Skip to main content
Select Source:




United Republic of Tanzania
Jamhuri Ya Muungano Wa Tanzania


FLAG: The flag consists of a black diagonal stripe running from the lower left corner to the upper right corner, flanked by yellow stripes. The diagonal stripes separate two triangular areas: green at the upper left and blue at the lower right.

ANTHEM: The Tanzanian National Anthem is a setting to new words of the widely known hymn Mungu Ibariki Afrika (God Bless Africa).

MONETARY UNIT: The Tanzanian shilling (Sh) of 100 cents is a paper currency. There are coins of 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1, 5, 10, and 20 shillings, and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 shillings. Sh1 = $0.00089 (or $1 = Sh1,123.2) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is used.

HOLIDAYS: Zanzibar Revolution Day, 12 January; Chama Cha Mapinduzi Day, 5 February; Union Day, 26 April; International Workers' Day, 1 May; Farmers' Day, 7 July; Independence Day, 9 December; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', Milad an-Nabi, Good Friday, and Easter Monday.

TIME: 3 pm = noon GMT.


Situated in East Africa just south of the equator, mainland Tanzania lies between the area of the great lakesVictoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi (Niassa)and the Indian Ocean. It contains a total area of 945,087 sq km (364,900 sq mi), including 59,050 sq km (22,799 sq mi) of inland water. Comparatively, the area occupied by Tanzania is slightly larger than twice the size of the state of California. It is bounded on the n by Uganda and Kenya, on the e by the Indian Ocean, on the s by Mozambique and Malawi, on the sw by Zambia, and on the w by Zaire, Burundi, and Rwanda, with a total boundary length of 4,826 km (2,999 mi), of which 1,424 km (885 mi) is coastline. Tanzania claims part of Lake Malawi, although its internationally recognized boundary is the eastern shore.

The section of the United Republic known as Zanzibar comprises the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba and all islets within 19 km (12 mi) of their coasts, as well as uninhabited Latham Island, 58 km (36 mi) south of Zanzibar Island. Zanzibar Island lies 35 km (22 mi) off the coast, and Pemba Island is about 40 km (25 mi) to the ne. The former has an area of 1,657 sq km (640 sq mi), and the latter 984 sq km (380 sq mi).

Tanzania's capital city, Dodoma, is located on the Indian Ocean coast.


Except for the islands and a coastal strip varying in width from 16 to 64 km (1040 mi), Tanzania lies at an altitude of over 200 m (660 ft). A plateau averaging 9001,800 m (3,0006,000 ft) in height makes up the greater part of the country. Mountains are grouped in various sections. The Pare range is in the northeast, and the Kipengere Range is in the southwest. Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/19,340 ft), in the north, is the highest mountain in Africa.

On the borders are three large lakes: Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, exceeded only by Lake Superior; Tanganyika, second only to Lake Baykal as the deepest in the world; and Lake Malawi. Lakes within Tanzania include Natron, Eyasi, Manyara, and Rukwa.

Tanzania has few permanent rivers. During half the year, the central plateau has no running water, but in the rainy season, flooding presents a problem.

Two-thirds of Zanzibar Island, to the center and the east, consists of low-lying coral country covered by bush and grass plains and is largely uninhabited except for fishing settlements on the east coast. The western side of the island is fertile and has several ridges rising above 60 m (200 ft). Masingini Ridge, at 119 m (390 ft), is the highest point on the island. The west and center of Pemba Island consists of a flat-topped ridge about 9.5 km (6 mi) wide, deeply bisected by streams. Pemba is hilly, but its highest point is only 95 m (311 ft). Apart from the narrow belt of coral country in the east, the island is fertile and densely populated.


There are four main climatic zones: (1) the coastal area and immediate hinterland, where conditions are tropical, with temperatures averaging about 27°c (81°f), rainfall varying from 100 to 193 cm (40 to 76 in), and high humidity; (2) the central plateau, which is hot and dry, with rainfall from 5076 cm (2030 in), although with considerable daily and seasonal temperature variations; (3) the semitemperate highland areas, where the climate is healthy and bracing; and (4) the high, moist lake regions. There is little seasonal variation in the Lake Victoria area, but the eastern sections average only 75100 cm (3040 in) of rain, while the western parts receive 200230 cm (8090 in). A small area north of Lake Niassa receives 250 cm (100 in) of rain. There are two rainy seasons in the north, from November to December and from March through May. In the south there is one rainy season, from November to March.

The climate on the islands is tropical, but the heat is tempered by sea breezes that are constant throughout the year, except during the rainy seasons. The seasons are well defined. From December to March, when the northeast monsoon blows, it is hot and comparatively dry. The heavy rains fall in April and May, and the lesser in November and December. It is coldest and driest from June to October, during the southwest monsoon.


Common savanna species cover most of the drier inland areasamounting to about one-third of the countrybetween altitudes of 300 and 1,200 m (1,000 and 4,000 ft). Two main types of closed-forest treeslow-level hardwoods and mountain softwoodsare found in high-rainfall areas on the main mountain masses and in parts of the Lake Victoria Basin. Wooded grasslands are widely scattered throughout the country. The drier central areas include bushlands and thickets. Grasslands and heath are common in the highlands, while the coast has mangrove forest. There are over 10,000 species of plants throughout the country.

The 4 million wild mammals include representatives of 316 species and subspecies, notably antelope, zebra, elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, giraffe, and lion. Various types of monkeys are plentiful.

There are over 230 species of birds found in the country, ranging in size from ostrich to warbler. Insect life, consisting of more than 60,000 species, includes injurious species and disease carriers. There are at least 25 species of reptiles and amphibians and 25 poisonous varieties among the 100 species of snakes. Fish are plentiful.

The flora and fauna of Zanzibar and Pemba are varied. Mammals common to both are galagos, fruit-eating and insectivorous bats, genets, mongooses, small shrews, rats, and mice. Zanzibar has the leopard, Syke's monkey, civet, and giant rat. Unique species of tree coney are found on Pemba and Tumbatu Islands. There are also five unique mammalsKirk's colobus (monkey), two elephant shrews, duiker antelope, and squirrel.


The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Tanzania National Parks Department, and the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development are the government agencies entrusted with environmental responsibilities in Tanzania. One of the nation's major concerns is soil degradation as a result of recent droughts. Also of concern is the drop in water level at Lake Victoria. Some reports estimate that in the period of 19952005, the water level dropped by one meter.

The nation's land is also affected by the related problem of desertification. Tanzania lost 14.4% of its forest and woodland area between 1983 and 1993. Tanzania has 82 cu km of renewable water resources with 89% of annual withdrawals used for farming and 2% for industrial activity. About 92% of urban dwellers and 62% of the people living in rural areas have access to improved water sources. The nation's cities produce about 1.8 million tons of solid waste per year.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 34 types of mammals, 37 species of birds, 5 types of reptiles, 40 species of amphibians, 28 species of fish, 17 types of mollusks, 16 species of other invertebrates, and 239 species of plants. The nation's marine habitats are threatened by damage to its coral reefs caused by the fishing industry's use of dynamite. Threatened species included the Uluguru bush-shrike, green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle, and Zanzibar suni. At least 16 species of fish have become extinct.


The population of Tanzania in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 36,481,000, which placed it at number 33 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 45% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 99 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.4%, a rate the government viewed as too high and sought ways to reduce the fertility rate, which stood at more than five births per woman. The projected population for the year 2025 was 52,604,000.

The overall population density was 39 per sq km (100 per sq mi). The most densely populated regions are the well-watered or elevated areas, particularly in the Usambara Mountains around Kilimanjaro and Meru, on the shores of Lake Victoria, in the Southern Highlands, and in the coastal areas around Tanga and Dar es Salaam.

The UN estimated that 32% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 4.24%. The 2002 Tanzania census reported a metropolitan population for Dodoma, the capital, of 1,698,996. Other large cities and their 2002 regional populations include Mwanza, 2,665,956; Dar es Salaam, 2,497,940; Tanga, 1,742,412; Kigoma, 1,240,939; Arusha, 1,221,890; and Zanzibar 1,003,794.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Tanzania. The UN estimated that 7.8% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.


Out of an estimated Asian population of 100,000 in 1967, almost half, most of them with British passports, had left the country by 1980. Arabs, who were the dominant group on Zanzibar before the 1964 revolution, despite forming less than 20% of the population, fled after the event to the mainland or the Middle East. There is some emigration of laborers seeking work in neighboring countries, but Tanzanians who leave the country without authorization are subject to prosecution on return. During the clove harvest, labor moves from the towns to the clove plantations, from Zanzibar to Pemba, and from the mainland territories to Pemba. As a result of migration from rural areas to the cities, the urban population is estimated to be growing by 6.5% per year. Urban authorities are empowered to return the unemployed to their villages.

In October 1993, around 250,000 Burundian refugees fled to Tanzania to escape from a military coup in Burundi. Most of these refugees returned within three months. Following the genocide in Rwanda, 500,000 Rwandan refugees arrived in April 1994. In 1996, 220,000 Rwandan refugees in Burundi fled to Tanzania to escape from the fighting in northern Burundi; they were allowed to enter based on humanitarian grounds. By December 1995, around 500,000 were repatriated following an agreement between Tanzania, Rwanda, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In 1995, 18,000 Mozambicans entered Tanzania. Since 1997, 33,000 Zaireans and 59,000 Burundians have entered Tanzania. The total number of migrants living in Tanzania in 2000 was 893,000. As of 2004, there were 602,088 refugees in Tanzania, including some 443,000 from Burundi, and 153,000 from DROC. There were also 166 asylum seekers and 2 returned refugees. In 2004, Tanzania remained the fourth-largest asylum country.

In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as -3.11 per 1,000 population. The government viewed the migration levels as satisfactory.


Mainland-native Africans constitute 99% of the total population. About 130 tribes have been categorized into 5 ethnic groups distinguishable by their physical characteristics and languages. Approximately 95% of Tanzanians may be roughly classified as Bantu, a comparatively recent blend mainly of Hamitic and Negroid stocks. Tribes range in membership from only a few thousand to the Sukuma tribe, which numbers more than two million. Other major tribes include the Nyamwezi, Makonde, Haya, and Chagga. The Luo, east of Lake Victoria, are the only people of Nilotic origin; the Masai of the northern highlands are Nilo-Hamites. A very small number of Bushmen-like people are scattered throughout northern Tanzania, where small tribes of Cushitic origin also live. The inhabitants of Zanzibar and Pemba are chiefly descendants of mainland Africans or are of mixed African and Arab extraction. The remaining 1% of the populace is made up of non-Africans, including Arabs, Asians, and Europeans.


