate change. Without help and innovations in the next 20 years, Tanzania will probably face a decrease of 80% of its actual production, which will plunge the country into deep poverty.
Þ Mining industry
Mining is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Tanzanian economy. In 2013 it contributed to about 3.3% of the country’s GDP, largely changing the economic growth of Tanzania. The country is endowed with various mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, gemstones, nickel, coal, tanzanite, and uranium. Natural gas exploration of about 55 trillion cubic feet has been discovered, helping to supply electricity in the country. UK, India, China, USA, South Africa, Kenya, Netherlands, Oman, Canada, and Germany are the main investors in the Tanzanian mining sector. Like in many countries around the globe, the mining sector demonstrates multiple challenges for climate change such as health security and illegal practices. Here are some examples of the impacts of the Mining Sector in Tanzania:
- Silica dust affecting the miners as well as tuberculosis disease
- Existence of illegal mining in the country creating risk to the workers
- Previous Minister of Mining and Energy resource was found guilty after conducting frauds deals and supplying gold to some firms
- Child labor employed in mines
There was a serious case on the 17th of April 2015, where 19 people were killed after the collapse of an illegal mine near the Bulyanhulu Gold mine in the Kahama district. Many children were rescued from the same collapse. Most of the developed countries involved in the Tanzanian mining sector, already know these problems but the economic interest is too high to politically be involved in the reduction of those challenges.
Þ Financial sector
Rural areas in Tanzania do not have access to the banking sector because people do not own valuable assets which would support loan extensions. There is also the lack of education on how banks operate. Most of the rural population have a day-to-day life, only using cash and have no use of credit cards. Even people with a reasonable income mainly use cash. Indeed, if you have a flow ,even low, of cash entering your bank account, then institutions know that you are running a business and then lots of fees appear. That’s why most people use cash in their daily lives and apart from tourist’s facilities, credit cards are not accepted.
Þ Transport sector
Transport is very important in any economy to facilitate smooth trade. Tanzanian roads are maintained under the management of an agency called TANROADS “Tanzanian Roads” which has been able to improve the national roads. Road safety still remains a major problem due to poor maintenance of vehicles, overloading, flooding, and poor driving. Tanzania is planning to import about 138 Chinese modern buses into Dar es Salaam. This is due to the support provided by the government through the improvement of the marine transports by modernizing ports and increase spending on infrastructure. The port currently collects over TZS 40 billion per month which represents almost 18 million euros.