Tanzania’s population growth rate of 2.9% is just 4 points below the highest rate of growth in the world according to Mr Samwel Msokwa, the UNFPA Programme Specialist on Population and Development, interviewed in the Daily News. But, it is set to go down in 2012. The expert said that this was likely to be viewed as a positive development by analysts. Time and again the government had been worried over the country’s population growth trend, saying it created high rates of unemployment if it is not matched with economic growth.

Tanzania’s Director of Programmes at UMATI, Mr Simon Mbele, hailed the development, saying that the high population growth rates remained a major challenge to government’s efforts to reduce poverty and provide adequate social services. He said the major concern, according to their statistics, was that the increase in the number of people was not reflecting a proportionate growth of the economy. Mr Mbele noted that it had been argued in some circles that such population growth is good for the country and that it creates large markets and therefore positively contributes to growth and development. On the contrary, he said that for population growth to be productive, it should have a demographic dividend. “A demographic dividend is a situation where the people in a country possess high productive skills that create both domestic and international competitiveness.” he said.

The country has carried out four post independence censuses including 1967, 1978, 1988, 2002 and the fifth is set for next year.

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