Most Tanzanians speak variations of Bantu languages and dialects. Various languages also have Hamitic or Nilotic origins. Swahili (or Kiswahili) is the official language, as well as the lingua franca, and is understood in most parts of the country, although its usefulness declines toward the west. English, also an official language, is the primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education. Kiunguja, a form of Swahili, and Arabic are widely spoken in Zanzibar. The first language of most people is one of the local languages.


Since religious demography has been removed from government censuses as of 1967, reliable statistics on religious affiliation are diffi cult to obtain. Sociologists and religious leaders estimate that between 3040% of the total population are Christian and that about an equal percentage are Muslim. The Christian churches represented include Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Protestant, Seventh-Day Adventist, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Jehovah's Witnesses. A majority of the Muslims are Sunni, while others belong to one of several Shia groups. On the island of Zanzibar, about 99% of the inhabitants are Muslim.

Though the constitution forbids religious discrimination, many Muslims believe that they are disadvantaged with less representation in civil service, government, and other public institutions. A number of fundamental Muslims argue that the government is attempting to institute a Christian state. A 2001 Mufti Law allows the president of Zanzibar to appoint a mufti (Islamic leader) as a Zanzibar government official who settles religious disputes involving Muslims and generally monitors Muslim activities on the island. On the mainland, the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) is a nongovernmental organization that has elected their own mufti. Several Muslims object to the government support shown for the appointment or elections of muftis, believing that it will only lead to government control of Islamic religious affairs. Fundamental Muslim groups on Zanzibar have initiated highly confrontational, anti-Christian proselytizing campaigns, and Christian fundamentalists have responded by calling Muslims "servants of Satan." Tension also exists between fundamental and moderate Muslim groups, as the fundamentalists criticize secular Muslims who drink alcohol and marry Christian women. Certain Christian and Muslim holidays are celebrated as national holidays.


As of 2004, the Tanzanian Railways Corporation operated domestic railway services on 3,690 km (2,218 mi) of track, all of it narrow gauge. The Central Line extends 1,255 km (780 mi) from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma; its main branch lines are Tabora to Mwanza (381 km/237 mi) and Kaliua to Mpanda (211 km/131 mi). The Northern Line, extending from Dar es Salaam and Tanga to Moshi and Arusha, is linked to the railway systems of Kenya and Uganda. The 1,857-km (1,154-mi) Tazara railway, operated by the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority, links Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with Kpiri Mposhi in Zambia; 962 km (598 mi) of the line are in Tanzania. The Tazara railway is used mainly to transport goods for Zambia and Malawi. In 2002, Tanzania had 85,000 km (52,819 mi) of roads, 4,250 km (2641 mi) of which were paved. In 2003, there were 20,100 passenger cars and 50,200 commercial vehicles.

Tanzania has a small national merchant shipping line of three freighters and one tanker. The principal ports on the mainland are Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, Tanga, and Lindi, all of which are managed by the Tanzanian Harbours Authority. Tanzanian ports handle cargo for landlocked Zambia, Zaire, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Freight and passenger vessels serve Mwanza and other Lake Victoria ports, among them Bukoba and Musoma. A joint Burundian-Tanzanian shipping company operates on Lake Tanganyika, and the Tanzanian Railways Corporation operates vessels on lakes Tanganyika, Victoria, and Niassa. Tanzania's rivers are not navigable. In 2005, Tanzania's merchant fleet comprised 11 ships of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 25,481 GRT.

Airports in 2004 totaled an estimated 123, only 11 of which had paved runways as of 2005. Most internal air services are operated by Air Tanzania, which also flies internationally. Charter companies operate flights to government-maintained airports, landing fields, and privately owned airstrips. Foreign airlines provide service from international airports at Dar es Salaam and in the vicinity of Mt. Kilimanjaro (opened in 1971). There is also an international airport on Zanzibar, which maintains its own airline, Zanair. In 2003, scheduled airline traffic carried about 150,000 passengers.


Paleontologists Louis and Mary Leakey, working at Olduvai Gorge and elsewhere in northern Tanzania, uncovered fossil evidence that humanlike creatures inhabited the area at least as early as 3.7 million years ago. Excavations of Stone Age sites have revealed that the hunter-gatherers of the late Stone Age, known as Bushmen, were gradually displaced by successive waves of Cushitic, Bantu, and Nilotic peoples. By the 1st millennium ad, the Iron Age Urewe culture had developed along the western shore of Lake Victoria.

Arabs from the Persian Gulf area were engaged in trade along the Indian Ocean coast by the 9th century ad and by the 12th century had established trading posts on the mainland and the offshore islands. Intermarriage between the Arabs and coastal Bantu-speaking peoples resulted in the creation of the Swahili people and language. (Swahili literally means "of the coast.")

The first contacts of European nations with the East African coast were incidental to their quest for spices. In 1498, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and thereafter the Portuguese established trading and supply posts on the East African coast for their ships on the way to India. Eventually, the Portuguese lost control of the sea routes, and in 1698, the Ya'aruba imam of the Ibahdi Arabs of Oman, Sa'if bin Sultan, expelled the Portuguese from every position that they held north of Mozambique. The Ibahdis of Oman long remained in at least nominal control of East Africa, and there was a lucrative trade in slaves and ivory.

Sayyid Sa'id bin Sultan (the ruler of Oman during 180656), above all others, must be regarded as the founder of modern Zanzibar. Sa'id first visited Zanzibar in 1828, and in 1840, he made the island his capital. A believer in free trade, he encouraged foreign merchants, including Indians, broke up Arab monopolies, and made commercial treaties with the United States and the United Kingdom. Zanzibar is indebted to him most for his establishment of the clove tree. By the time he died in 1856, he had established a large, loosely held empire that included Oman, Zanzibar, and the East African coast inland to the Great Lakes and the Congo. Zanzibar produced three-quarters of the world's clove supply on plantations worked by slaves from the mainland. British pressure forced the closing of the slave trade in 1876, although slavery itself was not abolished until 1897.

The rise of Zanzibar as a commercial center was largely due to its trading links to the interior. Many of the caravan routes that stretched across East Africa were pioneered by African mainland societies. For example, the Yao living around Lake Malawi supplied the southern Tanzania trading town of Kilwa with slaves and ivory. African societies that gained control over the trade routes enhanced their power and wealth. In northeast Tanzania, a powerful trading and military state emerged in the 1860s in Urambo. Its leader, Mirambo was an excellent military and commercial strategist. He challenged the position of coastal traders in the area as well as the leading states that were closely aligned to Zanzibar.

The first Europeans to explore the interior were the British Sir Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, who crossed the country in 1857 to search for the source of the Nile, which Speke discovered in 1858. In 1866, Sultan Majid of Zanzibar began building the coastal town of Dar es Salaam ("Haven of Peace"). In 1871, Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone had reached Ujiji when his whereabouts became unknown to the outside world; the Anglo-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley, commissioned by a US newspaper, located him there later in that year. Tanganyika (the name for the mainland prior to the 1964 union with Zanzibar) came under German influence in 188485, when Karl Peters concluded treaties with chiefs of the interior in order to secure a charter for his German East Africa Company.

In 1890, two treaties between Germany and Great Britain were signed: the first partitioned the territories on the mainland hitherto controlled by the sultan of Zanzibar; the second officially recognized Anglo-German spheres of influence, excluded Germany from the Upper Nile, and established a British protectorate over Zanzibar and Pemba. Tanganyika and Ruanda-Urundi (now Rwanda and Burundi) became recognized as German East Africa in 1891. As they occupied the interior, the German-led troops put down African opposition and uprisings. Intense military opposition to the European imperialism was led by Mirambo of the Nyamwezi in northwest Tanzania, by Mkwawa of the Hehe in southern highlands and by Meli of the Chagga around Kilimanjaro. However, the most bloody and intense opposition to German rule was the Maji-Maji war from 19051907. This war was inspired by Kinjekitile, a charismatic spiritual leader from southern Tanzania, succeeded in uniting a large number of African societies to fight the Germans. People who took Kinjekitile's medicine were told that the "white man's' bullets" could not harm them. After initial battlefield successes, the Germans initiated a scorched earth policy that eventually starved southern Tanzania into submission. During World War I, a small German force led by Gen. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck fought a long defensive guerrilla war against British armies, and much of Tanganyika was laid waste.

Moving Toward Independence

Beginning in 1920, the United Kingdom administered Tanganyika as a mandate of the League of Nations. A customs union was established with Kenya and Uganda, the cultivation of export crops was encouraged, and a system of indirect rule was instituted. A Legislative Council for Tanganyika was created in 1926, but not until 1945 were seats reserved for Africans. In 1946, Tanganyika became a UN trust territory. After 1954, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) petitioned the UN Trusteeship Council to put pressure on the UK administration to establish a timetable for independence. TANU-supported candidates won the elections of 195860 for the Legislative Council, and Julius Nyerere became chief minister in September 1960. On 9 December 1961, Tanganyika became an independent nation. On 9 December 1962, it was established as a republic, headed by Nyerere as president.

In Zanzibar, a Legislative Council with an elected element had been established in 1957. On 24 June 1963, a deeply divided Zanzibar attained internal self-government; it became completely independent on 10 December 1963 under the (ZNP) Zanzibar Nationalist Party. On 12 January 1964, however, the ZNP government was overthrown by African nationalists allowing ZNP's bitter rivals the ASP (Afro-Shirazi Party) to take power. The sultan, who had fled, was deposed, and Abeid Karume was installed as president. On 26 April 1964, Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar and became the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with Nyerere as president; in October, the name was changed to Tanzania. Karume, still president of Zanzibar and a vice president of Tanzania, was assassinated on 7 April 1972; his successor as head of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Council was Aboud Jumbe.

Under Nyerere, Tanzania became steadily more socialist. In international affairs, Tanzania became one of the strongest supporters of majority rule in southern Africa, backing liberation movements in Mozambique, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa. Growing differences between the East African Community's three members (Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda) led to the breakup in 1977 of the 10-year-old group. Tanzania's border with Kenya remained closed until 1983. On 30 October 1978, Ugandan forces invaded Tanzania; Nyerere retaliated by sending 20,000 Tanzanian troops into Uganda. Ugandan President Idi Amin's forces were routed in April 1979, and former president Milton Obote, who had been living in exile in Tanzania, was returned to power. In 1982, Tanzanian troops helped put down an army mutiny in the Seychelles.

