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The incidence of poverty varies greatly across the country but is highest among rural families living in arid and semi-arid regions that depend exclusively on livestock and food crop production. People of the central and northern highlands are nutritionally the most deficient, while coastal and southern highlands zones register the severest levels of poverty. From the point of view of policy and strategy design, no region is significantly better off than other, and are very poor by any international standard.

Poverty is caused by both internal and external factors. Whereas the internal causes can be clustered into economic and social factors, the external factors relate to international trade, the debt burden and refugee issues. Internal Causes of Poverty are ;

1. A poor agricultural sector contributes to poverty in acountry. Failure in the agricultural sector contributes to the increase of poverty. It is claimed that though agriculture is the backbone of the economy, the support given to the sector over the years has not been relative to its importance. This is indicated by poor rural infrastructure, lack of modern farm equipment, lack of fertilizers and pesticides at reasonable prices, low prices for agricultural produce, and lack of irrigation schemes.

2. A low level of science and technology has contributed to poverty in Tanzania. The use of scientific and technological knowledge inproduction helps to increase the economy of an individual country. In Tanzania, poor and/or inappropriate technology is still being used; this leads to low productivity in all sectors of production. For instance, a majority of farmers are still using hand hoes. This act has contributed a lot to the increase of poverty in Tanzania.

3. Government taxes contribute to poverty. Increasing taxes without considering people’s ability to pay contributes to the increase of poverty in Tanzania.

4. Lack of self-motivation to perform one’s duties due to laziness and irresponsibility has contributed a lot in increasing poverty. At the government level, officials do not deliver relevant services and goods to the people as required. This habit has hindered many people in implementing their various projects; for instance the issue of land and right of occupancy.

5. Mismanagement of public funds that could develop the common people. This is done by the government officers and top leaders who ought to set a good example. As a result, our country loses a lot of public funds through mismanagement. For instance, government officers and politicians are paid big allowances and use very expensive cars.

6. Common and communicable diseases such malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, TB and anemia are the main causes of death in Tanzania. Children youngerthan five years old are the most affected. Explosion of diseases such as HIV and AIDS, cholera and typhoid have increased the poverty problems. The government and family members are spending a lot of money for curative and preventive measures- money which could have been used to finance the agricultural and industrial sectors is used to fight such diseases.

7. Education; Majority of people of Tanzania, like other Africans are uneducated; this limits their ability to participate in the development of their country’s profitably. For instance, FAO’s1974report on the state of food and agriculture shows that Africa’s annual population growth from 1952 was 2.2% while food production growth from 1952 to 1962 was 0.0%.

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