This article is about the country in Africa. For the spider genus, see Tanzania (spider).

Coordinates: 6°18′25″S 34°51′14″E / 6.307°S 34.854°E / -6.307; 34.854

United Republic of Tanzania
Jamhuri Ya Muungano wa Tanzania  (Swahili)
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Uhuru na Umoja" (Swahili)
"Freedom and Unity"
Anthem: Mungu ibariki Afrika
God Bless Africa
Location of  Tanzania  (dark blue)in Africa  (light blue subregion=the African Union)
Location of  Tanzania  (dark blue)

in Africa  (light blue subregion=the African Union)

Largest city Dar es Salaam
Official languages
Demonym Tanzanian
Government Unitary presidential republic[2][3]
   President John Pombe Magufuli
   Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa
   Speaker Job Ndugai
   Chief Justice Mohamed Othman
Legislature National Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom
   Tanganyika 9 December 1961 
   Zanzibar and Pemba 10 December 1963 
   Merger 26 April 1964 
   Current constitution 25 April 1977 
   Total 947,303 km2 (31st)
365,756[4] sq mi
   Water (%) 6.4[4]
   2014 estimate 51,820,000 [5] (28th)
   2012 census 44,928,923[6]
   Density 47.5/km2
123.1/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
   Total $150.633 billion[7]
   Per capita $3,097[7]
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
   Total $46.695 billion[7]
   Per capita $960[7]
Gini (2012)37.8[8]
HDI (2014)Increase 0.521[9]
low · 151st
Currency Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
Drives on the left
Calling code +255[note 1]
ISO 3166 code TZ
Internet TLD .tz
a. Revised to $41.33 billion[10]

Tanzania /ˌtænzəˈnə/,[11] officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a large country in Eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. Parts of the country are in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south; and by the Indian Ocean to the east. Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania.

Tanzania's population of 51.82 million (2014)[12] is diverse, composed of several ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. Tanzania is a presidential constitutional republic, and since 1996, its official capital city has been Dodoma, where the President's Office, the National Assembly, and some government ministries are located.[13] Dar es Salaam, the former capital, retains most government offices and is the country's largest city, principal port, and leading commercial centre.[14][15][16]

European colonialism began in mainland Tanzania during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa, which gave way to British rule following World War I. The mainland was governed as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged in April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.[14]


The name "Tanzania" was created as a clipped compound of the names of the two states that unified to create the country: Tanganyika and Zanzibar.[17]

The name "Tanganyika" is derived from the Swahili words tanga ("sail") and nyika ("uninhabited plain", "wilderness"), creating the phrase "sail in the wilderness". It is sometimes understood as a reference to Lake Tanganyika.[18]

The name of Zanzibar comes from "zengi", the name for a local people (said to mean "black"), and the Arabic word "barr", which means coast or shore.[19]


A 1.8 million year-old stone chopping tool discovered at Olduvai Gorge and currently on display at the British Museum


The indigenous populations of eastern Africa are thought to be the click speaking Hadza and Sandawe hunter-gatherers of Tanzania.[20]:page 17

The first wave of migration was by Southern Cushitic speakers, who are ancestral to the Iraqw, Gorowa, and Burunge and who moved south from Ethiopia into Tanzania.[20]:page 17 Based on linguistic evidence, there may also have been two movements into Tanzania of Eastern Cushitic people at about 4,000 and 2,000 years ago, originating from north of Lake Turkana.[20]:pages 17–18

Archaeological evidence supports the conclusion that Southern Nilotes, including the Datoog, moved south from the present-day South Sudan / Ethiopia border region into central northern Tanzania between 2,900 and 2,400 years ago.[20]:page 18

These movements took place at approximately the same time as the settlement of the iron-making Mashariki Bantu from West Africa in the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika areas. They brought with them the west African planting tradition and the primary staple of yams. They subsequently migrated out of these regions across the rest of Tanzania between 2,300 and 1,700 years ago.[20]:page 18[21]

Eastern Nilotic peoples, including the Maasai, represent a more recent migration from present day South Sudan within the past 1,500 to 500 years.[20]:page 18[22]

The people of Tanzania have been associated with the production of iron and steel. The Pare people were the main producers of highly demanded iron for peoples who occupied the mountain regions of northeastern Tanzania.[23] The Haya people on the western shores of Lake Victoria invented a type of high-heat blast furnace, which allowed them to forge carbon steel at temperatures exceeding 1,820 °C (3,310 °F) more than 1,500 years ago.[24]

Travellers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and India have visited the east African coast since early in the first millennium A.D.[25] Islam was practised by some on the Swahili Coast as early as the eighth or ninth century A.D.[26]


A 1572 depiction of the city of Kilwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama visited the Tanzanian coast. Later, in 1506, the Portuguese succeeded in controlling most of the Southeast African littoral. In 1699, the Portuguese were ousted from Zanzibar by Omani Arabs.

Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said moved his capital to Zanzibar City in 1840. During this time, Zanzibar became the centre for the Arab slave trade.[27] Between 65% and 90% of the population of Arab-Swahili Zanzibar was enslaved.[28] One of the most infamous slave traders on the East African coast was Tippu Tip, who was himself the grandson of an enslaved African. The Nyamwezi slave traders operated under the leadership of Msiri and Mirambo.[29] According to Timothy Insoll, "Figures record the exporting of 718,000 slaves from the Swahili coast during the 19th century, and the retention of 769,000 on the coast."[30]

In the late 19th century, Imperial Germany conquered the regions that are now Tanzania (minus Zanzibar) and incorporated them into German East Africa. The post–World War I accords and the League of Nations charter designated the area a British Mandate, except for the Kionga Triangle, a small area in the southeast that was incorporated into Portuguese East Africa (later Mozambique).