In 1980, Nyerere was reelected without opposition to his fifth and last term as president. During the early 1980s, Tanzania was plagued by poor economic performance, and there was a small, unsuccessful army mutiny against Nyerere in January 1983. There was also rising dissatisfaction in Zanzibar over the islands' political ties to the mainland; an attempt to overthrow Jumbe in June 1980 failed. In 1984, Jumbe and his colleagues, including his Chief Minister Seif Shariff Hamad, attempted to push for more autonomy for Zanzibar. As a result, Aboud Jumbe was pressured by the union government to resign his posts as vice president of Tanzania and president of Zanzibar in January 1984. His Chief Minister, Seif Shariff Hamad was detained. Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Jumbe's successor, was elected president of Zanzibar in April 1984. He was succeeded by Idris Abdul Wakil in October 1985. Mwinyi succeeded Nyerere as president of Tanzania in November 1985, following presidential and parliamentary elections, and was reelected in 1990. Mwinyi was identified with those in the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), seeking greater political and economic liberalization, and in 1990 Nyerere resigned as chairman of the CCM. On 14 October 1999 Julius Nyerere died of leukemia. Idris Wakil, died shortly after on 15 March 2000.

Liberalization was not easy to attain. Except for religion, the CCM controlled almost all areas of social affairs. Party cells at work and in the community shadowed Tanzanians constantly. In February 1992, at an extraordinary national conference of CCM, delegates voted unanimously to introduce a multiparty system. On 17 June 1992, Mwinyi signed into law constitutional amendments that allowed new parties (with certain exceptions) to participate in elections. The first multiparty elections since the reinstitution of multiparty politics were local government elections held in 1994. In the elections the ruling party CCM soundly defeated the opposition parties. Despite strong government and CCM support for liberalization, the state is at least rhetorically committed to socialism as the concept of "socialism and self-reliance" is retained in article nine of the union constitution.

Rifts between the mainland (Tanganyika) and Zanzibar grew in the 1990s, often linked to the ongoing ChristianMuslim division. In December 1992, in violation of the constitution, the government in heavily Muslim Zanzibar covertly joined the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). In August 1993, parliament debated a motion calling for constitutional revisions to create a separate government for Tanganyika, to parallel the Zanzibar government. At that point, Zanzibar agreed to withdraw from the OIC and to allow Tanzanians from the mainland to visit without passports.

In April 1993, fundamentalist Muslims were arrested for attacking owners of pork butcheries in Dar es Salaam. Demonstrations at their trials led to more arrests and a government ban on the Council for the Propagation of the Koran. Around the same time the government also arrested an evangelist pastor named Christopher Mtikila who had formed a political party not recognized by the government. Mtikila, a populist preacher, accused the government of selling the country off to Arabs and Zanzibaris and his actions helped to heighten ChristianMuslim tensions. Mwinyi shuffled his cabinet several times in 1993 to balance Christian and Muslim interests. Later under the Mkapa regime, religious tensions became apparent again when Muslims protested over the arrest of a religious leader from the Mwembechai Mosque in Dar es Salaam on the grounds that he was threatening peace and stability through his provocative sermons. In a demonstration that followed the arrest, two people were shot dead by the police and 135 demonstrators were arrested.

From the constitutional amendment of 1992 sprang the elections of October 1995, the first multiparty elections in Tanzania since the 1960s. However, the CCM commitment to a fair and open election was questioned. CCM candidate Benjamin Mkapa was elected union president in a vote that opposition parties and international observers considered flawed. On Zanzibar, international observers and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) believed that CCM intimidation and vote rigging influenced the election results for the islands' government to favor CCM. The CUF claimed victory, only to have the CCM reject the results. The CCM-dominated electoral commission then declared CCM candidate Salmin Amour the winner of the presidential race and gave the CCM the majority of seats in Zanzibar's House of Representatives. CUF boycotted sessions of the Zanzibar House and refused to recognize the Amour government until a 1999 Commonwealth-brokered agreement was reached between the two rival parties. Despite the agreement, political tensions on the islands were high as the October 2000 elections approached.

Among the major problems inherited by Mkapa was the fate of the 700,000 refugees living in camps near the northern and western borders. Tanzania had taken in some 500,000 Rwandan refugees who fled the violence in their country since 1980. In one day at the height of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, 200,000 refugees crossed over the border. Additionally, the government took in 200,000 refugees from Burundi. The strain on the country's resources, coupled with incursions into Tanzania by Tutsi dominated Burundi government forces chasing Hutu rebels, led the government to close its borders in 1995. In February 1997, Tanzania implemented its much-criticized plan to repatriate or expel its refugee population. In 1998 Tanzania severed its relations with Burundi and refused to recognize the military government of Maj. Pierre Buyoya. In response, Burundi closed its embassy in Dar es Salaam. Repatriation of Rwandan refugees was nearly completed by end of 2002.

On 7 August 1998, simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaamclaiming 12 Tanzanian liveswere attributed to Osama bin Laden's al-Quaeda organization. Combined investigations and close cooperation between the Tanzanian and US governments facilitated the capture of a number of the terrorists. However, in early 2003 Western governments issued warnings to their citizens of possible terrorist threats on Zanzibar, which had a devastating impact on the economy with some hotel bookings down by 50%.

In October 2000, Tanzanians went to the polls reelecting Benjamin Mkapa and giving the ruling CCM party 244 of 272 seats in the parliament. The CUF disputed the results in Zanzibar, and in January 2001 after the government declared a protest march illegal, security forces shot and killed approximately 30 persons, seriously injured 300, and displaced some 2,000 more. On 26 February 2001, in what appeared to be a revenge murder, the CCM secretary general for Pemba was found killed with machete slashes to his skull and body. Following year-long talks between the CCM and CUF, a constitutional amendment act was passed by the Zanzibari parliament on Pemba island towards the implementation of a reconciliation agreement signed by the two parties in October 2001. The passage of the act meant a review of the judiciary and Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), as well as the introduction of a director of public prosecution.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 14 December 2005. Originally scheduled for 30 October, the elections were postponed due to the death of a vice presidential candidate. These polls were the third since the country returned to multiparty rule in 1992. They were also significant in that the incumbent President Benjamin Mkapa, who has served two consecutive terms, stepped down in accordance with the constitution. Jakaya Kikwete was elected president winning 80.3% of the votes. The next presidential election was scheduled for 2010.

Elections for the presidency of Zanzibar and its House of Representatives took place on 30 October 2005, as scheduled. Amani Abeid Karume of CCM won 53.18% of the votes and Seif Sharif Hamad of CUF won 46.07% of the votes in the presidential election. Voter turnout was high at 90.8% of registered voters. Immediately after the results were announced, riots broke out and a number of people were beaten and shot by the police. CUF protested the results claiming that Karume had won the presidency in Zanzibar through rigging. In the Zanzibar House of Representatives, CCM won 30 of the 50 seats and CUF took 19, with one seat being invalidated.

As of mid-2005, Tanzania faced a number of issues and challenges. According to the UNDP human development report for 2005, Tanzania ranked 164 out of 173 countries making it one of the world's poorest nations. The HIV adult prevalence rate was 11% with over two million people infected with the virus. The US State Department report on democracy and human rights observed that while Tanzania had improved its respect for human rights in recent years, the government's overall record remained poor. The report found that police were more disciplined in recent years, but members of the police and security forces committed unlawful killings and mistreated suspected criminals. The most serious violations of human rights resulted from election-related violence in Zanzibar in 2001 and in October 2005.


A new constitution, replacing the 1965 interim document, went into effect April 1977 and was substantially amended in October 1984 and in 1992. It has been amended eight times.

The president, who is both chief of state and head of government, can be elected for no more than two five-year terms by universal adult suffrage. Before the constitutional amendments in 1992, the sole legal party Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) nominated the president. Two vice presidents, whom he appointed, assisted him: one was the prime minister and the other was the president of Zanzibar. As of 1995, the president is assisted by a vice president, prime minister, and cabinet. If the president of Tanzania is from Zanzibar, the vice president must be from the mainland and vice-versa.

As of 1995, the 274-seat unicameral national assembly consists of 232 members elected by universal adult suffrage for five-year terms, 36, or 15%, of the seats reserved for women nominated by their parties (parties nominate the women members of parliament in proportion to the number of seats they control), and 5 members from the Zanzibar House of Representatives and the attorney general. Presidential and legislative elections are held concurrently, and in each legislative constituency. All candidates in competing in elections must belong to political parties. The prime minister, who is chosen from the assembly members, heads the assembly. If the president withholds his assent from a bill passed by the assembly, it does not become a law unless the assembly passes it again by a two-thirds majority. The president may dissolve the assembly and call for new presidential and legislative elections if he refuses to assent to a law passed by such a majority within 32 days of its passage.

The Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar, which held power on the islands since 1964, adopted a separate constitution in October 1979, which it replaced in January 1984. The new constitution provides for a popularly elected president and a 75-member Council of Representatives, 50 of whom are popularly elected and 25 appointed. The government of Zanzibar has exclusive jurisdiction over internal matters, including immigration, finances, and economic policy. Since the 1990s, a trend toward greater autonomy for Zanzibar has been the basis of political tension with the mainland.

The Articles of Union and Acts of Union of 1964 provided for two governments: the union government, which also handled mainland issues, and the Zanzibar government, which dealt with nonunion matters pertaining to Zanzibar. The Tanganyikan constitution of 1962 was amended to accommodate the two government arrangement, which has remained in place ever since. However, the two-government system has been criticized as favoring Zanzibar because there is no separate government for the mainland. Moreover, Zanzibar's representation in parliament is considered to be disproportionate to its small population. In August 1993, following Zanzibar's attempt to join the OIC in violation of the constitution, the National Assembly adopted a resolution that provided for the possibility of setting up a mainland or Tanganyikan government to parallel that of Zanzibar. The issue of a federated system with three governments has remained a bone of contention between CCM and the opposition parties.

Renegotiation of the Union pact was the key issue of the 1995 elections, the first contested elections on Tanzania in 20 years. Although the former ruling party emerged from those elections with the Zanzibar presidency and a majority in the House of Representatives, the secessionist movement remained strong on the islands. The Zanzibar government established its own department of revenue and foreign affairs.

In February 2000 the Zanzibar CCM and the mainland CCM factions clashed over a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Zanzibar's President Salmin Amour to seek a third term. CCM's National Executive Committee postponed consideration of the issue until after the 2000 elections, effectively blocking Amour's bid. On 29 October 2000, Zanzibar elected Amani Abeid Karume president, and Benjamin Mkapa was returned president of the Tanzanian republic. In 2005 Jakaya Kikwete was elected president with 80.3% of the votes. In controversial Zanzibar elections held in October 2005, Karume won 53.18% of the votes to retain the Zanzibar presidency.


