International Strategies on Poverty Reduction in Africa

Poverty reduction

Poverty reduction. Poverty reduction and eventually eradication has been a major goal of African governments since the time of their independence and a major goal of the international community since 1950s. While there are many cause of poverty which interact, there is clear agreement that for poverty to reduced in any sustained way, there needs to be political will to take determined action to address these causes, and to mobilize the involvement of local civil society organizations and the private sector’s financial and technical resources (Mbilinyi 1999, cited in Shao 2004)


International Community

The international community has applied a number of strategies for poverty reduction in the continent such as the modernization movement of 1950’s, the reformist period in the 1970’s which aimed at meeting the social needs in the community; it worked as it addressed people’s needs but failed to be sustainable as nobody was ready to fund it further, and the people did not own it, and then in the 1980 the Structural Adjustments Programme (SAPs) was introduced with the same purpose; it did not succeed as it imposed on sub Saharan governments what to do such as reducing the number of civil servants, imposing social services user fee; a practice that did not exist before(Handley, 2009).


International Community strategies


The SAP, instead of helping people, it became a heavy burden to sub Saharan governments and so it failed too. Recently, the international community (IC) has introduced another strategy for the same purpose. Decent work is productive employment for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, provides security in the workplace and social protection for workers and their families (International Labour Organization (ILO), 2007).

Decent work is conceptualized as having four pillars which are interdependent and mutually reinforcing: a) Access to productive employment and income opportunities,

b) stability and security of work

c) Social protection; and

d) Social dialogue.


The decent work agenda therefore is an approach to development that emphasizes employment that is accompanied by rights, representation and protection. Decent work represents an approach to development as well as an outcome. The Decent work agenda entails building respect for international labour standards and social dialogue into development processes (Bell and Newitt, 2010)


Problem Statement

It is more than 60 years of the international community strategies through different specialized organizations trying to reduce poverty in the SSA countries. The efforts have had limited or failed to yield desired results at all. The failure has provoked scholars consider a new perspective; they argue that solutions to be applied to African problems, specifically poverty reduction in SSA, must be developed and implemented by Africans in Africa (Abrokwaa, 1999; Shao, 2004; Mkandawire, 2005; Matunhu, 2011; Ndianefoo, 2011) so as to obtain the required results.


Despite the proposition from scholars and the failure of the international strategies to reduce poverty for more than half a century in the continent and more especially in SSA, African leaders and the international community have introduced yet another international approach to reduce and finally eradicate poverty from the continent. Decent work agenda has been adopted as a new international strategy to mitigate poverty in the world in general and in SSA in particular (ECA, 2005).


The decent work agenda in Tanzania ran as a pilot study from 2006 until 2010. It had three priority areas namely

(1) Poverty reduction through creation of decent work opportunities with a focus on young women and men.

(2) Incidence of child labour and its worst forms reduced and,

(3) Socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS at the workplace mitigated. It included cross cutting priorities which strengthen the social dimenstions of East Africa for a fair globalization (ILO, 2006).


This study intends to investigate the effectiveness of decent work agenda in the process of poverty reduction in Tanzania with a focus on young women and men. It seeks to bridge the gap between (internalist scholars’) i.e (scholars who push for African solution to African problems be found in Africa and by Africans) point of view on one hand and the international community (IC) and African leaders on the other. The study is expected to shed light on whether to rely on African grown solutions or support the international created strategy in poverty eradication in SSA.


Aim of the Study
To assess the effectiveness of decent work agenda in Tanzania in the efforts to eradicate poverty in the country
Research questions

  1. How effective is decent work agenda in poverty eradication in Tanzania?
  2. How has the decent work agenda been integrated to the national development plan?
  3. What is the knowledge of local development practitioners on DWA as a strategy for poverty reduction in Tanzania?
  4. How is the DWA incorporated by the local development practitioners in Tanzania?
  5. Why did the African leaders adopt an international strategy for poverty reduction in SSA?

Significance of the Study

The proposed study is in line with the Millennium Development goals (1 & 8). Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; and goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development. Two targets in this goal relevant to this proposed study are to address the special needs of the Least Developed Countries and in cooperation with developing countries, and to develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth (UNDP, 2005).


The proposed study will investigate the effectiveness of decent work in Tanzania and develop knowledge for use by development practitioners in their poverty reduction strategies. The proposed study is also keeping in line with the aspirations of the National Development vision 2025 for high and shared growth and quality livelihood(URT Development vision 2025) . This study would be the first scholarly independent study in Tanzania on the decent work agenda.


Research design

The study will employ the case study design approach to conduct an in-depth investigation of the effectiveness of the decent work agenda in Tanzania as a strategy of poverty reduction in SSA. A mixed method approach of qualitative and quantitative methodology from multiple primary and secondary sources is required to address the research questions. The study will be guided by the African renaissance concept, founded on African values and norms, with innovations initiated within the social and values systems of Africans (Matunhu 2011).


The study area

The proposed study will be carried out in three districts selected in three different regions in Tanzania, namely Mtwara, Shinyanga, and Dar es Salaam. The three districts, Mtwara-Mikindani, Kahama and Ilalaare selected purposefully because of their economic contribution and/or potentials to the Tanzanian economy. Mtwara-Mikindani has the biggest natural gas reserve in the country; Kahama contains one of the biggest gold mines in the country, and Ilala; is one of the most industrialized districts in the country. The three districts are selected thanks to their potentials of job creation which is the objective of the decent work agenda in Tanzania.


Study Population

This study will involve all parts responsible in the decent work agenda that is the tripartite: (employees, employers and the government) and youth. Employees: this will involve all trade unions available in the districts such as Trade union Congress of Tanzania – (TUCTA). Employers: This will involve Association of Tanzania employers-(ATE) in the districts. The government: This will involve officers from selected ministries: 1.Labour and employment, 2.Agriculture 3. Planning and, 4. Youth Sports and Culture the employers and employees headquarters, ILO and some leading research bodies Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) and Youth: will be represented by youth NGOs in each district.


Data collection techniques

Both primary and secondary data will be collected in accordance with the study objectives. While the secondary data will be obtained from Universities, ILO, ESRF, REPOA libraries and relevant websites from the internet the primary data will be obtained from the decent work stakeholders. These will involve 30 young employees from formal and informal sectors, 10 trade union leaders, 3 leaders of employers associations, 4 Government officers and 5 leaders of youth NGOs.


Moreover, the study will involve key informants from all stakeholders ‘groups. The study will involve a total of 183 respondents and all respondents in the study will be selected purposively so as to obtain desired results. Qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection will be used as the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods increases validity of results


Data processing and analysis

Quantitative data will be analysed by using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) in accordance with the study objectives. Data will be analysed using descriptive statistics to determine frequencies, percentages and statistical means.

Qualitative data will be analysed by content analysis technique using the conventional approach. The data will be interpreted and organised into different themes based on the objectives of the study.

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