During World War II, about 100,000 people from Tanganyika joined the Allied forces[31] and were among the 375,000 Africans who fought with those forces.[32] Tanganyikans fought in units of the King's African Rifles during the East African Campaign in Somalia and Abyssinia against the Italians, in Madagascar against the Vichy French during the Madagascar Campaign, and in Burma against the Japanese during the Burma Campaign.[32] Tanganyika was an important source of food during this war, and its export income increased greatly compared to the pre-war years of the Great Depression[31] Wartime demand, however, caused increased commodity prices and massive inflation within the colony.[33]

In 1954, Julius Nyerere transformed an organisation into the politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU's main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. A campaign to register new members was launched, and within a year TANU had become the leading political organisation in the country. Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as prime minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961.


British rule came to an end on 9 December 1961, but for the first year of independence, Tanganyika had a governor general who represented the British monarch.[34]:page 6 On 9 December 1962, Tanganyika became a democratic republic under an executive president.[34]:page 6

After the Zanzibar Revolution overthrew the Arab dynasty in neighbouring Zanzibar,[35] which had become independent in 1963, the archipelago merged with mainland Tanganyika on 26 April 1964.[36] On 29 October of the same year, the country was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania ("Tan" comes from Tanganyika and "Zan" from Zanzibar).[14] The union of the two hitherto separate regions was controversial among many Zanzibaris (even those sympathetic to the revolution) but was accepted by both the Nyerere government and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar owing to shared political values and goals.

In 1967, Nyerere's first presidency took a turn to the left after the Arusha Declaration, which codified a commitment to socialism as well-as Pan-Africanism. After the declaration, banks and many large industries were nationalised.

Tanzania was also aligned with China, which from 1970 to 1975 financed and helped build the 1,860-kilometre-long (1,160 mi) TAZARA Railway from Dar es Salaam to Zambia.[37] Nonetheless, from the late 1970s, Tanzania's economy took a turn for the worse, in the context of an international economic crisis affecting both developed and developing economies.

From the mid-1980s, the regime financed itself by borrowing from the International Monetary Fund and underwent some reforms. Since then, Tanzania's gross domestic product per capita has grown and poverty has been reduced, according to a report by the World Bank.[38]

In 1992, the Constitution of Tanzania was amended to allow multiple political parties.[39] In Tanzania's first multi-party elections, held in 1995, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi won 186 of the 232 elected seats in the National Assembly, and Benjamin Mkapa was elected as president.[40]


An elephant passing by the snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro
Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest inactive and intact volcanic caldera
Tanzania map of Köppen climate classification

At 947,303 square kilometres (365,756 sq mi),[4] Tanzania is the 13th largest country in Africa and the 31st largest in the world, ranked between the larger Egypt and smaller Nigeria.[41] It borders Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. Tanzania is located on the eastern coast of Africa and has an Indian Ocean coastline approximately 800 kilometres (500 mi) long.[42]:page 1245 It also incorporates several offshore islands, including Unguja (Zanzibar), Pemba, and Mafia.[42]:page 1245 The country is the site of Africa's highest and lowest points: Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level, and the floor of Lake Tanganyika, at 352 metres (1,155 ft) below sea level, respectively.[42]:page 1245

Tanzania is mountainous and densely forested in the northeast, where Mount Kilimanjaro is located. Three of Africa's Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent's deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish. To the southwest lies Lake Nyasa. Central Tanzania is a large plateau, with plains and arable land. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the Zanzibar Archipelago just offshore.

The Kalambo water falls in the southwestern region of Rukwa are the second highest uninterrupted fall in Africa and are located near the southeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika on the border with Zambia.[43] The Menai Bay Conservation Area is Zanzibar's largest marine protected area.


Main article: Climate of Tanzania

Climate varies greatly within Tanzania. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling lower than 20 °C (68 °F). The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C or 77.0–87.8 °F) while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C or 59–68 °F). Annual temperature is 20 °C (68.0 °F). The climate is cool in high mountainous regions.

Tanzania has two major rainfall regimes: one is uni-modal (October–April) and the other is bi-modal (October–December and March–May).[44] The former is experienced in southern, central, and western parts of the country, and the latter is found in the north from Lake Victoria extending east to the coast.[44] The bi-modal regime is caused by the seasonal migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone.[44]

Wildlife and conservation

Main article: Wildlife of Tanzania
A tower of giraffes at Arusha National Park. The giraffe is the national animal.

Approximately 38% of Tanzania's land area is set aside in protected areas for conservation.[45] Tanzania has 16 national parks,[46] plus a variety of game and forest reserves, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In western Tanzania, Gombe Stream National Park is the site of Jane Goodall's ongoing study of chimpanzee behaviour, which started in 1960.[47][48]

Tanzania is highly biodiverse and contains a wide variety of animal habitats.[49] On Tanzania's Serengeti plain, white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi) and other bovids participate in a large-scale annual migration. Tanzania is also home to about 130 amphibian and over 275 reptile species, many of them strictly endemic and included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red Lists of different countries.[50] Tanzania has developed a Biodiversity Action Plan to address species conservation.