At independence in 1961, Tanganyika (Tanzania Mainland) had a multiparty political system. The Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), established in 1954, was the overwhelmingly dominant political party in preindependence Tanganyika. Other political parties of this era included the United Tanganyika Party, the African National Congress, and the All Muslim National Unity of Tanganyika. In Zanzibar, there were three important political parties prior to independence. These were the ZNP (Zanzibar Nationalist Party, ASP (Afro-Shirazi Party), and ZPPP (Zanzibar and Pemba Peoples's Party). On 5 February 1977, ASP the ruling party of Zanzibar and TANU merged into the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) or Revolutionary Party. It became the sole legal political party in Tanzania. All candidates had to be approved by the CCM and were permitted to campaign only on the CCM platform. Elections within the single party framework were competitive, however. In the balloting on 13 and 27 October 1985, 328 candidates competed for 169 elective seats in the National Assembly. In 1987, former president Julius K. Nyerere was reelected chairman of the CCM. He stepped down in 1990, to be succeeded by Ali Hassam Mwinyi.

The CCM officially favors nonracism and African socialism. The basic aims, laid down in Nyerere's Arusha Declaration of 1967, are social equality, self-reliance, economic cooperation with other African states, ujamaa (familyhood), and the development of forms of economic activity, particularly in rural areas, based on collective efforts. However, since the late 1980s, CCM has slowly transformed itself into a pro-market, pro-business party. The party is divided into locally organized branches, which are grouped into districts, which in turn are grouped into regions. The 172-member National Executive Committee is the principal policymaking and directing body of the CCM. A central committee of 18 members is elected at periodic party congresses.

Although Tanzania amended its constitution in 1992 to become a multiparty state, the CCM still controls government. Other parties have tried to organize, and have complained of harassment by government and CCM activists. Before taking part in elections, the new parties undergo a six-month probation during which they can recruit and organize. Some 20 opposition groups had registered in the first four months of their legality. However, parties representing regional, racial, ethnic, or religious groups are explicitly prohibited.

Multiparty elections were held in Zanzibar on 25 October 1995 and union-wide on 29 October 1995. International observers and opposition parties accused the CCM of voter fraud and intimidation of opposition candidates in Zanzibar. While Civic United Front (CUF) claimed victory, on 26 October, the election commission declared CCM presidential candidate Salmin Amour the winner by 1,565 votes over the CUF's Seif Shariff Hamad. The CCM also won 26 of the 50 seats in the House of Representatives. Citing fraud in the election, the CUF boycotted the House and refused to recognize the Amour government. CCMCUF tension in Zanzibar increased dramatically after the government arrested eighteen CUF members and charged them with treason, an offence punishable by death. Four of those charged with treason were CUF members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives. The Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, tried to reconcile the two parties. An agreement was reached between the two parties in 1999 but tensions on the island remained high as CUF charged CCM with not living up to the agreement. As the 2000 elections approached, the treason suspects were still behind bars and clamoring to run for office from prison.

The Union election held on 29 October 1995 was so disorganized that it was cancelled in Dar es Salaam and held again on 19 November. In the presidential election, CCM candidate Benjamin Mkapa won with 61.8% of the vote. Former Deputy Prime Minister Augustino Mrema of the National Convention for Constitutional Reform received 27.7%; Ibrahim Lipumba of the Civic United Front won 6.4%, and John Cheyo of the United Democratic Party captured 3.97%. Parliamentary election results saw the CCM win 59.2% of the vote and 186 seats; NCCR, 21.83% and 16 seats; CUF, 5% and 24 seats; Chadema, 6.2% and 3 seats, and UDP, 3.3% and 3 seats.

As of the October 2000 elections there were 12 permanently registered opposition parties: Civic United Front/Chama Cha Wananchi (CUF), the National Convention for Constitutional Reform (NCCR-Mageuzi), the Union for Multiparty Democracy (UMD), Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), the National League for Democracy (NLD), the Tanzania Peoples Party (TPP), the Tanzania Democratic Alliance (TADEA), the National Redemption Alliance (NRA), the Popular National Party (PONA), the United Peoples Democratic Party (UPDP), the United Democratic Party (UDP), and the Tanzania Labor Party (TLP).

In the presidential elections on 29 October 2000, CCM candidate Benjamin William Mkapa was reelected president with 71.7% of the vote, defeating CUF candidate Ibrahim Haruna Lipumba who garnered 16.3%. TLP candidate Augustine Lyatonga Mreme managed to obtain 7.8%, and John Momose Cheyo of the UDP 4.2%. In the National Assembly, the CCM won 244 of 272 seats to 16 for the CUF, 4 for CHADEMA, 3 for TLP, and 2 for UDP. In the Zanzibar House of Representatives the CCM won 34 seats to 16 for CUF. However, on Zanzibar the elections and postelections period were marred by violent civil unrest.

The results of the 2005 National Assembly election were as follows: CMM, 206 seats; CUF, 19 seats; CHADEMA, 5 seats; other, 2 seats; 37 women were appointed by the president, and Zanzibar representatives, 5 seats. The results of the 2005 Zanzibar House of Representatives election were as follows: CCM, 30 seats; CUF, 19 seats; and 1 seat was nullified with a rerun scheduled.

In the Union elections scheduled for December 2005, ten political parties fielded candidates for the presidency of Tanzania. Benjamin Mkapa of CCM stepped down as mandated by the constitution. CCM fielded Jakaya Kikwete who won the presidency with 80.3% of the votes, while Sauti ya Umma (SAU) was represented by Henry Kyara and CUF supported Ihrahim Lipumba who won 11.7% of the votes. Other presidential candidates included Emmanuel Makaidi of National League for Democracy (NLD); Freeman Mbowe of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) (won 5.9% of the votes); Augustine Mrema of Tanzania Labour Party (TLP); Christopher Mtikila of Democratic Party (DP); Sengondo Mvungi of National Convention for Construction and Reform-Mageuzi (NCCR-Mageuzi) also supported by the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA), Union for Multiparty Democracy (UMD), and United People's Democratic Party (UPDP); Anna Senkoro of Progressive Party of Tanzania-Maendeleo (PPT-Maendeleo); and Leonard Shayo of Demokrasia Makini (MAKINI). The next general elections were to be held December 2010.


Mainland Tanzania is divided into 20 administrative regions, which are subdivided into 86 districts. Zanzibar and Pemba are divided into five regions. Regional commissioners are appointed by the central government, as are district commissioners and development directors for the districts.

The units of local government are district development councils. Each district development council includes elected members, but these bodies are only advisory. In Zanzibar, revolutionary committees are responsible for regional administration.


Mainland Tanzanian law is a combination of British, East African customary law, and Islamic law. Local courts are presided over by appointed magistrates. They have limited jurisdiction, and there is a right of appeal to district courts, headed by either resident or district magistrates. Appeal can be made to the High Court, which consists of a chief justice and 17 judges appointed by the president. It has both civil and criminal jurisdiction over all persons and all matters. Appeals from the High Court can be made to the five-member Court of Appeal. Judges are appointed to the Court of Appeal and the High Court by the president on the advice of the chief justice and to courts at lower levels by the chief justice.

In 1985, the Zanzibar courts were made parallel to those of the mainland. Islamic courts handle some civil matters. Cases concerning the Zanzibar constitution are heard only in Zanzibar courts. All other cases may be appealed to the Court of Appeal of the Republic.

Although declared independent by the constitution, the judiciary is subject to executive branch influence and is criticized as inefficient and corrupt. Questions have been raised as to the availability of a fair trial in politically charged cases.


Tanzania's armed forces totaled 27,000 active personnel in 2005, with reserves numbering 80,000. The Army had 23,000 personnel in 5 infantry brigades, 1 tank brigade, 6 artillery battalions, 2 mortar battalions, 2 antitank battalions, 2 air defense battalions, and 1 engineering regiment. Equipment included 45 main battle tanks, 55 light tanks and 378 artillery pieces. The Navy had an estimated 1,000 personnel, whose major units consisted of six patrol/coastal vessels and two amphibious landing craft. The Air Defense Command numbered an estimated 3,000, operating 19 combat capable aircraft, including 9 fighters and 10 fighter ground attack aircraft. Police field forces, which included naval and air units, numbered 1,400. In 2004 (the latest year for which data was available), the defense budget totaled $362 million.


Tanganyika was admitted to United Nations membership on 14 December 1961, and Zanzibar on 16 December 1963; following their union into what was eventually called Tanzania, the two regions retained a single membership. Tanzania is a member of ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, ILO, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNCTAD, and the WHO. It is also a member of the African Development Bank, the East African Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Nations, the ACP Group, G-6, G-77, the WTO, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the African Union. Along with Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, it belongs to the Kagera Basin Organization. Julius Nyerere, Tanzania's first president, was one of the founding members of the Nonaligned Movement. Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya signed an East African Cooperation Treaty in September 1999. A second treaty establishing a Customs Union was signed in March 2004.

In environmental cooperation, Tanzania is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


Tanzania has an agricultural economy whose chief commercial crops are sisal, coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco, pyrethrum, spices, and cashew nuts. Agriculture accounts for 48% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the workforce. The most important minerals are gold and diamonds. Industry is mainly concerned with the processing of agricultural materials for export and local consumption. Gas production in the Rufiji Delta was scheduled for 2002. The multimillion dollar Songosongo gas pipeline project was being developed in 2003.

After 25 years of socialist experimentation achieved important advances in education and health, poor economic performance led the government, in 1986, to adopt market-style reforms in conjunction with the IMF structural adjustment program. Since then, significant progress has been made in revitalizing the economy and donors have pledged additional funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's deteriorated economic infrastructure. The high inflation rate dropped to 5% in 2001 and 4.1% in 2004. Growth averaged 4.2% in 19962000, and picked up steadily to 6.2% in 2002, before slightly dropping in 2003 to an estimated 5.7% because of drought, and then recovering to 6.7% in 2004.

