Secondary towns and poverty reduction in Tanzania

Policy brief Cities

  • Tanzania is undergoing rapid urbanisation and the policy question is shifting from whether the country should urbanise to how it should do so.
  • In this brief, the researchers provide local and cross-country evidence suggesting that urbanisation can lead to poverty reduction. The researchers also find that secondary towns are better at reducing poverty than megacities and believe this is a result of their closer proximity to the rural poor.
  • Based on this evidence, this brief takes the position that the push to the middle-income status, which Tanzania aspires, cannot be driven purely by concentrating on growth engines in the largest cities.
  • It is concluded that carefully thought-through secondary town development can become an important policy vehicle for inclusive growth.