Main article: Politics of Tanzania


Tanzania is a one party dominant state with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party in power. From its formation until 1992, it was the only legally permitted party in the country. This changed on 1 July 1992, when amendments to the Constitution[51]:§ 3 and a number of laws permitting and regulating the formation and operations of more than one political party were enacted by the National Assembly. Elections for president and all National Assembly seats were last held in October 2010. The CCM holds approximately 75% of the seats in the assembly.

In October 2015, Tanzania announced that John Pombe Magufuli won the presidential election, securing a two-thirds majority in parliament.[52]


The President of Tanzania and the members of the National Assembly are elected concurrently by direct popular vote for five-year terms.[51]:§ 42(2) The vice-president is elected for a five-year term at the same time as the president and on the same ticket.[51]:§§ 47(2), 50(1) Neither the president nor the vice-president may be a member of the National Assembly.[51]:§ 66(2) The president appoints a prime minister, subject to confirmation by the assembly, to serve as the government's leader in the assembly.[51]:§§ 51(1)-(2), 52(2) The president selects his or her cabinet from assembly members.[51]:§ 55


All legislative power relating to mainland Tanzania and union matters is vested in the National Assembly,[51]:§ 64(1) which is unicameral and has a maximum of 357 members.[53] These include members elected to represent constituencies, the attorney general, five members elected by the Zanzibar house of representatives from among its own members, the special women's seats that constitute at least 30% of the seats that any party has in the assembly, the speaker of the assembly (if not otherwise a member of the assembly), and the persons (not more than ten) appointed by the president.[51]:§ 66(1) The Tanzania Electoral Commission demarcates the mainland into constituencies in the number determined by the commission with the consent of the president.[51]:§ 75


Tanzania's legal system is based on English common law.[54]

Tanzania has a four-level judiciary.[54] The lowest level courts on the Tanzanian mainland are the Primary Courts.[54] In Zanzibar, the lowest level courts are the Kadhi's Courts for Islamic family matters and the Primary Courts for all other cases.[54] On the mainland, appeal is to either the District Courts or the Resident Magistrates Courts.[54] In Zanzibar, appeal is to the Kadhi's Appeal Courts for Islamic family matters and the Magistrates Courts for all other cases.[54] From there, appeal is to the High Court of Mainland Tanzania or Zanzibar.[54] No appeal regarding Islamic family matters can be made from the High Court of Zanzibar.[54][55]:§ 99(1) Otherwise, the final appeal is to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania.[54]

The High Court of mainland Tanzania has three divisions – commercial, labour, and land[54] – and 15 geographic zones.[56] The High Court of Zanzibar has an industrial division, which hears only labour disputes.[57]

Mainland and union judges are appointed by the Chief Justice of Tanzania, except for those of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, who are appointed by the president of Tanzania.[51]: §§ 109(1), 118(2)-(3)

Tanzania is a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.[58]


The semi-autonomous Zanzibar Archipelago

The legislative authority in Zanzibar over all non-union matters is vested in the House of Representatives (per the Tanzania constitution)[51]:§ 106(3) or the Legislative Council (per the Zanzibar constitution).

The Legislative Council has two parts: the President of Zanzibar and the House of Representatives.[51]:§ 107(1)-(2)[55]:§ 63(1) The President is Zanzibar's head of government and the chairman of the Revolutionary Council, in which the executive authority of Zanzibar is invested.[55]:§§ 5A(2), 26(1) Zanzibar has two vice-presidents, with the first being from the main opposition party in the house.[59][60] The second is from the party in power and is the leader of government business in the House.[60]

The President and the members of the House of Representatives have five-year terms.[55]:§ 28(2)

The President selects ministers from members of the House of Representatives,[55]:§ 42(2) with the ministers allocated according to the number of House seats won by political parties.[59] The Revolutionary Council consists of the president, both vice-presidents, all ministers, the attorney general of Zanzibar, and other house members deemed fit by the president.[59]

The House of Representatives is composed of elected members, ten members appointed by the president, all the regional commissioners of Zanzibar, the attorney general, and appointed female members whose number must be equal to 30% of the elected members.[55]:§§ 55(3), 64, 67(1) The House determines the number of its elected members[55]:§ 120(2) with the Zanzibar Electoral Commission determining the boundaries of each election constituency.[55]:§ 120(1) In 2013, the House has a total of 81 members: fifty elected members, five regional commissioners, the attorney general, ten members appointed by the president, and fifteen appointed female members.[53]

Administrative subdivisions

Regions of Tanzania

In 1972, local government on the mainland was abolished and replaced with direct rule from the central government. Local government, however, was reintroduced in the beginning of the 1980s, when the rural councils and rural authorities were re-established. Local government elections took place in 1983, and functioning councils started in 1984. In 1999, a Local Government Reform Programme was enacted by the National Assembly, setting "a comprehensive and ambitious agenda ... [covering] four areas: political decentralization, financial decentralization, administrative decentralization and changed central-local relations, with the mainland government having over-riding powers within the framework of the Constitution."[61]

Tanzania is divided into thirty regions (mkoa), twenty-five on the mainland and five in Zanzibar (three on Unguja, two on Pemba).[62][63] 169 districts (wilaya), also known as local government authorities, have been created. Of the 169 districts, 34 are urban units, which are further classified as three city councils (Arusha, Mbeya, and Mwanza), nineteen municipal councils, and twelve town councils.[6]

The urban units have an autonomous city, municipal, or town council and are subdivided into wards and mtaa. The non-urban units have an autonomous district council but are subdivided into village councils or township authorities (first level) and then into vitongoji.[61]