In 2001, bilateral donor countries pledged $1 billion in aid for the country's reform programs, including education. Tanzania in 2003 was receiving $3 billion over time in debt relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and the net present value of Tanzania's external debt was being reduced by 54%. The economy was improving, with the mining, tourism, agriculture, construction, telecommunications, and utilities sectors all showing potential for growth. The government had sold off state-owned enterprises, was welcoming foreign investment, and had implemented strict fiscal and monetary policies. Nonetheless, Tanzania's macroeconomic progress had not translated into better lives for its rural poor.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Tanzania's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $26.6 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $700. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 6.1%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 4.1%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 43.2% of GDP, industry 17.2%, and services 39.6%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $7 million or about $0 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.1% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $1,669 million or about $47 per capita and accounted for approximately 16.3% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Tanzania totaled $7.94 billion or about $221 per capita based on a GDP of $10.3 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 1.8%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 67% of household consumption was spent on food, 5% on fuel, 4% on health care, and 12% on education. It was estimated that in 2002 about 36% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


Over 80% of Tanzania's working population was estimated to be engaged in agriculture in 2002, with the industrial and services sectors accounting for the remaining workforce. The labor force was estimated at 19.22 million in 2005. The was no data available on unemployment in Tanzania.

In 1964, by legislation of the National Assembly, the existing 13 trade unions were dissolved and amalgamated into a single national institution, the National Union of Tanzanian Workers. This was reorganized in 1978 to take in Zanzibar trade union activity as the Organization of Tanzania Trade Unions (OTTU), which still is the only labor union organization. The OTTU was renamed the Tanzania Federation of Trade Unions (TFTU) in 1995. As of 2002, only approximately 57% of the wage-earning labor force was organized. Strikes are permitted after a lengthy and complicated arbitration procedure which delays a resolution for months. Collective bargaining does not regularly occur, and public sector employee wages and benefits are set by the government.

With the permission of a parent, a child as young as 12 years old may work on a day-to-day basis. Employment of a long-term contractual nature cannot begin until a minor is at least 15. Enforcement of these provisions is inadequate and has actually declined in recent years with increased privatization. The standard workweek is 40 hours for government workers, while most private employers retain a 44 to 48-hour workweek. A minimum wage is fixed by law; as of 2002, it was about $38 a month.


About 5.8% of the total land area is cultivated, with about two-thirds belonging to farmers owning or operating farms of five hectares (12.4 acres) or less. A massive collectivization and cooperative agricultural program was begun in 1967; by the end of 1980, 8,167 self-help villages, involving more than 14 million people, had been established. The program was coupled with the takeover of large estates.

The principal food crops are corn, millet, rice, sorghum, and pulses. The chief cash crops are coffee, cotton, and cashew nuts; sisal, cloves, sugar, tea, pyrethrum, and tobacco are also important. Tanzania is one of Africa's leading producers of sisal; in 2004, production was 23,500 tons. Other estimated agricultural production in 2004 included manioc, 6,890,000 tons; corn, 2,800,000 tons; sorghum, 650,000 tons; rice, 647,000 tons; and millet, 270,000 tons. Production in 2004 also included coffee, 47,000 tons; cotton, 109,000 tons; cashew nuts, 100,000 tons; tea, 25,500 tons; tobacco, 24,500 tons; sweet potatoes, 970,000 tons; white potatoes, 260,000 tons; and 83,000 tons of peanuts. Sugarcane production in that year was an estimated 1,800,000 tons; bananas, 150,400 tons; plantains, 601,600 tons; dry beans, 280,000 tons; seed cotton, 330,000 tons; and cottonseed, 210,000 tons.

Tanzania is the third leading producer of cloves, which are grown mostly on Pemba; production totaled 12,500 tons in 2004. Tanzania is also an important producer of coconuts (370,000 tons in 2004), mostly from the island of Zanzibar.

There was a steady decline in agricultural production during the late 1970s and early 1980s because of drought and low prices paid by the state crop-marketing agencies. In addition, there was a shortage of farm implements; only 3,000 of the nation's 10,000 tractors were in working order in 1982, and even hand hoes and oxen plows were in acute shortage. By 2003, there were some 7,600 tractors in service (down from 8,000 in 1985). Beginning in 1986, reforms of the cooperative unions and crop marketing boards have aided production. The purchase of crops (especially coffee, cotton, sisal, tea, and pyrethrum) has been opened to private traders.


Although large areas are unsuitable for livestock because of the tsetse fly, considerable numbers of cattle, sheep, and goats are kept, and livestock raising makes a substantial contribution to the economy. The estimated livestock population in 2005 included 17,800,000 head of cattle, 12,550,000 goats, 3,521,000 sheep, 455,000 pigs, and 30,000,000 poultry. About 364,000 tons of meat were produced in 2005. Milk production that year consisted of 940,000 tons from cows and 104,000 tons from goats.


With over 6% of Tanzania's area consisting of open lake waters, inland fishing, especially on Lake Tanganyika, occupies an important place in the economy. There is also fishing in the Indian Ocean. The total catch was 363,522 tons in 2003, about 83% from inland waters. Nile perch, dagaas, and tilapias are the main species caught.


Some 38,811,000 hectares (95,902,000 acres), or 43.9% of Tanzania's total land area, is classified as forest. There are about 13,000,000 hectares (32,000,000 acres) of permanent forest reserves. Small plantations for fast-growing trees have been established in these reserves. On the islands, remains of former forests are found only in two reserves.

Production in 2004 included about 23.8 million cu m (840 million cu ft) of roundwood, with 90% used as fuel wood. Sawn wood production was 24,000 cu m (847,000 cu ft) that year.


With the rebirth of the gold industry, in 1999, gold has dominated the mineral industry in Tanzania, and was expected to grow substantially in the near future. Because of significant exploration successes and government investment incentives, Tanzania's mining sector has been playing an increasingly important role in the economy. Mining sector output, by value, grew by about 17% in 2003, and by 15% in 2002. From 1999 through 2003, substantial increases in gold production spurred growth in the country's mining sector by around 15% annually. Tanzania's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.1% in 2003, of which mining and quarrying accounted for 3% of GDP in that year. Gold was the top export commodity in 2003, accounting for $504.1 million out of a total of $560.2 million in mineral exports for that year. Overall, mineral exports accounted for 48% of Tanzania's exports by value in 2003.

Output of refined gold in 2003 totaled 48,018 kg, up from 43,320 kg in 2002. With the opening of three new mines, and planned investment of $1.5 billion, gold production reached 30,088 kg in 2001 and was expected to reach 57,000 kg in 2007.

Diamond output in 2003 was 236,582 carats, down from 239,761 carats in 2002. Diamonds, 85% of which were gem-quality or semi-gem-quality, were mined at the Williamson field, in Mwadui. The deposits were jointly-owned by the government and Willcroft, of Canada. Diamond production has declined since the 1967 peak (988,000 carats), because of depletion of higher-grade ores and equipment failure. Production hit a low in 1994, of 17,177 carats. Diamond resources were 114 million tons containing 6.5 million carats. The output of other gemstones (including amethyst, aquamarine, chrysoprase, emerald, garnet, kyanite, opal, peridot, lolite, ruby, sapphire, tanzanite, and tourmaline) was 1,530,000 kg in 2003, compared to 196,000 in 2002. African Gem Resources, the new owner of block C of the Merlani mining area, estimated that block C, with resources of 2.24 million tons of ore, grading 22 carats per ton, contained two-thirds of the world's known deposits of tanzanite.

In 2003, Tanzania produced 23,176 metric tons (preliminary) of crude gypsum and anhydrite, as well as calcite, hydraulic cement, crushed limestone, salt, and presumably stone, and sand and gravel. Resources of limestone totaled 155 million tons; marble resources for lime production totaled 137 million tons; and calcitic marble resources amounted to 121 million tons. No iron ore or graphite was produced in 2003. Resources and proven reserves of iron ore, in Itewe, Liganga, and the Uluguru Mountains, totaled 103 million tons. Deposits of cobalt, copper, lead, mica, nickel, phosphates, tin, titanium, tungsten, and uranium were also known to occur, and companies were exploring for cobalt and nickel and planning to produce copper concentrate from a gold mine.


Tanzania has proven reserves of natural gas and coal but must rely on imports for all its crude oil.

Tanzania, as of January 2003, had no proven reserves of crude oil, but as of that date, did possess a crude oil refining capacity of 14,900 barrels per day. However, the refinery, as of February 2004, was reported to be no longer operational and was being used as an oil storage area. In 2002, the country's imports and consumption of refined oil products each averaged 21,720 barrels per day. There were no recorded imports or consumption of natural gas in 2002.

Coal is Tanzania's most abundant resource. Reported as of February 2004, the country has recoverable coal reserves of 220 million short tons. In 2002, coal output totaled 91,000 short tons.

Tanzania electric power generating capacity in 2002 came to 0.832 million kW, of which 0.560 million kW was hydroelectric capacity, with conventional thermal capacity at 0.302 million kW. Electric power output in 2002 totaled 2.952 billion kWh, of which hydroelectric power provided 2.709 billion kWh and conventional thermal sources 0.243 billion kWh. Demand for electric power in 2002 totaled 2.773 billion kWh. Electric power imports that year totaled 0.028 billion kWh.


Manufacturing output increased by an average of 1.1% during the decade 198090, and by 1.7% between 1988 and 1998, when it accounted for 6.8% of GDP. Industry in general accounted for 17% of GDP in 2000. Along with the results of parastatal inefficiencies; fuel and import costs, lack of foreign exchange, power shortages, lack of spare parts, and unreliable local services have tested the manufacturing sector severely. By 2001, 333 of 395 state-owned companies had been privatized, including tobacco and cashew farms, mines, the brewery, and a cigarette factory.

Tanzanian industry is centered on the processing of local agricultural goods. Some products are exported to neighboring countries: textiles and clothes, shoes, tires, batteries, transformers and switchgear, electric stoves, bottles, cement, and paper. Other industries include oil refining, fertilizers, rolling and casting mills, metal working, beer and soft drinks, vehicle assembly, bicycles, canning, industrial machine goods, glass and ceramics, agricultural implements, electrical goods, wood products, bricks and tiles, oxygen and carbon dioxide, and pharmaceutical products. In the early 2000s, the industrial sector was relatively weak, but made small gains in the production of cement, soft drinks, corrugated iron sheeting, food processing, chemicals, leather products, and textiles. The construction industry was growing at a slow pace at that time, at less than 5% per year.

Oil and natural gas exploration are encouraged, and natural gas reserves were estimated at 2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2000. Tanzania has one oil refinery at Dar es Salaam with a production capacity of 15,000 barrels per day.


The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, founded in 1958 at Dar es Salaam, advises the government on science and technology policy. Much of the scientific and technical research in Tanzania is directed toward agriculture. Facilities include the Livestock Production Research Institute at Dodoma (founded in 1905), the National Institute for Medical Research at Amani and Mwanza (founded in 1949), the Silviculture Research Institute at Lushoto (founded in 1951), the Agricultural Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture at Mlingano (founded in 1934), and the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute at Arusha (founded in 1962). The University of Dar es Salaam (founded in 1961) has faculties of science, medicine, and engineering and an institute of marine sciences; Sokoine University of Agriculture at Morogoro (founded in 1984) has faculties of agriculture, forestry, and veterinary medicine. The Open University of Tanzania (founded in 1992 at Dar es Salaam) has faculties of science, technology, and environmental studies. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 37% of college and university enrollments. In 2002, high technology exports were valued at $1 million, or 2% of the country's manufactured exports.


Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's main distribution center. Mombasa, in Kenya, and inland Tanzanian towns also serve as trade centers. Previously, Tanzania used nontariff trade barriers to protect local industries and domestic commerce. With trade liberalization, tariff barriers have been adjusted for this purpose. Most retail shops are small, privately owned establishments that specialize in one or two specific products.

Normal business hours are 7:30 am to 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday; firms that take a lunch break at noon may stay open to 4 or 4:30 pm. Banks are open from 8:30 am to noon, Monday through Friday, and 8:30 to 11 am on Saturday.


The chief imports are transport equipment and intermediate and industrial goods machinery. The big traditional export commodities for Tanzania are coffee (17.1%), fish and shellfish (11.6%), and fruits and nuts (including cashews16.8%). Other exports include unfinished tobacco (8.6%) and cotton (7.4%). Since peaking in 199697, growth in traditional commodity exports has stagnated. Traditional commodity exports (coffee, cotton, sisal, tea, tobacco, cashew nuts and cloves) reached $435 million in 1997, but averaged only $218 million annually in 200104. This is largely due to the falling prices at international markets for these commodities. On the other hand, Tanzanian nontraditional exports rose to $327.5 million in 1996, but fell back to $232.2 million in 1998. The fall mainly reflected a decline in exports of petroleum products and manufactured goods. Petroleum exports have been adversely affected by smuggling and by the reforms currently under way in the sector, which have led to the restructuring of the Tanzanian and Italian Petroleum Refinery (Tiper). However, the

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 1,218.4 2,189.5 -971.1
United Kingdom 386.9 108.2 278.7
Japan 88.7 169.7 -81.0
Kenya 83.5 116.3 -32.8
France-Monaco 79.5 40.9 38.6
India 74.4 167.5 -93.1
Netherlands 67.8 32.2 35.6
Uganda 48.1 48.1
South Africa 39.1 306.3 -267.2
Congo (DROC) 36.6 36.6
Belgium 35.6 33.4 2.2
() data not available or not significant.
Current Account -251.3
   Balance on goods -608.8
     Imports -1,511.3
     Exports 902.5
   Balance on services -46.8
   Balance on income -16.2
   Current transfers 420.5
Capital Account 1,168.0
Financial Account -507.0
   Direct investment abroad
   Direct investment in Tanzania 240.4
   Portfolio investment assets
   Portfolio investment liabilities
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets 2.9
   Other investment liabilities -750.3
Net Errors and Omissions -83.8
Reserves and Related Items -325.9
() data not available or not significant.

start of large-scale gold mining has resulted in dramatic increases in export earnings for this nontraditional sector expanding export earnings to $911.2 million in 2003.


Tanzania typically runs a current account deficit, although long term capital investment from abroad resulted in surpluses for several years during the 1970s. Agricultural marketing reforms and flexible exchange policies are expected to provide export growth in upcoming years, as exports move from the underground to the official market.

The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that in 2005 the purchasing power parity of Tanzania's exports was $1.573 billion while imports totaled $2.391 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $818 million.


On 5 February 1967, Tanzania nationalized all banks after the adoption of the Arusha Declaration. From then until 1991, banking was a state monopoly led by the central Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and the National Bank of Commerce (NBC). In 1991, the financial services sector was opened to private and foreign capital. In 1993, the first private banks opened their doors. These were Meridien BIAO and Standard Chartered, the latter being among the UK-owned banks that were nationalized in 1967. Meridien's Zambian-based African network collapsed in 1995, and Stanbic of South Africa took over the Tanzanian subsidiary after its seizure by the BoT. The Kenyan-owned Trust Bank opened in March 1995, to be followed by Eurafrican Bank (a Belgian-led venture). Also in early 1995, the only private bank to be majority-owned by indigenous Tanzanians, First Adili Bank, began business.

In 2002, the BoT was still the central bank and bank of issue, provided advice to the NBC. The NBC, which used to accounted for over 75% of the country's transactions, was split in 1997 into NBC 1997 and the National Microfinance Bank (NMB). Other Tanzanian banks include the People's Bank of Zanzibar, the Tanzania Investment Bank, the Tanzania Housing Bank, the Rural Cooperative and Development Bank (CRDB), and the Tanganyika Post Office Savings Bank. Foreign banks include Citibank, Stanbic Bank, Standard Charter, Bank of Great Britain, EuroAfrican Bank, Akiba Commercial Bank, and Exim Bank.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $874.0 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $1.9 billion. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 8.7%.

The establishment of a local stock market, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), occurred in March 1998. By 2003 there were four companies listed on the exchange with a total market capitalization of about $500 million: Tanzania Breweries Limited, Tanzania Tea Packers Limited, TOL Limited (producer of industrial gases), and Tanzania Cigarette Company Limited.


All insurance companies were nationalized in 1967. There is one national insurance company, the National Insurance Corporation of Tanzania, that covers life, fire, automobile, marine, and general accident insurance.


The Tanzanian budget covers cash expenditures and receipts for the mainland only, and does not include Zanzibar government revenues and expenditures. Total expenditures include a development budget and revenues include profits from privatization sales. The fiscal year ends on 30 June. In the early 1980s, the annual budget deficit went over 10% of GDP, and payment arrears on external debts started to mount. Since 1986, the government has improved its fiscal and monetary policies, with mixed results. Tanzania qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Tanzania's central government took in revenues of approximately $2.2 billion and had expenditures of $2.6 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$434 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 5% of GDP. Total external debt was $7.95 billion.


The corporate income tax rate in 2005 was 30% of taxable profits. Withholding taxes include: a 10% general rate for dividends (5% for companies listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange); 10% for interest; 15% on royalties; and a 10% rate on rents for residents (15% rate for nonresidents). Capital gains are treated as ordinary business income and subject to the corporate rate.

Income taxes are also levied on wages and salaries. There is a Housing Levy and a Vocational Education Training Levy on gross payroll. There is a value-added tax (VAT) with a standard rate of 20%, as of 2005. Exemptions from VAT include computers, tour operations, hospital equipment, and investments in educational equipment. Other taxes include a stamp duty on sales, a transport withholding tax, local government development levies, an entertainment tax (for non-VAT-registered taxpayers), and airport and seaport departure charges.


Tanzania has a single column tariff with many items dutiable ad valorem. Customs duties range from 025%, not including the VAT. In 1992, the government abolished duties and taxes on raw materials for industry as part of an economic reform program. In 1995, a uniform 5% tax was levied on imported capital goods. Import duties and sales tax apply according to the value of goods. There is a value-added tax of 20%. There are no export controls, except for protected wild animals, and there are no prohibited imports, except for narcotics and other internationally prohibited drugs. Import and export licenses are not needed.


From independence in 1961, Tanzania followed state-centered socialist policies. With the initiation of economic reforms in 1986, investment interest in Tanzania has grown considerably in all sectors. Under the Tanzania Investment Promotion Policy of 1990 the Investment Promotion Center was established and by 1997, it had approved about 1,025 projects worth $3.1 billion. The operations of foreign banks were authorized in 1991, and the banking industry was substantially reformed to make it more competitive. In 1992, the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency (ZIPA) Act established the Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) as a one-stop shop for facilitating and coordinating private-sector investment, and for issuing certificates of incentives to qualifying investors. The incentive package includes 100% capital allowances in computing gains and profits of an enterprise; 0% import duty on capital equipment in "lead" sectors (mining, oil and gas, tourism, and infrastructure development), and 5% import duty on equipment for projects in "priority" sectors (agriculture, aviation, commercial buildings, development banks, export processing, special regions, human resources development, manufacturing, natural resources, radio and TV broadcasting, and tourism); and an automatic permit to employ up to five foreign nationals. The Tanzania Investment Act of 1997 was strengthened by the Land Act of 1999 and the Village Land Act of 1999, which provide the right to acquire land in urban and rural areas, respectively. As a further impetus for reform, the Tanzanian government has taken steps to qualify under the US Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), effective 2001, that mandates tariff-free and quota-free access to the US market for countries making market-based reforms.

From 1997 to 2004, annual foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows increased steadily from $157.8 million to $527 million in 2003, slightly dropping to $470 million in 2004. The annual average of foreign direct investment between 1997 and 2004 was $393 million. The 10 leading countries that have invested in Tanzania are the United Kingdom, the United States, Kenya, Canada, South Africa, China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and India. Foreign investment has mainly gone into mining, manufactures, agriculture, and tourism.


The Tanzanian government has focused in recent years on reorganizing and restructuring its economic institutions. Progress has been encouraging and private sector investors are increasingly interested in mining, transport, tourist, and fishing sector opportunities.

The fourth five-year development plan (198186) was not fully carried out because of Tanzania's economic crisis. Among the projects implemented were an industrial complex, a pulp and paper project, a machine-tool plant, a phosphate plant, and the development of natural gas deposits. The Economic and Social Action Plan of 1990 scaled back the government's ambitions and sought to continue moderate growth in the economy, improve foreign trade, and alleviate some of the social costs of economic reform. Development planning is now conducted on an annual basis, with recent development priorities set in the areas of transport infrastructure, health, and education.

In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a three-year $181.5 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement for Tanzania (it expired in June 2003). With the inception of this program, gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged more than 5%, while inflation declined to below 5%. The servicing of Tanzania's over $8 billion external debt absorbs around 40% of total government expenditures. In 2001, Tanzania became eligible for $3 billion in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. The government has taken steps to attract foreign investment, including revamping tax codes, floating the exchange rate, licensing foreign banks, and creating an investment promotion center to trim bureaucratic red tape. Poverty remains pervasive, however, and is the main target for economic development.

At the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington, DC in September of 2005, the IMF announced its new policy support instrument (PSI), which is likely to replace PRGF programs in countries such as Tanzania that have successfully completed multiple PRGFs. At this meeting, the possibility of a complete write-off of Tanzania's multilateral debt moved closer as the G8 and IMF and World Bank agreed a debt-forgiveness package to be implemented in early 2006.


