What population growth portends for Tanzania

What you need to know:

  • The rate of population growth in Tanzania is among the fastest in the world, and this has been common knowledge for many years now.

Results of the 2022 Population and Housing Census announced on Monday are quite sobering. According to the sixth post-independence census, which took place for ten days from August 23, Tanzania’s population is around 61.7 million – 61,741,120 to be precise.

This is not very far from estimates of around 60 million in the weeks and months leading up to the census.

What is mind-blowing, however, is the pace at which Tanzania’s population has been growing over the years.

The first post-independence population held in 1967 established that Tanzania’s population back then was around 12.3 million, and had increased to about 45 million ten years ago.

The increase of 16.8 million in the last decade represents an annual growth of 3.2 percent.

At this rate, Tanzania’s population is projected to increase to about 68 million by 2025, and hit a staggering 151 million by 2050, which is a mere 28 years away.

The rate of population growth in Tanzania is among the fastest in the world, and this has been common knowledge for many years now.

Not surprisingly, President Samia Suluhu Hassan voiced her concern when she unveiled the results in Dodoma.

The pace at which the population is growing puts tremendous pressure on key natural resources, which are either fixed or finite.

It should also be noted that delivery of social services such as health and education has not been keeping pace with population growth in recent decades. There is already haphazard expansion of urban areas in the country, and Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, is among the fastest growing cities in the world.

There are no prices for guessing that the situation will only get worse if the trend continues.

The government has its work cut out, as it is highly unlikely that the population growth with slow down in the foreseeable future.

Tanzanians need to be aware of the adverse effects unrestrained population growth, and so that they take collective responsibility when push comes to shove.

It’s food for thought

The global food situation is not very reassuring, with a child dying of hunger every 15 seconds, and a billion people going to bed hungry daily. One in every nine people is chronically hungry, according to the WFP.

It is food for thought, particularly in Tanzania, where around 48 million people, or 80 per cent of the total population, are dependent on mainly subsistence agriculture for their livelihood.

More than 40 per cent of the population lives in chronic food-deficit regions where irregular rainfall causes recurring food shortages.

It is time for sober reflection. Since independence, agriculture has been touted as the mainstay of the country’s economy, but, sadly, the situation on the ground does not reflect the rhetoric that has been ringing in Tanzanians’ ears for over six decades.

The threat of hunger will continue to loom large if comprehensive measures are not taken to completely transform our rain-dependent agriculture.