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The Tanzanian economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for about 50 percent of the gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture provides 85 percent of exports, and is by far the largest employer. Lack of technical know-how, agricultural input, capital, unpredictable climate and unreliable markets contribute to low levels of output. The following are the main indicators of poverty in developing countries like Tanzania;-

1. Lack of clean and safe water in a community is one of the major indicators of poverty. Tanzanian statistics show that by 1993, this service was provided to 75 percent of urban dwellers compared to only 46.4 percent of those living in the rural areas.

The situation of family income, particularly in rural communities, is probably worse today because most families are heavily dependent on agriculture which in turn isaffected by unpredictable rainfall, lack of capital, agricultural inputs and unreliable market. This has led toa higher rate of poverty among rural communities, and distorted the traditional Tanzanian support system.

2. There is a common belief that traditionally, the extended family in Tanzanian societites provides social and economic support for its family members in times of need. This has shown a high degree of self-reliance in the past in coping with other social disasters including famine, drought and economic hardships. Under this system, majority of the family members spend their resources supporting and caring for a person in need. However, as result of poverty, members of the extended family find it difficult to meet the traditional obligations for all members of their extended family and in some cases, even their children.

3. Inadequate health services are another sign of poverty in the country. Most illness are associated with poverty. In Tanzania, poor health services have been responsible for the prevalence of infectious diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, and tuberculosis. For example, according to Health Statistical Abstract (1977) there was one hospital bed per one thousand people.

4. A high mortality rate is another sign of poverty. According to the Health Statistical Abstract (1977), the average life expectancy at birth in Tanzania is 50 years compared to life expectancy of 77 years in developed countries. The infant mortality rate is 96 per 1 000 live births compared to 7 in developed countries.

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