Zanzibar is much talked about these days in other East African nations and mostly by the elderly people. The semi-autonomous archipelago of Tanzania introduced in 2016 a first of its kind government-funded pension scheme for those citizens who are at least 70-year-old.
The elderly is entitled to a monthly pension of 20,000 shillings, which is about 9 USD. The scheme is universal and noncontributory too.
Zanzibar is run by its own elected government even though Tanzania exerts significant policy influence for the group of islands.
After a year of implementation the pension scheme has turned to be role model for East Africa region. It has proved a great success.
Pensions play key role in reducing poverty in Africa. A study found pensions decreased poverty gap ratio by 13 percent in South Africa in 2009 and the income of poorest increased by 5 percent.
Pensions in African countries are said to have large impacts across generations, and mainly to the grandchildren. A study finds children of those grandparents go to school who receive grandparents.
Majority of the elderly lives in extreme poverty in Zanzibar and such pension scheme is helping in providing them with stable income source. Many of them said the pension has helped them in meeting their basic needs and it is also a good source of capital to invest in a small business.
Last Census found number of people forming a household is about 5 and grandchildren are most benefited from the pension as the money is used to pay school fees and buying student’s supplies.