“It’s all rosy for Tanzania,” runs the Daily News headline. It’s not about media freedom, the state of public services, political stability or religious tolerance, but another vitally important component in the country’s development – economic growth. The article goes on to give some impressive growth figures, by anyone’s standards:
“The 2013 African Economic Outlook Report, launched last week, confirmed the impressive performance of the economy, which grew [by] 6.9% in 2012 and is estimated to reach 7% this year and 7.2% in 2014.”
But another recent report raised some very important questions about this economic growth. In particular, is economic growth benefiting the poor?
I’m talking about the Afrobarometer survey series, which published its latest data and reports last week. Their survey results and analysis are always worth looking at, as the data is among the best data on public opinion across the continent. The latest round covered 35 countries. It hit the headlines for its conclusion that the “Africa Rising” narrative needs more nuance – see here in the Guardian, for example. Continue reading →
In particular, this post will mostly look at what the report says about Tanzania. But first, some more detail on the report as a whole.
The report details aid flows from traditional donors, of course, but also goes much further – looking at private investment, loans, remittances, aid spending by NGOs and non-traditional donors, for example. And as the chart below shows, these other sources of funds now dwarf aid (official development assistance, or ODA).
ODI have published a new political economy analysis of WASH, based on case studies of Sierra Leone and Vietnam. Great, I thought, the sector has long been dominated by engineers and administrators whose ideas of how planning should work tend to be limited to top-down blueprint planning, an injection of political economy thinking could be very useful.
But I’m very disappointed with the paper. For one thing, it comes across as having been put together by folks with little or no prior understanding of the water sector. For example:
The research project results suggest that there are two key distinctions that are relevant when carrying out PEA in the water supply and sanitation sector. First, the distinction between water supply and sanitation: Continue reading →
Let’s start with the good news. If you are a final year (St 7) Primary School student in Bukoba Urban, with parents who completed secondary education and who are not very poor, you went to pre-school and your family speaks Swahili at home, then you have a 95% chance of being able to completed Standard 2 level tests in Numeracy, Swahili and English.
And the bad news: If you are a St 7 student in Kibondo District, with parents who didn’t themselves attend school and are poor, the chance of you being able to complete the same tests is only 9%. Continue reading →
For years, the true state of household sanitation in Tanzania has been hidden by bad data. Household surveys have repeatedly found that around 85% of households across most of Tanzania have access to a pit latrine, with around 10% having better facilities (like flush toilets) and around 5% having nothing. This high level of access to basic latrines is a result of Mwl Nyerere’s Mtu ni Afya campaign in the 1970s.
But other than providing an opportunity for an interesting history lesson, this statistic was almost useless, as it made no distinction between well constructed, clean pit latrines and filthy, overflowing or uncovered pits. Now, at last, we have better data. Continue reading →
This week saw two announcements relating to education in Tanzania that at first appear to conflict. First, on Monday, it was announced in New York that Tanzania has been awarded a prize for its achievements towards the Millennium Development Goal for education. And then on Tuesday, Uwezo launched a report on educational standards that found, for example, that one in five primary school leavers cannot read at standard 2 level Kiswahili.
Of course there is no real contradiction. Tanzania has put huge efforts and resources into expanding access to both primary and secondary education, with some pretty impressive results (as Uwezo acknowledges), as long as the results you are talking about are increases in enrolment rates. Continue reading →
Who do Tanzanians have to bribe before they get a service? Which institutions demand the most bribes? What actions to citizens take if asked for a bribe? And do citizens think corruption is increasing or declining?
Last week the Kenyan chapter of Transparency International published the East African Bribery Index, to provide answers to these questions and promote debate on corruption within the region. They’ve certainly succeeded in the second part of this, getting a fair bit of coverage in the press and drawing responses from the heads of several of the institutions found to be most corrupt, including the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Blandina Nyoni. Continue reading →