Tanzanians are very worried about the state of the economy, despite some impressive headline figures on growth.
When asked in the 2012 Afrobarometer survey how they view the state of the economy, Tanzanians were consistently much less positive than the rest of the continent:
- Less Tanzanians (8%) were positive about the current state of the economy than in any other country.
- Twice as many Tanzanians said that they thought the economy had got worse in the past twelve months (51%) as said it had got better (25%).
- Less Tanzanians (22%) said that they expected the economy to improve in the coming twelve months than in any other country.
When asked about their personal financial circumstances, Tanzanians were similarly negative.
- Fewer Tanzanians (8%) than any other country said their current circumstances were good.
- Tanzanians had the lowest expectations of what the future would hold for their personal situation, with only 23% expecting an improvement.
While most Africans think their personal situation is getting better, Tanzanians think theirs is getting worse. And most Africans think their national economies are improving, but Tanzanians think theirs is getting worse.
These findings are surprising. There are plenty of reasons to be positive about Tanzania’s economy, as well as good reasons to be sceptical. But I certainly did not expect Tanzanians views on the state of the economy to be as bad as this – the worst in Africa.
For the Tanzanian government, proud of its record on economic growth, this must be a very worrying conclusion. Or at least, it should be. People with low hopes tend to want change, and more than anything, this survey shows that Tanzanians have low hopes.
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About the data
This is one in a series of blogposts based on the Afrobarometer survey data – some of the best available data on public opinion across the continent. It’s a rich and detailed dataset, and has an excellent online data analysis tool. Data for the 2012 survey was collected in Tanzania by REPOA under the direction of an impressive list of partners running the programme Africa-wide.