Tanzania has made sustained economic progress in the last decade with GDP growth of over 6 per cent per annum. At the same time, it has delivered heartening results in the MDG 4 target for child survival, reducing under-five mortality by 40 per cent between 2005 and 2015. To ensure that the fruits of development reach all sections of society, the government's seminal Tanzania Development Vision 2025 clearly articulates the agenda for transforming the country into one that is equitable, safe and provides an enabling environment in which children can thrive.
The historic thrust of Tanzania’s egalitarian policy is undermined by deep social disparities which limit children’s access to services and life chances. Inequities in education, health, water, sanitation and protection from violence exist at multiple levels, including a child's place of residence, gender and family socioeconomic status. As long as these remain, Tanzania’s efforts to build a strong foundation for sustained growth will be hampered.
As Tanzania approaches middle-income status, rapid population growth, growing urbanization and the increase in the absolute number of poor people in the country are causes for concern. More than a quarter of Tanzanians still live in poverty, unable to put food on the table, access healthcare or keep a roof over their heads. Poverty has devastating effects on children. Nearly one third of Tanzanian children live in income poverty while as many as 74 per cent experience multidimensional poverty, suffering deprivation in three or more areas such as health, nutrition, water, sanitation, housing, education, child protection and access to information.
The multiple effects of poverty on children are also crippling. Even temporary deprivation experienced by young children, for example a period of food insecurity or missed schooling, can have a profound impact on their future capabilities and, in turn, their nation’s future prospects. This is of particular concern given the fact that half of Tanzania's population is under 18 years of age.