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Social Protection of the Elderly in Tanzania: Current Status and Future Possibilities

This brief summarises the findings of a study on social protection of elderly in Tanzania. The study began by analysing the current status of living arrangements and material well-being of Tanzanians over 60 years of age. It then assessed the affordability of a universal pension for all persons over age 60 or 65 years, set at the food poverty line. Finally, it explored the implications of introducing an old age pension on the socio economic and political attitudes and behaviours of Tanzanians.

The study asks:

  • how adequate are the current mechanisms of social protection for elderly Tanzanians
  • what short term policy reponses are feasible and what long-term policies are needed
  • how might reforms affect development and growth

The brief concludes that:

  • Tanzanian society is likely to face escalating pressures to respond to the problem of poverty and deprivation among the elderly
  • evidence from this study indicates that a universal old age pension, set at the food poverty line, would be a fiscally feasible pillar of social protection. It would have a significant impact on poverty
  • the pension’s introduction would lift over three million Tanzanians out of poverty, half of whom would be children under 18 years.
  • analysis strongly suggests that Tanzania is now at an optimal juncture to design and implement a long-term, sustainable system of social protection for the elderly, before the ageing issue becomes a crisis and when the size of the elderly population and the current financial cost of the reforms are relatively small