Economic Growth

Challenges and Opportunities

b_300_200_16777215_00___images_article_images_un_programmes_un_economic-growth_01.jpgTanzania is rich in resources, but the vast majority of Tanzanians are poor. Even though Tanzania’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased steadily since 2000, growth has occurred in sectors where employment generation is low. A majority of Tanzanians who enter the labor market each year are employed in the agriculture and informal sectors where productivity and remunerations are low.

The country’s employment to population ratio stands at 80%, a relatively high ratio by global and regional standards. However, 36% of those employed live below the nationally defined poverty line, an indication of low productivity and a lack of decent work.

In addition to inadequate employment opportunities, the Tanzanian labor market has a gender bias. Women are paid lower wages than their male counterparts. Average monthly incomes amongst employed males are almost twice as high as those of female workers. Also the rate of unemployment is slightly higher among women. For example, in 2006, an estimated 12.6% of women were unemployed compared with 10.7% of men.

In Tanzania, agriculture accounts for one-quarter of the GDP, 85% of exports and employs nearly 80% of the workforce, 90% of whom are women. However, returns in this backbone sector have been very low due to: low agriculture productivity resulting from inadequate infrastructure investment and lack of access to farm inputs, extension services, credit, modern technology application, trade and marketing support. Heavy dependency on rain-fed agriculture and unsustainable use of natural resources also plays a role in reducing productivity. Together these factors have led to an excess of farm labor for the amount of productive land, capital and other inputs that are being deployed.  


United Nations in Action

b_200_140_16777215_00___images_article_images_un_programmes_un_economic-growth_03.jpgUN is supporting technical assistance and knowledge sharing to enable government ministries, departments, agencies, local government authorities and non-state actors to better manage the economy, promote equal access to economic opportunities, improve trade and use natural resources sustainably to spur productivity and job creation. These are important pro-poor activities, which have been recognized as leading to greater cuts in income poverty.

UN is also providing assistance to the Government in developing an inclusive growth strategy to help all Tanzanians to access opportunities for economic growth, in particular vulnerable groups such as women and people working in low paying sectors. This includes providing strategic inputs to promote pro-poor and environmentally sustainable economic development through policy advocacy, capacity development and knowledge sharing.

The UN Development Assistance Plan requires building analytical capacities within Government to help them make policy choices to develop a pro-poor public finance framework and invest in economic sectors that are most likely to accelerate growth and employment. The UN is also helping to strengthen national capacities in research, policy analysis and capacity development in the implementation of policies on national employment, productivity enhancement, trade development, the application of science, technology and innovation as well as the use of appropriate environment and population strategies.

Furthermore, support services including value chain development are an important part of the UN assistance to improve productivity, particularly in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and services where more livelihood opportunities exist for low-income households. The UN is facilitating national and sub-national enterprise creation and productivity in agriculture and agro-industries including sustainable access to markets and trade integration. These measures should enable more household enterprises and small businesses to enter the economic mainstream, thus broadening economic participation.


Programme At a Glance


Economic Growth


Support the Government of Tanzania in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.


July 2011 – June 2015



Implementing Agencies



Government of the United Republic of Tanzania

Total 4-year Budget

(In US$)



Tanzanian Workers, Farmers and Entrepreneurs



UN Economic Growth Action Plan

Key Results

The United Nations will help build the capacity for:-


Key national institutions to develop or enhance evidence-based pro-poor economic development policies and strategies


Local government authorities, agriculture support organizations and small-holder farmers to increase agricultural productivity, access to markets and food security


Relevant ministries, departments, agencies, local government authorities and non-state actors to enhance structures and policies for promoting viable pro-poor business sectors and small and medium-scale entrepreneurs


Relevant institutions to improve national capacities to promote regional integration and international trade


Key ministries, departments and agencies and non-state actors to enhance skills and entrepreneurship programmes to improve labour productivity and employment creation


Ministries, departments, agencies and non-state actors to improve implementation of labour standards in an effort to promote decent work and productivity benefits for employers and workers


Total 4-year Budget (in US$)



National Development Goals
(2011 – 2015)

National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty


Zanzibar Poverty Reduction Plan


  • Pursuing sound    macroeconomic management
  • Create an enabling environment for growth
  • Reducing Income poverty through promoting inclusive, sustainable and employment-enhancing growth
  • Promote sustainable and equitable pro-poor and broad based growth
  • Ensuring creation of productive and decent employment, especially for women and youth
  • Reduce income poverty and attain overall food security


  • Create a vibrant private sector for economic growth


Available Project Documents

UNDAP Documents

Economic Growth Fact Sheet

Economic Growth 2011-2012 Annual Work Plan

Millennium Development Goals


  • FAO
  • ILO
  • ITC
  • UNDP
  • UNEP
  • UNIC
  • UNV
  • UNWomen
  • WFP
  • WHO
  • imo
  • unctad
  • unescoblue
  • unhr
  • unicef

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