Environment and Ecology Research Vol. 5(1), pp. 30 - 38
DOI: 10.13189/eer.2017.050104
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Tanzanian Controversy on Resources Endowments and Poverty

Msafiri Yusuph Mkonda 1,2,*, Xinhua He 1,3
1 Centre of Excellence for Soil Biology, College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, China
2 Department of Physical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania
3 School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Australia


This paper examines the existing resources curse in Tanzania with detailed analyses on the controversy. A country with high resources endowments: i.e. about 44 million hectares of arable land, precious minerals, forests resources, water and wildlife but is among the poorest countries in the planet Earth. Here we reviewed over 25 reports, journal papers and books and found that all precious natural resources have insignificant contribution to socio-economic development of the people. The resource curse is confirmed in about all resources as there is no correlation between the quality of life and resources endowments. In recent years, the country has recorded the lowest per capita income at $ 960 with weak purchasing power parity. This declares that all consumptions, investments and government spending are insignificant. In addition, approximately 75% of the population depends on under-developed smallholder primary agricultural production, small-scale mining and other micro economic sector. Under such a situation, about 51% of the Tanzanians are poor and roughly one-third of these people live in abject poverty. Similarly, despite of the recent discovery of 2.17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposit, more than 50% of households have no access to basic requirements such as electricity, medical care etc. The human development index = 0.521 (low) i.e. life expectancy has decreased to about 50 years, illiteracy rate is about 68%, high rates of malnutrition and poor access to safe water both in urban and rural areas are other acute problems to the Tanzanians. Food insecurity is about 41% of households due to poor yields. The major causes for all these misfortunes are poor governance, policy failure, interference of political interest in professionalism, inadequate technology and corruption just to mention a few. Despite of the efforts as stipulated in section 7 of this paper, it is further projected that competition over resources use is expected to elevate being from within and outside the country. This will exacerbate the level of poverty among the poor and increase their vulnerability. To address the problem, the government needs to undertake serious and sustainable measures over the control and use of natural resources.

Extractive Sector, Natural Resources Curse, Poverty, Tanzania, Weak Governance

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Msafiri Yusuph Mkonda , Xinhua He , "Tanzanian Controversy on Resources Endowments and Poverty," Environment and Ecology Research, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 30 - 38, 2017. DOI: 10.13189/eer.2017.050104.

(b). APA Format:
Msafiri Yusuph Mkonda , Xinhua He (2017). Tanzanian Controversy on Resources Endowments and Poverty. Environment and Ecology Research, 5(1), 30 - 38. DOI: 10.13189/eer.2017.050104.