The city of Dar es Salaam is unique because it has a city council whose areal jurisdiction overlaps three municipal councils. The mayor of the city council is elected by that council. The twenty-member city council is composed of eleven persons elected by the municipal councils, seven members of the National Assembly, and "Nominated members of parliament under 'Special Seats' for women". Each municipal council also has a mayor. "The City Council performs a coordinating role and attends to issues cutting across the three municipalities", including security and emergency services.[64][65]

Foreign relations

Bilateral relations

Apart from its border dispute with Malawi, Tanzania had cordial relations with its neighbours in 2012.[66]

Relations between Tanzania and Malawi have been tense because of a dispute over the countries' Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) border. An unsuccessful mediation regarding this issue took place in March 2014.[42]:page 1250[66][67] The two countries agreed in 2013 to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to resolve the dispute should mediation be unsuccessful.[68] Malawi, but not Tanzania, has accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ.[69]

Relations between Tanzania and Rwanda deteriorated in 2013 when Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said that if the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could negotiate with some of its enemies, Rwanda should be able to do the same.[70] Rwandan President Paul Kagame then expressed "contempt" for Kikwete's statement.[71] The tension was renewed in May 2014 when, in a speech to the Tanzanian National Assembly, Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe renewed his claim that Rwandans were causing instability in the DRC. Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo responded, "As for Tanzania's foreign minister whose anti-Rwanda rant in parliament I heard, he would benefit from a lesson in the history of the region."[72]

Tanzania–China relations have strengthened in recent years as trade between the two countries and Chinese investment in Tanzanian infrastructure have increased rapidly.[42]:page 1250[73]

Relations with the United States are warm, with President Barack Obama visiting Tanzania in 2013.[74][75]

Tanzania's relations with other donor countries, including Japan and members of the European Union, are generally good, though donors are concerned about Tanzania's commitment to reducing government corruption.[42]:page 1250[66]

Multilateral relations

Tanzania is a member of the East African Community (EAC), along with Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi.[76] According to the East African Common Market Protocol of 2010, the free trade and free movement of people is guaranteed, including the right to reside in another member country for purposes of employment.[42]:page 1250[77][78] This protocol, however, has not been implemented because of work permit and other bureaucratic, legal, and financial obstacles.[79]

Tanzania is also a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).[80] The EAC, the SADC, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa agreed in June 2011 to negotiate the creation of a Tripartite Free Trade Area spanning 26 African countries, with a goal to complete the first phase of negotiations within 36 months.[81]

As of 31 October 2014, Tanzania was contributing 2,253 soldiers and other personnel to various United Nations peacekeeping operations.[82] The Tanzanian military is participating along with South African and Malawian militaries in the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The United Nations Security Council authorised the force on 28 March 2013 to conduct targeted offensive operations to neutralise groups that threaten peace in the DRC.[83] Tanzania was also participating in peacekeeping missions in the Darfur Region of Sudan (UNAMID); Abyei, control of which is contested between South Sudan and Sudan (UNISFA); the Central African Republic (MINUSCA); Lebanon (UNIFIL); and South Sudan (UNMISS).[84]


Tanzanian special forces during a training exercise

The armed forces consists of the army, navy and air force. The current Chief of Defence Forces is General Davis Mwamunyange. The armed forces was engaged in the Uganda–Tanzania War, the Mozambican Civil War and most recently the 2008 invasion of Anjouan.

Tanzania is also involved in the following United Nations peacekeeping missions: UNAMID (Sudan), UNIFIL (Lebanon) and Force Intervention Brigade (part of MONUSCO in DR Congo).

Economy and infrastructure

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. As of 2014, Tanzania's gross domestic product (GDP) was an estimated $43.8 billion,[85] or $86.4 billion on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.[86] Tanzania is a middle-power country, with a per capita GDP of $1,813 (PPP),[86] which was 32% below the average of $2,673 for the 45 sub-Saharan African countries[87] and ranked 23rd among those countries.[88]

From 2009 through 2013, Tanzania's per capita GDP (based on constant local currency) grew an average of 3.5% per year, higher than any other member of the East African Community (EAC) and exceeded by only nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.[89]

Tanzania's largest trading partners in 2012 for its US $5.5 billion in exports were South Africa, Switzerland, and China.[90] Its imports totalled US $11.7 billion, with Switzerland, China, and the United Arab Emirates being the biggest partners.[90]

Tanzania weathered the Great Recession, which began in late 2008 or early 2009, relatively well. Strong gold prices, bolstering the country's mining industry, and Tanzania's poor integration into global markets helped to insulate the country from the downturn.[42]:page 1250 Since the recession ended, the Tanzanian economy has expanded rapidly thanks to strong tourism, telecommunications, and banking sectors.[42]:page 1250

According to the United Nations Development Program, however, recent growth in the national economy has benefited only the "very few", leaving out the majority of the population.[91] Tanzania's 2013 Global Hunger Index was worse than any other country in the EAC except Burundi.[92]:page 15 The proportion of persons who were undernourished in 2010–12 was also worse than any other EAC country except Burundi.[92]:page 51


The level of poverty in Tanzania is very high.[93] Tanzania has made little progress towards reducing extreme hunger and malnutrition.[93][94] The 2010 Global Hunger Index ranks the situation as “alarming”.[93] Children in rural areas suffer substantially higher rates of malnutrition and chronic hunger, although urban-rural disparities have narrowed as regards both stunting and underweight.[93] Low rural sector productivity arises mainly from inadequate infrastructure investment; limited access to farm inputs, extension services and credit; limited technology as well as trade and marketing support; and heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resources.[93]

