‘Women moving to cities succeed more’

29Sep 2022
Felister Peter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
‘Women moving to cities succeed more’

A LOT of young people are moving to cities looking for economic opportunities, with migrating to urban places creating better opportunities for women, a new study has indicated.

Dr Donald Mmari, executive director of a city economic research outfit (REPOA) made note of this finding in Dar es Salaam yesterday at a research findings dissemination meeting.

He said the study was meant to look at why people migrate to urban areas and whether the government is prepared to meet people’s demands in terms of service delivery, city planning and infrastructure development.

“By the year 2030, half of Tanzanians will be living in large urban centres,” he stated, pointing out that there are still substantial challenges in preparing pre-urban areas for urbanization as well as in city planning.

Data was structured from responses of 2,014 individuals in Arusha, Njombe and Dar es Salaam regions, in the research exercise supported by the German social democratic think tank, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).

Elisabeth Bollrich, the FES resident director, said the research was important as urbanization is fast growing in Tanzania, with Dar es Salaam among the fastest growing cities in the world, thus facing immense challenges.

Rapid urbanization in Tanzania is challenging, with little fiscal space to respond to the challenges, she said, noting that this makes it difficult to achieve the United Nations resolutions known as the Sustainable Development Goals.

(SGD-11 refers to the need to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, she elaborated, affirming that FES supported the research to add to awareness of vital public services reaching everyone, and how people participate in decision making.

Prof Tumsifu Nkya, a city planning expert and retired housing director in the Lands ministry, commended REPOA for coming up with the findings noting that city planning requires correct information.

He said the new findings will help decision makers in making informed decisions specifically in city planning and provision of services.

The findings on urbanization and transformation of cities in the country indicated economic factors influencing migration decisions, where youth migration has increased in the past two years.

A questionnaire made the rounds from April 2021, with the results showing that big numbers of youths aged 18 to 35 years moved to large urban centres in the period, while migration by those aged between 35 and 55 years was modest.

Upwards of 38 percent of respondents had come to where they live by migration, while 62 percent were born in regions they were living. A cohort of 58 percent of those migrating shifted to urban places.

An estimated 45 percent of people migrated to look for jobs while 18 percent joined either spouses or family members, the director noted, highlighting that. He said those with lower monthly income, the less educated and women migrated to cities in search of better opportunities.

The majority of respondents agreed that migrating to Dar es Salaam improves opportunities for women, citing access services such as public transport, trade, markets and improved health care.

Rural respondents, (81 percent) said they expected better provision of public services in urban areas while 49 percent of migrants from rural to urban places consider rural areas as home. Nearly two thirds (61 percent) of them have strong connections with their places of origin, the study affirmed.

A simple majority (53 percent) of respondents migrated to their current living areas in the past 10 years while eight percent migrated there within the past half-decade.

Expectations on public service delivery had mixed sentiments with just 11 percent of respondents expecting the government to deliver services as the public pays taxes. Those with higher levels of education and income depend less on public services, responses showed.

One area of concern was unequal distribution of public services across wards and districts, with Kigamboni and Temeke districts having fewer schools and health centres, meanwhile Kigamboni district lacks a sewage system.

The government needs to invest more in youth-related employment programs to address the skills gap and provide vocational training to young migrants. It also needs to assess women and youth empowerment schemes and engage financial institutions and banks in addressing the key challenges, the director added.

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