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Key findings
  • About one-third (34%) of Tanzanian youth have secondary or post-secondary education, outpacing previous generations.
  • But young citizens are also more likely than their elders to be unemployed: 24% say they don’t have a job and are looking for work.
  • Three-fourths (76%) of young Tanzanians say they own a mobile phone, 20% a bank account, 11% a motor vehicle, and 6% a computer.
  • Health ranks at the top of problems that Tanzanian youth say their government should address, followed by water supply and management of the economy. Unemployment ranks only sixth among youth priorities.
  • But a majority of young respondents also commend the government’s efforts on these priority issues, saying it is performing “fairly well” or “very well” on improving basic health services (73%), providing water and sanitation services (64%), and managing the economy (60%).
  • While more than six in 10 youth (62%) say their country is going in the “right direction,” fewer than half offer favourable assessments of the nation’s economy (35%) and their personal living conditions (33%). And only 37% think things will improve during the coming year. Still, young respondents are somewhat more positive in their assessments than their elders.
  • Tanzanian youth are less likely than their elders to engage in political and civic activities such as voting in elections, attending community meetings, joining with others to raise an issue, and contacting elected officials.

More than one-third of Tanzanians are youth aged 15-35 (National Bureau of Statistics,  2022a), a vast resource as well as a major challenge for the country’s development. Fully  integrating young citizens in economic, social, and political life is the promise of the future,  but barriers abound, ranging from widespread poverty to limited educational and  employment opportunities (Hairy, 2023; UNDP, 2023; International Labour Organization, 2022). 

Among the 80% of youth who are economically active, 87% are employed while 13% are  looking for work, according to the 2020/21 Integrated Labour Force Survey (National Bureau  of Statistics, 2022b). 

Despite their large numbers, young people are under-represented in political processes: Only  19% of Tanzania’s members of Parliament are aged 40 or below (Fussi, 2023). 

The government’s efforts to empower the youth include the National Youth Development  Policy, launched in 2007, which aims to increase opportunities for employment and encourage participation in economic and political life. The National Strategy for Youth  Involvement in Agriculture (2016-2021) emphasises youth access to land, credit, and market  information, and youth are among priority targets for a local government interest-free loan programme. A new strategy called the Building Better Tomorrow – Youth Initiatives for  Agribusiness (BBT-YIA) aims to train and coach youth-led agribusinesses. 

The Afrobarometer Round 9 survey, conducted in 2022, sheds light on how the youth of  Tanzania perceive the country’s political and economic landscape. Survey findings show  that while Tanzanian youth are more educated than their elders, they are also more likely to  be unemployed.  

A majority of young Tanzanians think their country is moving in the right direction, but many  see their national economy and personal living conditions as bad and doubt that things will  improve in the near future. Health, water supply, and management of the economy are at  the top of the list of problems that young citizens want their government to address. 

Tanzania’s youth are also less likely than their elders to participate in change-making political  and civic activities, including voting. 

Constantine Simba

Constantine Simba is a researcher for REPOA.

Derick Msafiri

Derick Msafiri is an intern for REPOA, the Afrobarometer national <br /> partner in Tanzania.