Approximately 68 percent of Tanzania's 44.9 million citizens live below the poverty line of $1.25 a day and 16 percent of children under 5 are malnourished.[94] The most prominent challenges Tanzania faces in poverty reduction are unsustainable harvesting of its natural resources, unchecked cultivation, climate change and water- source encroachment, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).[94]

There are very few resources for Tanzanians in terms of credit services, infrastructure or availability to improved agricultural technologies, which further exacerbates hunger and poverty in the country according to the UNDP.[94] Tanzania ranks 159 out of 187 countries in poverty according to the United Nation’s Human Development Index (2014).[94]


Tea fields in Tukuyu

The Tanzanian economy is heavily based on agriculture, which accounts for 24.5% of gross domestic product,[34]:page 37 provides 85% of exports,[14] and accounts for half of the employed workforce;[34]:page 56 The agricultural sector grew 4.3% in 2012, less than half of the Millennium Development Goal target of 10.8%.[95] 16.4% of the land is arable,[96] with 2.4% of the land planted with permanent crops.[97]

Maize was the largest food crop on the Tanzania mainland in 2013 (5.17 million tonnes), followed by cassava (1.94 million tonnes), sweet potatoes (1.88 million tonnes), beans (1.64 million tonnes), bananas (1.31 million tonnes), rice (1.31 million tonnes), and millet (1.04 million tonnes).[34]:page 58 Sugar was the largest cash crop on the mainland in 2013 (296,679 tonnes), followed by cotton (241,198 tonnes), cashew nuts (126,000 tonnes), tobacco (86,877 tonnes), coffee (48,000 tonnes), sisal (37,368 tonnes), and tea (32,422 tonnes).[34]:page 58 Beef was the largest meat product on the mainland in 2013 (299,581 tonnes), followed by lamb/mutton (115,652 tonnes), chicken (87,408 tonnes), and pork (50,814 tonnes).[34]:page 60

According to the 2002 National Irrigation Master Plan, 29.4 million hectares in Tanzania are suitable for irrigation farming; however, only 310,745 hectares were actually being irrigated in June 2011 .[98]

Industry and construction

Industry and construction is a major and growing component of the Tanzanian economy, contributing 22.2% of GDP in 2013.[34]:page 37 This component includes mining and quarrying, manufacturing, electricity and natural gas, water supply, and construction.[34]:page 37 Mining contributed 3.3% of GDP in 2013.[34]:page 33 The vast majority of the country's mineral export revenue comes from gold, accounting for 89% of the value of those exports in 2013.[34]:page 71 It also exports sizeable quantities of gemstones, including diamonds and tanzanite.[42]:page 1251 All of Tanzania's coal production, which totalled 106,000 short tons in 2012, is used domestically.[99]

Only 15% of Tanzanians had access to electric power in 2011.[100] The government-owned Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) dominates the electric supply industry in Tanzania.[101] The country generated 6.013 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in 2013, a 4.2% increase over the 5.771 billion kWh generated in 2012.[102]:page 4 Generation increased by 63% between 2005 and 2012;[103][104] Almost 18% of the electricity generated in 2012 was lost because of theft and transmission and distribution problems.[103] The electrical supply varies, particularly when droughts disrupt hydropower electric generation; rolling blackouts are implemented as necessary.[42]:page 1251[101] The unreliability of the electrical supply has hindered the development of Tanzanian industry.[42]:page 1251 In 2013, 49.7% of Tanzania's electricity generation came from natural gas, 28.9% from hydroelectric sources, 20.4% from thermal sources, and 1.0% from outside the country.[102]:page 5 The government is building a 532 kilometres (331 mi) gas pipeline from Mnazi Bay to Dar es Salaam, with a scheduled completion in 2015.[105] This pipeline is expected to allow the country to double its electricity generation capacity to 3,000 megawatts by 2016.[106] The government's goal is to increase capacity to at least 10,000 megawatts by 2025.[107]

Nyerere Bridge in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam, is Tanzania's and East Africa's only suspension bridge

According to PFC Energy, 25 to 30 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas resources have been discovered in Tanzania since 2010.[99] Bringing the total reserves to over 43 trillion cubic feet by the end of 2013,.[108] The value of natural gas actually produced in 2013 was US $52.2 million, a 42.7% increase over 2012.[34]:page 73

Commercial production of gas from the Songo Songo Island field in the Indian Ocean commenced in 2004, thirty years after it was discovered there.[109][110] Over 35 billion cubic feet of gas was produced from this field in 2013,[34]:page 72 with proven, probable, and possible reserves totalling 1.1 trillion cubic feet.[110] The gas is transported by pipeline to Dar es Salaam.[109] As of 27 August 2014, TANESCO owed the operator of this field, Orca Exploration Group Inc., US $50.4 million, down from US $63.8 million two months earlier.[111]

A newer natural gas field in Mnazi Bay in 2013 produced about one-seventh of the amount produced near Songo Songo Island[34]:page 73 but has proven, probable, and possible reserves of 2.2 trillion cubic feet.[110] Virtually all of that gas is being used for electricity generation in Mtwara.[109]

The Ruvuma and Nyuna regions of Tanzania have been explored mostly by the discovery company that holds 75% interest, Aminex (AEX), and has shown to hold in excess of 3.5 TCF of natural gas.A pipeline connecting offshore natural gas fields to Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam was completed at the end of April 2015, but technical setbacks will keep it from going online until November 2015.[112]


