Long-term livelihood change in Tanzania

Project overview

Project lead: Daniel Brockington, University of Sheffield

Start date: 1 January 2015

End date: 31 October 2015

Project webpage

Research Council project page

Many African economies are growing rapidly and there are signs of prosperity in rural and urban regions. Cheaper technology (mobile phones, motorbikes and improved seed varieties) are reaching all but the remotest parts of many countries. However it is not always clear how inclusive and pro-poor this growth is. It is all too easy for the benefits of improved agricultural production, for example, to be concentrated on relatively few wealthy farmers and even to be instrumental in creating rural deprivation and landlessness.

In the absence of viable alternatives to agriculture, those without land become a rural proletariat with no long-term prospects or prosperity. In this context, the key issue is what assets the rural poor can build up during periods of national economic growth.

This project made use of unusually good records of survey data in Tanzania to provide the insights of qualitative data across a sufficiently large area and contribute constructively to the findings of quantitative panel data. A number of communities in different parts of Tanzania – from whom data on household assets were collected in the 1990s – were revisited, assets were surveyed and then explored through a detailed qualitative interview. This data provided a rich and detailed picture into the village-, household-, and sub-household-level dynamics of poverty and poverty reduction.