Tanzania’s Poverty Reduction Strategy assumes that export-led development will be the other pillar of accelerated economic growth. Aside from agriculture, the Strategy assumes that mining, tourism and manufacturing will expand from their present low levels. However, both mining and tourism are in a sense “enclave” activities with weak linkages with the rest of the economy. Thus, accelerated growth in these sectors will not necessarily reduce poverty dramatically unless the resource gains from their growth are properly distributed, with implications for the efficacy of social transfers. With respect to manufacturing, a plethora of studies have reviewed the legal and regulatory framework and made recommendations on how to improve it. In any event, in the short to medium-term, Tanzania is likely to continue being vulnerable to exogenous shocks in commodity prices due to its primary good dependence.
The Export Development Strategy of 1996 took a comprehensive look at export competitiveness and the path for accelerated export-led growth. While it was slow to be implemented because of institutional weaknesses, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has recently decided to take it forward. With the support of Sida, the Ministry is writing a Government White Paper on Trade Policy. Finally, DFID is financing a major body of research under the “African Trade and Poverty Programme” (ATTP) on the multilateral trading system and how Tanzania can best be helped to cope with some of the potentially adverse effects. ATTP aims to inter alia enhance government’s capacity to analyse the impact of trade reforms on trade and on different groups of poor people, enhance government capacity to formulate and implement trade negotiation strategies which reflect the poverty reduction and environmental opportunities and threats posed by trade liberalisation, establish mechanisms to facilitate reshaping of central budgetary and economic reform processes to better reflect the poverty and threats posed by trade liberalisation and the need for complementary policies. Tanzania is one of the first countries that will be carrying out this analysis.
Key research issues entail gaining a better understanding of the existing and potential export subsectors.
What are the labour intensities in the various export subsectors? Is there a regional pattern? What is the differential participation of men and women in the export subsectors?
Which exports are most vulnerable to global price fluctuations? What has the experience been with commodity price fluctuations and poverty and income inequality?
Does the export diversification strategy have explicit short-term strategies to deal with commodity price shocks?
The need to expand the domestic market in consonance with agriculture growth and development has also been noted (Mbilinyi et al 1999). The expansion of agriculture processing industry, for example, will increase the local market for agriculture goods and services, while providing more employment and reducing the need for foreign exchange to access imported products. More generally, a better understanding is needed on internal trade (see Tsikata and Madete 2000 for a brief review of the internal trade sector).
What is the magnitude of internal trade? What are constraints that the sector faces? What are essential policy interventions to encourage internal trade?
In addition to economic growth, the expansion of social services reduces poverty and social inequality as well when tied to specific redistribution measures. Social service delivery has declined in the public sector during the 1980s through the 2000s, and inequality appears to have risen sharply in access to quality health and education. This partly reflects the growth of private systems of health and education, which favour those with higher income levels. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also undermined the capacity of the public health system to deliver, while reducing people’s quality of life, increasing poverty and causing a crisis for children and youth. Research topics related to these and related areas of human development are considered below.
1. Education Policy
There has been a tremendous decline in the quality and availability of public education services at all levels in Tanzania.
What has been the impact of the decline in public education and increased education inequities on differential incomes and economic opportunities for different income, rural-urban, gender and cultural groups?
What are alternative financing strategies which could provide the needed resources for ‘education for all’, excluding user fees?
The PRS education strategy focuses on mapping of education facilities at district level, and the abolition of user fees at primary school level.
To what extent do these strategies address the bottlenecks to quality and equitable education for all? What are additional strategies and measures to ensure access to quality education for all at primary and secondary level?
Only slightly more than half of school aged children are enrolled in primary school, representing a major decline compared to near 100% enrolment in the early 1980s. A large number of children drop out of school because of school costs and the need of poor families for the earnings of child labour and/or unpaid family labour. According to UNICEF data of 1997, out of every 100 children of primary school age, only 56 enrolled in school (cited in kuleana 1999). Out of those 56 children enrolled in school, only 38 completed primary school. Of the 38 who completed primary school, only 6 proceeded to secondary school, one of the lowest ratios in Africa.
The main determinants of school enrolment and advancement are family income, rural-urban location, gender, ethnicity and disability. On the latter point, there are only 16 special primary schools for children with disabilities – only 3% of children with disabilities receive any form of basic education (kuleana 1999: 14).
What strategies have poor families, communities and the children themselves adopted to overcome barriers to their children’s schooling?
What specific measures are needed to open education to children with disabilities in rural and urban areas, especially those living in poverty?