Main article: Tourism in Tanzania
The snowcapped Uhuru Peak

Travel and tourism contributed 12.7% of Tanzania's gross domestic product and employed 11.0% of the country's labour force (1,189,300 jobs) in 2013.[113] The sector is growing rapidly, with overall receipts rising from US $1.74 billion in 2004 to US $4.48 billion in 2013,[113] and receipts from international tourists rising from US $1.255 billion in 2010 to US $1.880 billion in 2013.[114] In 2012, 1,043,000 tourists arrived at Tanzania's borders compared to 590,000 in 2005.[90] The vast majority of tourists visit Zanzibar or a "northern circuit" of Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro.[42]:page 1252 In 2013, the most visited national park was Serengeti (452,485 tourists), followed by Manyara (187,773) and Tarangire (165,949).[34]:page xx According to a 2013 published report, around 600,000 people visit the NCA annually, earning 56 billion Tanzanian shillings in 2012.


The Bank of Tanzania is the central bank of Tanzania and is primarily responsible for maintaining price stability, with a subsidiary responsibility for issuing Tanzanian shilling notes and coins.[115] At the end of 2013, the total assets of the Tanzanian banking industry were 19.5 trillion Tanzanian shillings, a 15% increase over 2012.[116]


Main article: Transport in Tanzania
One of the main trunk roads

Most transport in Tanzania is by road; road transport constitutes over 75% of the country's freight traffic and 80% of its passenger traffic.[42]:page 1252 The 86,500-kilometer road system is in generally poor condition.[42]:page 1252 Tanzania has two railway companies: TAZARA, which provides service between Dar es Salaam and Kapiri Mposhi (in a copper-mining district in Zambia), and Tanzania Railways Limited, which connects Dar es Salaam with central and northern Tanzania.[42]:page 1252 Rail travel in Tanzania often entails slow journeys with frequent cancellations or delays; the railways also have a deficient safety record.[42]:page 1252 Tanzania has four international airports, along with over 100 small airports or landing strips; airport infrastructure tends to be in poor condition.[42]:page 1253 Airlines in Tanzania include Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Fastjet, Coastal Aviation, and ZanAir.[42]:page 1253 Several modern hydrofoil boats provide transportation across the Indian Ocean between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.


The communications sector is the fastest growing sector in Tanzania, expanding 22.8% in 2013; however, the sector accounted for only 2.4% of gross domestic product that year.[102]:page 2

As of 2011, Tanzania had 56 mobile telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants, a rate slightly above the sub-Saharan average.[42]:page 1253 Very few Tanzanians have fixed-line telephones.[42]:page 1253 Approximately 12% of Tanzanians used the internet as of 2011, though this number is rapidly growing.[42]:page 1253 The country has a fibre-optic cable network that recently replaced unreliable satellite service, but internet bandwidth remains very low.[42]:page 1253

Water supply and sanitation

Water supply and sanitation in Tanzania is characterised by decreasing access to improved water sources in the 2000s (especially in urban areas), steady access to some form of sanitation (around 93% since the 1990s), intermittent water supply and generally low quality of service.[117] Many utilities are barely able to cover their operation and maintenance costs through revenues due to low tariffs and poor efficiency. There are significant regional differences and the best performing utilities are Arusha and Tanga.[118]

The Government of Tanzania has embarked on a major sector reform process since 2002. An ambitious National Water Sector Development Strategy that promotes integrated water resources management and the development of urban and rural water supply was adopted in 2006. Decentralisation has meant that responsibility for water and sanitation service provision has shifted to local government authorities and is carried out by 20 urban utilities and about 100 district utilities, as well as by Community Owned Water Supply Organisations in rural areas.[117]

These reforms have been backed by a significant increase of the budget starting in 2006, when the water sector was included among the priority sectors of the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty MKUKUTA. The Tanzanian water sector remains heavily dependent on external donors: 88% of the available funds are provided by external donor organisations.[119] Results have been mixed. For example, a report by GIZ notes that "despite heavy investments brought in by the World Bank and the European Union, (the utility serving Dar es Salaam) has remained one of the worst performing water entities in Tanzania."[120]


According to the 2012 census, the total population was 44,928,923.[6] The under 15 age group represented 44.1% of the population.[121]

The population distribution in Tanzania is extremely uneven. Most people live on the northern border or the eastern coast, with much of the remainder of the country being sparsely populated.[42]:page 1252 Density varies from 12 per square kilometre (31/sq mi) in the Katavi Region to 3,133 per square kilometre (8,110/sq mi) in the Dar es Salaam Region.[6]:page 6

Approximately 70% of the population is rural, although this percentage has been declining since at least 1967.[122] Dar es Salaam (population 4,364,541[123]) is the largest city and commercial capital. Dodoma (population 410,956[123]), located in the centre of Tanzania, is the capital of the country and hosts the National Assembly.

The population consists of about 125 ethnic groups.[124] The Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Chagga, and Haya peoples have more than 1 million members each.[125]:page 4 Approximately 99% of Tanzanians are of African descent, with small numbers of Arab, European, and Asian descent.[124] The majority of Tanzanians, including the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, are Bantu. The Nilotic peoples include the nomadic Maasai and Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers in neighbouring Kenya.