A social insurance system was implemented in 1998. It covers employees in the private sector, and some public workers and self-employed persons. Domestic workers are excluded, although voluntary coverage is available. Employers contribute 10% of payroll and employees contribute 10% of their wages. Coverage includes old age, disability, and survivorship payments, as well as medical care and maternity benefits. The labor code requires employers to provide severance pay to employees with continuous service of at least three months.

The government advocates equal rights and employment opportunities for women. However, discrimination and violence against women are widespread. The law does not specifically address spousal abuse and victims are hesitant to seek assistance. Female genital mutilation is prevalent. Rape is a significant problem, and the police are ill equipped to deal with the few cases that are actually reported. In Zanzibar, unmarried women who become pregnant and are under the age of 21 are subject to two years' imprisonment. Inheritance laws favor men.

Tanzania's human rights record remains poor. Police abuse of prisoners and detainees is widespread. Prison conditions are poor, and dysentery, malaria, and cholera are common. There are reports that the government has blocked the registration of local human rights organizations.


In 1975, the government began to nationalize all hospitals, including those run by Christian missions; private medical practice was ended in 1980. Medical treatment is free or highly subsidized in company clinics as well as hospitals. The pyramid structure of Tanzania's national health care system, stressing primary care at an affordable cost, makes it a pioneer in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately, 54% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 90% had adequate sanitation. An estimated 80% of the population had access to health care services and public health care expenditures were 3% of GDP. Life expectancy was 45.24 years in 2005.

There are close to 3,000 rural health facilities, 17 regional hospitals, and 3 national medical centers. As of 2004, it was estimated that there were fewer than 4 physicians per 100,000 people. Medical staff morale was low due to declining wages and management and operational difficulties in the central medical stores and domestic pharmaceuticals industries. Imports of drugs are overseen by the Pharmaceutical Board; there are four local manufacturers.

Special programs of disease control have been carried out with the assistance of the World Health Organization and UNICEF for most major diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis, poliomyelitis, and yaws. As of 2000, an estimated 44% of children under five were malnourished. Children up to one year old were immunized against tuberculosis, 82%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 74%; polio, 73%; and measles, 69%. Tanzania's tuberculosis treatment program is less than 20 years old and consists of inexpensive drugs that cut recovery time in half.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 39.1 and 13 per 1,000 people. About 25% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception in 2000. Infant mortality in 2005 was 98.54 per 1,000 live births. Maternal mortality was an estimated 530 per 100,000 live births.

The female genital mutilation prevalence in Tanzania was lower than most African nations. An estimated 1.5 million or 10% suffered from the procedure. The government of Tanzania has not prohibited it.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 8.80 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 1,600,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 160,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003. The Tanzanian government is working to stop the spread of AIDS by improving the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Intervention on some STDs has shown a reduction in HIV prevalence.


Tanzania has developed a serious urban housing shortage as a result of the influx of people to the towns. All development planning has included considerable financial allocations for urban housing schemes. With private enterprise unable to meet the demand, the government in 1951 launched a low-cost housing program, which has been continued since that time.

A significant number of dwellings are constructed from mud and poles or from mud bricks and blocks. A smaller percentage of dwellings are made of concrete and stone, or of baked and burned bricks. Piped indoor water is available to about one-fourth of households and over half have private toilets. In 1995, it was estimated that about 70% of the urban population was living in temporary shelters of squatter/slum areas. The housing deficit in urban areas was estimated at 1.2 million units. In 2002, there were an estimated 6,996,036 households; the average household size was 4.9 members.


Education is compulsory for seven years, generally for children between the ages of 7 and 14. This is covered by a two-stage primary school program (four years plus three years). Students may then attend four years of lower secondary and two years of upper secondary school. In the upper secondary level, students choose three courses of study from the following topics: languages, arts, social sciences, mathematics, sciences, commercial subjects, military science, and technology. All senior secondary students take a course in political education. The academic year runs from September to July.

Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 69% of age-eligible students. In 2000, secondary school enrollment was about 4.6% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 57.7% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 56:1 in 2003.

The University College in Dar es Salaam opened in 1961 and achieved university status in 1970. The Sokoine University of Agriculture, at Morogoro, was founded in 1984. Other educational facilities in Tanzania include trade schools, the Dar es Salaam Technical College, University College of Lands, Architecture, and Survey (Formerly Ardhi Institute of Dar es Salaam), the Institute of Finance Management and a political science college (both in Dar es Salaam), the College of African Wildlife Management at Mweka, the Institute of Development Management at Morogoro, and the College of National Education in Korogwe. The School of Art at Bagamoyo, devoted to preserving traditional cultures, is one of the few national art schools in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1995, an Open University was established to offer distance learning programs to students in remote areas. The first university to be established on Zanzibar, the University of Zanzibar, opened in 1998. In 2003, it was estimated that about 1% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 69.4%, with 77.5% for men and 62.2% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2.2% of GDP.


The Tanzania Library Service was established in 1964. It maintains the National Central Library in Dar es Salaam (656,000 volumes), 20 regional public libraries, a school library service, and a rural extension service. The British Council Library and the American Center Library are also in Dar es Salaam. The other major library is the University of Dar es Salaam Library (750,000 volumes). The library at Dar es Salaam Technical College circulates books by mail to all parts of the country. Also in the capital is the library of the East African Literature Bureau. Zanzibar's National Archives has a collection of Arabic manuscripts. The Tanzanian Library Association was founded in 1973.

The National Museums of Tanzania, with branches in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, have ethnographical, archaeological, historical, geological, and natural history sections; the discoveries from Olduvai Gorge are located there. The Department of Geological Survey maintains a geological museum in Dodoma. There are also museums in Arusha, Bagamoyo, Mikumi, Mwanza, and Tabora.

In Zanzibar, the Government Museum has extensive exhibits illustrating the history, ethnography, industries, and natural history of Zanzibar and Pemba. Tabora has the Livingstone and Stanley Memorial site. There is a fine arts museum in Marangu.


In 2003, there were an estimated 4 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 8,000 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 25 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

Radio Tanzania, a government corporation, broadcasts internally in Swahili and English and abroad in English, Afrikaans, and several indigenous African languages. Radio Tanzania Zanzibar broadcasts in Swahili. Private radio and television stations broadcast from Dar es Salaam. As of 1999 there were 12 AM and 4 FM radio stations and 3 television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 406 radios and 45 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 5.7 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 7 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There was one secure Internet server in the country in 2004.

In 2004, there were about 110 newspapers published in English and Kiswahili, including 19 dailies and 53 weeklies. Many of the papers are privately owned. The largest dailies, both published in Dar es Salaam, are the government-owned Daily News (in English), with a circulation of about 50,000 in 2002, and the CCM-owned Uhuru (in Swahili), with a circulation of 100,000. Kipanga (in Swahili) is published on Zanzibar by the government. The constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press; however, the government is said to pressure journalists into self-censorship.


In most of the larger centers, chambers of commerce represent commercial, agricultural, and industrial interests. Rural cooperatives, dissolved in 1976, were reintroduced in 1982 to take over from state bodies the functions of crop purchasing and distribution of agricultural products. There are professional associations and unions for a number of fields, such as the Tanzania Teachers' Union and the Tanzania Sports Medicine Association. The Tanzania Consumers Protection Association is active.

The CCM has five principal affiliates: the Umoja Wa Wawawake Wa Tanzania, a women's organization; the Youth League; the Workers' Organization; the Union of Cooperative Societies; and the Tanzania Parents' Association. Cultural organizations include the National Kiswahili Council, which promotes the use of the Swahili language.

The Tanzanian Scout Association, Girl Guides, and YMCA/YWCA programs are available for youth. There are also several sports associations offering youth programs for athletes interested in a variety of pastimes, such as badminton, cricket, lawn tennis, squash, and track and field.

Social action groups include the Catholic Women Organization of Tanzania, the Center for Human Rights Promotion, National Peace Council of Tanzania, and the Tanzania Gender Networking Program. The multinational African Medical and Research FoundationTanzania is based in Dar es Salaam. The Center for Women and Children's Rights, established in 1998, and the Huruma Rehabilitation Programme, established in 1994, are dedicated to promoting and supporting the rights and social welfare of women. Volunteer service organizations, such as the Lions Clubs International, are also present. International organizations with national chapters include Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, Africare, Caritas, and the Red Cross.


Tanzania has great natural resources along its Indian Ocean coastline, 29 game reserves and 13 national parks, especially the 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq mi) Serengeti National Park, famed for its profusion of wildlife. Tourists also enjoy the dramatic view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. As of 2006, scientists were predicting that Kilimanjaro's ice cap, which had visibly shrunk during the 1990s, would completely disappear by 2015. Other attractions are the national dancing troupe and the ebony wood sculptures of the Makonde tribe. Visas are required and are valid for Zanzibar as well.

Yellow fever immunizations are required if traveling from an infected area, and malaria suppressants advised.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the cost of staying in Dar es Salaam at $255 per day. Other areas were significantly less with daily expenses of $187.


The most famous 19th-century Zanzibari was Sayyid Sa'id bin Ahmad al-Albusa'idi (b.Oman, 17911856), who founded the Sultanate. Mkwawa, chief of the Hehe, carried on guerrilla warfare against the Germans for three years until he was betrayed for a reward in 1898. The Germans cut off his head and sent it to the anthropological museum in Bremen; in 1961, Mkwawa's skull was returned to the Hehe. The foremost present-day figure is Julius Kambarage Nyerere (192299), the founder and first president of independent Tanganyika (and later of Tanzania) from 1962 to 1985, when he stepped down. He was succeeded by 'Ali Hassan Mwinyi (b.1925), who had been president of Zanzibar during 198485. Abeid Karume (190572), a sailor of Congolese origin, was the first president of Zanzibar and first vice president of Tanzania until his assassination. He was succeeded by Aboud Jumbe (b.1920), who resigned both posts in 1984. Since 1985, the president of Zanzibar has been Idris Abdul Wakil (b.1925). Edward Moringe Sokoine (193884), a prime minister during 197780 and 198384, was regarded as Nyerere's most likely successor until he died in a car crash. Salim Ahmed Salim (b.1942) was a president of the UN General Assembly during 197980, a foreign minister during 198084, and a prime minister during 198485. An internationally known Tanzanian runner is Filbert Bayi (b.1953), a former world record holder at 1,500 m.


Tanzania has no territories or colonies.


Assensoh, A. B. African Political Leadership: Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius K. Nyerere. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Pub., 1998.

Collier, Paul. Labour and Poverty in Rural Tanzania: Ujamaa and Rural Development in the United Republic of Tanzania. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Creighton, Colin, and C. K. Omari, eds. Gender, Family and Household in Tanzania. Brookfield, Vt.: Avebury, 1995.

