Home The News: Tanzania: unemployment rate drops by 1 per cent in five years
Tanzania: unemployment rate drops by 1 per cent in five years
Written by TIMES REPORTER   
Friday, 16 December 2011 06:47


THE number of unemployed people out of Tanzania's workforce of more than 22m has fallen to 10.7 per cent in 2011, from the 11.7 per cent recorded in 2006, new projections by the National Bureau of Statistics show. Estimates are that the country is home to 2,368,672 unemployed persons this year, out of a 'labour force'  estimated to be 22,152,320-strong. In other words, 19,783,648 Tanzanians are currently employed, out of whom 2,502,327 persons are employed in the informal sector of the economy.

However, the measly one per cent drop in the unemployment rate over five years is a sad reflection of the failure of programmes specifically designed for economic development and poverty reduction.  For example, earlier projections under the National Strategy for Growth & Reduction of Poverty (NSG&RP,  popularly known by the ki-Swahili acronym MKUKUTA) were that the unemployment rate would have dropped to seven per cent by 2010.

MKUKUTA is a development framework which forms part of Tanzania’s efforts to deliver on its National Vision-2025. The focus is outcome-orientated, and the programme ? whose first phase covered the years2005-2010 ? aims at economic growth and reduction of income poverty; improved quality of life and social well-being; and good governance and accountability.

However, the issue of youth employment has remained a major challenge for the Government in Dar. In any case, a majority of the country's youth are currently engaged in informal economic activities, including petty trading. Statistics from different sources show that the informal sector accounts about 60 per cent of all employment opportunities in Tanzania. The agriculture sector and government, both of which were major employers before economic liberalization took firm hold in the late 1980s and early 1990s, have taken the back seat.

Now, the private sector, which is the deemed engine of economic development and growth today, has claimed the major share of employment generation in the country.

However, this is not to say that Agriculture has ceased to engage the services of much of the nation's workforce: up to 80 per cent of the labour force! But, the slow growth of agricultural activities, compounded by increased  rural-to-urban migration among youths are playing havoc with unemployment rates in Tanzania.

Last year’s projection shows that the level of unemployment amongst youth in Tanzania stood at 13.4 per cent. Females unemployment is 14.3 per cent, while that of males stood at 12.3 per cent. However, an official from the Labour Statistics at the NBS told Business Times in an interview recently that these projections were based on 2006 data!

Noting that Tanzania has not carried out a Labour Survey as such since 2006, the official stated that “the released data may be real, or not real,” stressing that the Bureau has been using projections rather than actual data collected on the ground!
“The unemployment trend published in the recent projections might not be real,” he said in a telephone conversation on Wednesday this week!
In any case, the 2006 Integrated Labour Force Survey showed that “2,194,392 persons were unemployed, equivalent to 11.7 per cent of the total Labour Force population in the country.”

During that period, “the Labour Force population was 18,821,525, out of whom 16,627,133 persons were employed ? and, among the employed, 1,682,383 persons were in informal sector activities.

“It is obvious that most Tanzanians engage in a range of activities to earn a living. As a result, the unemployment rate seems to be low, compared to most people's understanding, which confuses between employment in the informal sector activities and employment in the formal sector economy,”  the latest NBS report reads in part.

An official from Bureau says “the Government is planning to conduct another Integrated Labour Force Survey in the year 2013, results of which are to update the Labour Market information!”

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