The population also includes people of Arab, and Indian origin, and small European and Chinese communities.[126] Many also identify as Shirazis. Thousands of Arabs and Indians were massacred during the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964.[35] As of 1994, the Asian community numbered 50,000 on the mainland and 4,000 on Zanzibar. An estimated 70,000 Arabs and 10,000 Europeans lived in Tanzania.[127]

Some albinos in Tanzania have been the victims of violence in recent years.[128][129][130][131] Attacks are often to hack off the limbs of albinos in the perverse superstitious belief that possessing the bones of albinos will bring wealth. The country has banned witch doctors to try to prevent the practice, but it has continued and albinos remain targets.[132]

According to 2010 Tanzanian government statistics, the total fertility rate in Tanzania was 5.4 children born per woman, with 3.7 in urban mainland areas, 6.1 in rural mainland areas, and 5.1 in Zanzibar.[133]:page 55 For all women aged 45–49, 37.3% had given birth to eight or more children, and for currently married women in that age group, 45.0% had given birth to that many children.[133]:page 61


Religion in Tanzania (2014)
Indigenous beliefs
Source: CIA World Factbook[134]
Gaddafi Mosque in the capital Dodoma is the second largest mosque in East Africa
Azania Front Lutheran Church built by German missionaries in 1898
Main article: Religion in Tanzania

Current statistics on religion are unavailable because religious surveys were eliminated from government census reports after 1967. Religious leaders and sociologists estimated in 2007 that Muslim and Christian communities are approximately equal in size, each accounting for 30 to 40% of the population, with the remainder consisting of practitioners of other faiths, indigenous religions, and people of "no religion".[135]

According to estimates from 2014, 61.4% is Christian, 35.2% of the population is Muslim, 1.8% practice Traditional African religion, 1.4 are unaffiliated with any religion, and 0.2 consisting of other religions. In the mainland while more than 99% in Zanzibar are Muslim.[14] Of Muslims, 16% are Ahmadiyya, 20% are non-denominational Muslims, 40% are Sunni, 20% are Shia and 4% are Sufi.[136]

The Christian population is mostly composed of Roman Catholics and Protestants. Among Protestants, the large number of Lutherans and Moravians points to the German past of the country, while the number of Anglicans point to the British history of Tanganyika. Pentecostals and Adventists are also present due to missionary activity. All of them have had some influence in varying degrees from the Walokole movement (East African Revival), which has also been fertile ground for the spread of charismatic and Pentecostal groups.[137]

On the mainland, Muslim communities are concentrated in coastal areas; there are also some large Muslim majorities in inland urban areas and along the former caravan routes. A large majority of the Muslim population is Sunni. The Muslim population of Dar es Salaam, the largest and richest city in Tanzania, is mainly Sunni.

There are also active communities of other religious groups, primarily on the mainland, such as Buddhists, Hindus, and Bahá'ís.[138]


Main article: Languages of Tanzania
A carved door with Arabic calligraphy in Zanzibar

Over 100 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa.[1] Among the languages spoken in Tanzania are all four of Africa's language families: Bantu, Cushitic, Nilotic, and Khoisan.[1] Swahili and English are Tanzania's official languages.[1]

Swahili is used in parliamentary debate, in the lower courts, and as a medium of instruction in primary school; English is used in foreign trade, in diplomacy, in higher courts, and as a medium of instruction in secondary and higher education,[1] although the Tanzanian government plans to discontinue English as a language of instruction altogether.[139] In connection with his Ujamaa social policies, President Nyerere encouraged the use of Swahili as a means of unifying the country's many ethnic groups.[140] Approximately 10% of Tanzanians speak Swahili as a first language, and up to 90% speak it as a second language.[1] Most Tanzanians thus speak both Swahili and a local language; many educated Tanzanians are trilingual, also speaking English.[141][142][143] The widespread use and promotion of Swahili is contributing to the decline of smaller languages in the country.[1][144] Young children increasingly speak Swahili as a first language, particularly in urban areas.[145] Ethnic community languages (ECL, other than Kiswahili) are not allowed as language of instruction, neither are they taught as subject, though they might be used unofficially (illegally) in some cases in initial education. Television and radio programmes in ECL are prohibited, and it is nearly impossible to get a permission to publish a newspaper in ECL. There is no department of local or regional African Languages and Literatures at the University of Dar es Salaam.[146]

The Sandawe people speak a language that may be related to the Khoe languages of Botswana and Namibia, while the language of the Hadzabe people, although it has similar click consonants, is arguably a language isolate.[147] The language of the Iraqw people is Cushitic.[148]


Main article: Education in Tanzania
Nkrumah Hall at the University of Dar es Salaam

Based on 2012 data, the literacy rate in Tanzania for persons aged 15 and over is estimated to be 67.8%.[149] Education is compulsory until children reach age 15.[150] In 2010, 74.1% of children age 5 to 14 years were attending school.[150] The primary school completion rate was 80.8% in 2012.[150]


As of 2012, life expectancy at birth was 61 years.[151]

The under-five mortality rate in 2012 was 54 per 1,000 live births.[151] The maternal mortality rate in 2013 was estimated at 410 per 100,000 live births.[151] Prematurity and malaria were tied in 2010 as the leading cause of death in children under 5 years old.[152] The other leading causes of death for these children were, in decreasing order, malaria, diarrhoea, HIV, and measles.[152]

Malaria in Tanzania causes death and disease and has a "huge economic impact".[153]:page 13 There were approximately 11.5 million cases of clinical malaria in 2008.[153]:page 12 In 2007–08, malaria prevalence among children aged 6 months to 5 years was highest in the Kagera Region (41.1%) on the western shore of Lake Victoria and lowest in the Arusha Region (0.1%).[153]:page 12

