Livelihoods and Rural Poverty Reduction in Tanzania


Like other Sub-Saharan African countries, Tanzania is caught up in a process by which previous structural adjustment conditionalities are being replaced by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The Tanzania PRSP was published in October 2000 and accepted by the donor agencies as the basis for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in December 2000. This paper utilises research on rural livelihoods in ten sub-villages in the country’s Morogoro region to derive policy inferences relevant to the capacity of the PRSP to deliver its promises for poverty reduction in rural areas. Research findings show that rural poverty is strongly associated with lack of land and livestock, as well as inability to secure non-farm alternatives to diminishing farm opportunities. The circumstances of poor rural women are particularly precarious with negligible rights over key assets. The rural poor, and women, encounter an institutional context that is neutral or blocking rather than enabling for them to construct their own pathways out of poverty. Serious doubts surround current and future rural tax regimes, and the motivation of district councils to deliver improved services and to create more supportive environments for diverse activities to flourish. The PRSP process needs to address these disjunctures between its macro level goals and debilitating local level institutional contexts if real gains in rural poverty reduction are to be realised.


Ellis, F.; Mdoe, N. Livelihoods and Rural Poverty Reduction in Tanzania. (2002) 29 pp. [LADDER Working Paper No.11]

Livelihoods and Rural Poverty Reduction in Tanzania

Published 1 January 2002