Answers: Development profile

Volume 33, Number 1, September 2015
Development profile: Country N
Peter Smith
Did you work out the identity of Country N in this issue’s Development profile (back cover)?
This resource provides answers to the questions that were posed there, together with some
The data presented in the Development profile in this issue of ECONOMIC REVIEW show that Country N
is among the poorest countries in the world, with 40% of the adult population living below the UNDP’s
extreme poverty line of $1.25 per person per day. The country suffered a decline in its level of human
development between 1980 and 2000, although subsequently it began to pick up.
The profile gives some clues to the identity of the country. One is that it followed a socialist
development agenda from 1967 until the mid-1980s — although this may not have helped you very
much. The fact that it contains the largest mountain in its continent may have been more helpful. The
highest mountain in Africa is Kilimanjaro, which lies in the north-eastern part of Tanzania.
Population growth
The first question that was set for you to think about asked why rapid population growth could be a
problem for a country such as Tanzania. The data stated that the growth rate of the population was
2.8%, which is indeed high by international standards. If a country were to experience this rate of
growth consistently, the population would double in size in just 26 years.
Tanzania had a population of 48 million in 2012, with a median age of only 17.5 years. A rapidly
growing young population puts an enormous strain on a country’s resources, as the relatively small
proportion of the population who are of working age need to provide resources for education, health
care and nutrition of the whole population. With low levels of average income, the government will also
have limited resources with which to provide for its people. The rapidly growing population worsens
these pressures as time goes by.
Mobile phones
The second question was about the potential importance of mobile phones. It is useful to realise that
some 73% of Tanzania’s people live in the rural areas, relying heavily on agriculture for survival. In the
past, it has been difficult for people living in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa to obtain accurate
market information. This left them open to exploitation by traders, as farmers were not aware of what
was a fair price for their produce. Mobile phones are beginning to change all that.
Furthermore, the growth of e-finance is giving people in the rural areas access to finance that was
previously unavailable to them. The potential for these developments to improve people’s lives is
great. If people can begin to obtain good market information, they can negotiate better deals, and
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discover new opportunities. If they can gain access to credit, they may be able to invest in order to
improve their productivity and increase their income-earning opportunities.
This resource is part of ECONOMIC REVIEW, a magazine written for A-level students by subject experts.
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