According to the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey 2010, 15% of Tanzanian women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM)[133]:page 295 and 72% of Tanzanian men have been circumcised.[133]:page 230 FGM is most common in the Manyara, Dodoma, Arusha, and Singida regions and nonexistent in Zanzibar.[133]:page 296 The prevalence of male circumcision was above 90% in the eastern (Dar es Salaam, Pwani, and Morogoro regions), northern (Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Arusha, and Manyara regions), and central zones (Dodoma and Singida regions) and below 50% only in the southern highlands zone (Mbeya, Iringa, and Rukwa regions).[133]:pages 6, 230

2012 data showed that 53% of the population used improved drinking water sources (defined as a source that "by nature of its construction and design, is likely to protect the source from outside contamination, in particular from faecal matter") and 12% used improved sanitation facilities (defined as facilities that "likely hygienically separates human excreta from human contact" but not including facilities shared with other households or open to public use).[154]


Main article: HIV/AIDS in Tanzania

The World Health Organization estimated in 2012 that the prevalence of HIV was 3.1%,[151] although the Tanzania HIV/AIDS and Malaria Indicator Survey 2011–12 found that, on average, 5.1% of those tested in the 15 to 49 age group were HIV-positive.[155] Anti-retroviral treatment coverage for people living with HIV was 37% in 2013, compared to 19% in 2011.[156] According to a 2013 report published by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS that compares 2012 with 2001 data, AIDS deaths have decreased 33%, new HIV infections have decreased 36%, and new HIV infections among children have decreased 67%.[157]


Main article: Culture of Tanzania


Main article: Music of Tanzania
Judith Wambura (Lady Jaydee) is a popular Bongo Flava recording singer

The music of Tanzania includes traditional African music, string-based taarab, and a distinctive hip hop known as bongo flava. Famous taarab singers include Abbasi Mzee, Culture Musical Club, Shakila of Black Star Musical Group. Internationally known traditional artists include Bi Kidude, Hukwe Zawose, Diamond Platnumz, Ally Kiba and Tatu Nane. Tanzania also has its own distinct African rumba music, termed muziki wa dansi ("dance music"); important artists include Simba Wanyika, Remmy Ongala, and Orchestra Makassy. Freddie Mercury, of the band Queen, was born in Tanzania.


Main article: Tanzanian literature

Tanzania's literary culture is primarily oral.[125]:page 68 Major oral literary forms include folktales, poems, riddles, proverbs, and songs.[125]:page 69 The greatest part of Tanzania's recorded oral literature is in Swahili, even though each of the country's languages has its own oral tradition.[125]:pages 68–9 The country's oral literature has been declining because of the breakdown of the multigenerational social structure, making transmission of oral literature more difficult, and because increasing modernisation has been accompanied by the devaluation of oral literature.[125]:page 69

Tanzania's written literary tradition is relatively undeveloped. Tanzania does not have a lifelong reading culture, and books are often expensive and hard to come by.[125]:page 75[158]:page 16 Most Tanzanian literature is in Swahili or English.[125]:page 75 Major figures in Tanzanian written literature include Shaaban Robert (considered the father of Swahili literature), Muhammed Saley Farsy, Faraji Katalambulla, Adam Shafi Adam, Muhammed Said Abdalla, Said Ahmed Mohammed Khamis, Mohamed Suleiman Mohamed, Euphrase Kezilahabi, Gabriel Ruhumbika, Ebrahim Hussein, May Materru Balisidya, Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Penina O. Mlama.[125]:pages 76–8

Painting and sculpture

A Tingatinga painting

Historically, there have been only limited opportunities for formal European art training in Tanzania, and many aspiring Tanzanian artists have left the country to pursue their vocation.[158]:papge 17 One of the most famous African artists – George Lilanga – was born in Tanzania.

Two Tanzanian art styles have achieved international recognition.[158]:papge 17 The Tingatinga school of painting, founded by Edward Said Tingatinga, consists of brightly coloured enamel paintings on canvas, generally depicting people, animals, or daily life.[125]:page 113[158]:papge 17 After Tingatinga's death in 1972, other artists adopted and developed his style, with the genre now being the most important tourist-oriented style in East Africa.[125]:page 113[158]:papge 17 Makonde is both a tribe in Tanzania and Mozambique and a sculptural style. It is known for the high Ujamaas (Trees of Life) made of the hard and dark ebony tree.


One of Tanzania's, and other parts of eastern Africa's, most common dishes is Ugali. It is usually composed of corn and is similar in consistency to a stiff paste or porridge, giving it its second name of corn meal porridge. Mixtures of cassava and millet flours are locally used for ugali. Rice and cooked green bananas are also important staples. Beef, goat meat, beans, yoghurt, and a wide range of fish and green leafy vegetables all add nutrients to the dishes.


Main article: Sport in Tanzania

Football is very popular throughout the country.[159] The most popular professional football clubs in Dar es Salaam are the Young Africans F.C. and Simba S.C.[160] The Tanzania Football Federation is the governing body for football in the country.

Other popular sports include netball, boxing, volleyball, athletics, and rugby.[159][161]

Tanzania competes in the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the All-Africa Games, the Africa Cup of Nations, the CAF Champions League, the African Women's Championship in football, the CAF Confederation Cup, and the African Championships in Athletics. Among the popular sportsmen from Tanzania are Hasheem Thabeet, Mbwana Samatta and Filbert Bayi.

See also


  1. +007 from Kenya and Uganda.


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