Darch, Colin. Tanzania. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1996.

Giblin, James L., Isaria N. Kimambo, and Gregory Maddox, eds. Custodians of The Land: Ecology and Culture in the History of Tanzania. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1996.

Kamoche, Ken M. (ed.). Managing Human Resources in Africa. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Lugalla, Joe. Crisis, Urbanization, and Urban Poverty in Tanzania: A Study of Urban Poverty and Survival Politics. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1996.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Ofcansky, Thomas P. Historical Dictionary of Tanzania. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997.

. Historical Dictionary of Tanzania. [computer file]. Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.

Okema, Michael. Political Culture in Tanzania. Lewiston: E. Mellen, 1996.

Sadleir, Randal. Tanzania, Journey to Republic. New York: Radcliffe Press; Distributed in the United States and Canada by St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Sender, John. Poverty, Class, and Gender in Rural Africa: A Tanzanian Case Study. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Tripp, Aili Mari. Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Economy in Tanzania. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



United Republic of Tanzania
Jamhuri Ya Muungano Wa Tanzania



A relatively large country located in East Africa, Tanzania has a total area of 945,087 square kilometers (364,900 square miles), rendering it slightly larger than twice the size of California. The area of Tanzania includes the islands of Mafia, Pemba, and Unguja; the latter 2 form a semi-autonomous region called Zanzibar that is part of an official union with the republic of Tanzania. With a coastline that spans 1,424 kilometers (883 miles), the eastern part of Tanzania borders the Indian Ocean, while to the north lies Kenya, to the northeast Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, to the west Zaire, to the southwest Zambia, and, finally, to the south, Malawi and Mozambique. The former capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, is situated slightly to the north of the central point along the coastline of the Indian Ocean. The new capital, Dodoma, is located slightly to the north of the center of the country.


In 1975, the total population of Tanzania stood at 15.9 million. Since then, the population has grown exponentially, reaching a total of 35.3 million in July 2000. Joe Lugalla, author of Crisis, Urbanization, and Urban Poverty in Tanzania: A Study of Urban Poverty and Survival Politics, attributes the rapid population growth to increased life expectancy, a high birth rate accompanied by a declining rate in infant mortality, better health care, the availability of clean water, and better nutrition. With a birth rate of 40.17 births per 1,000 people and a death rate of 12.88 deaths per 1,000 people, the current population growth rate, estimated at 2.3 percent (1997), is still quite significant. Indeed, by 2015, the population will reach approximately 47.2 million. In order to contain this growth, the Tanzanian government adopted an official population policy in 1992. The policy, which came into effect in 1995, emphasizes measures designed to increase the general standard of living of the population. It is argued that one of the major causes of population growth is poverty, as families are obliged to have large families in order to increase familial income. The age structure of Tanzania is relatively young, with 45 percent of the population aged between 0 and 14 years, 52 percent aged between 15 and 64 years, and only 3 percent aged 65 years and over. More than 80 percent of the population of Tanzania resides in rural areas.

In terms of ethnicity, 99 percent of the population of mainland Tanzania is of native African descent95 percent of which belong to one of the more than 130 tribes that form part of the Bantu group of people. The remaining 1 percent consists of those of Asian, European, and Arab descent. The population of Zanzibar is slightly more diverse, with a higher percentage of Arab and mixed Arab and native African people. Conversely, religion in Zanzibar is more homogeneous (less diverse), with 99 percent of the population adhering to Islam. On the mainland, 45 percent of the population is Christian, 35 percent Muslim, and 20 percent categorized as adherents to indigenous religious systems (ones that are unique to the region). The official languages of the country are English and Kiswahili, the latter being a Bantu-based language with strong Arabic influences. The first language of most people, however, is usually one of the numerous local Bantu languages that are commonly spoken. English is quite prevalent in the business community, and Arabic is widely spoken in Zanzibar. Kiswahili, incidentally, has become the common language of central and eastern Africa.

One of the most daunting problems that the population of Tanzania confronts is the high incidence of HIV/AIDS. According to data released by the European Union on 2 December 2000World AIDS Dayit is estimated that 1.3 million people in Tanzania have AIDS. This figure does not include the number of people that are afflicted with HIV, the condition that almost inevitably causes the fatal AIDS disease. That same day, President Mkapa announced the formation of the Tanzanian National AIDS Commission (TanAIDS), which will seek to implement the country's national strategy to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Of course, as in many African countries, the success of an AIDS policy, however well concocted, will depend on the ability of the government to address the structural conditions that facilitate the spread of HIV/AIDS, such as poverty and inequality.


The area that now comprises Tanzania came under the colonial dominance of Britain and Germany in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Britain assumed complete control of the area, which, at the time, was called Tanganyika, following the allied defeat of Germany in World War I. As a British colony, the economy of Tanganyika was based primarily on the production of cash crops , such as coffee, tea, and sisal, designated for consumption in the markets of the British metropole (the colonial power).

In 1961, Tanganyika achieved independence under the leadership of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), headed by Julius Nyerere. In 1964, Zanzibar, which was also a British colony, joined Tanganyika as a semi-autonomous island in a political union called the republic of Tanzania. As president of the republic, Nyerere worked with the TANU party to create a socialist society and economy. Policies directed towards realizing socialism in the economic sphere revolved around the complete public ownership of the economy, including all firms, factories, and industries. After 1967, the government also controlled the regulation, production, marketing, and distribution of agricultural cash crops, the country's major source of economic activity.

According to Khapoya, the author of the African Experience, the government's practice of economic control lost popular support with the intrusive "villagization" policies, in which numerous communities of rural Tanzanians were forced off their sacred ancestral lands and into new "development villages" that were better served with roads and other infrastructure . The development of a strong social sector, financed chiefly through aid from the Scandinavian countries, did not offset the resentment felt by many Tanzanians as a result of the villagization policies. Peasant resentment translated into a decline in productivity, which, in conjunction with the soaring increase of oil prices in the late 1970s, placed severe strains upon the Tanzanian economy.

To add to these problems, Tanzania was forced to spend US$500 million on a war effort aimed at repelling an invasion launched by neighboring Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 1979. As a result of these economic strains, the Tanzanian government was obliged to borrow heavily from both foreign commercial banks and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

By the early 1980s, the IFIs demanded that Tanzania implement a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) designed to decrease the role of the government in the economy while increasing the role of the free market, in order to reschedule its debts and qualify for continued foreign aid. Though Nyerere himself refused to accept the SAP, his resignation as president in 1985 opened the way for his successor, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, to accept and implement the SAP reforms in 1986. Ten years later, an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) arrangement was made with the IMF, which focused on a major privatization campaign of selling state-owned enterprises to the private sector .

The economy of Tanzania continues to be based primarily on agricultural activity. Since the value of agricultural goods, which constitute Tanzania's major exports, is lower than the value of manufactured and consumer products, which comprise the country's major imports, the country runs a severe balance of trade deficit. The trade deficit, in turn, means that Tanzania must continue to borrow money in order to pay for its imports. In 1999, for example, the total debt stood at US$7.7 billion. According to the U.S. Department of State, the servicing of the debt absorbs about 40 percent of total government expenditures. In addition to loans, Tanzania is dependent upon foreign aid. In 1997 alone, Tanzania received US$963 million in aid. Most of Tanzania's exports are directed towards the markets of the European Union (EU), while aid also comes predominately from the countries of the EU.


The legislative branch of the Tanzanian government consists of a unicameral National Assembly elected by popular vote. There is also a House of Representatives in Zanzibar, which makes laws specifically for the semi-autonomous island. The executive branch of the government consists of a president, who is both chief of state and head of government, and a cabinet, whose members are appointed by the president from among representatives in the National Assembly. Zanzibar elects a president who is head of government for matters internal to the island. The legal system is based on English common law, while the judicial branch of the government comprises a Court of Appeal, and a High Court, whose judges are appointed by the president. The army is considered more or less apolitical (not involved in politics), and the country has never experienced a coup d'etat (political overthrow).

Throughout most of Tanzania's post-independence history, the country has been a one-party democracy, dominated by the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, or the "Revolutionary Party"). The CCM emerged in 1977, following the consolidation of TANU and the Afro-Shirazi Party, the ruling party in Zanzibar. Prior to the merger, candidates of the respective parties possessed the sole right to compete for electoral office. Similarly, until 1992, when the state decided to introduce a multi-party system, all persons wishing to hold electoral office had to be members of the CCM party.

In 1973, the TANU government announced its decision to relocate the capital from Dar es Salaam to Dodomaan urban bastion of TANU/CCM support. The official reason given to explain the move related to Dodoma's central geographical position in the country and thus its symbolic national importance. The move did not take effect until 1996, however, when an appropriate building to house the National Assembly was finally constructed.

Under the leadership of Nyerere, the ideology of TANU and its CCM postdecessor was a particular variant (version) of African socialism called Ujamaa, which emphasized the central role of the extended family. According to Nyerere, prior to the colonial period in Africa, African communities based on networks of extended families were relatively egalitarian and free of exploitative relationships. Although Nyerere's argument may have actually been a romanticization of the past, it nonetheless served to inform the Ujamaa vision of a return to the communal egalitarian ethos of the past within a context of a partially modern (industrial) socialist society.

The first general multi-party elections in Tanzania were held in October-November 1995. The CCM candidate, Benjamin W. Mkapa, won the presidential election, while the CCM party gained a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections. Mkapa, reelected for a second term in 2000, has more or less abandoned the old socialist ideology of the party, promoting, rather, a free market economy in line with the structural reforms supported by the World Bank and the IMF. With 244 seats in the National Assembly out of a total of 269, the CCM continues to dominate Tanzanian politics. The 2 major opposition parties, the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) and the Civic United Front (CUF), respectively have 4 and 15 seats. While the former is more or less a centrist party that advocates constitutional democratic reform, the latter is a regionalist party from Zanzibar.

Though many observers, such as the U.S. State Department, have declared Tanzania an island of political stability in East Africa, the reelection of the CCM in the House of Representatives in Zanzibar has engendered considerable political violence. The CCM's victory in the 2000 elections was marred (tainted) by electoral irregularities that led to the re-running of polls in 16 constituencies. International observers condemned the format of the ballots that were used and the CUF denounced the elections as illegitimate. Since the elections took place, clashes between police and CUF supporters have occurred in Zanzibar and Pemba, leaving at least 30 people dead.

In terms of government revenue, import duties are the major source of government income, accounting for 31.7 percent of total revenue in the 1996 fiscal year . Consumption taxes are the second most important, while income taxes are the third, accounting, respectively, for 26.8 percent and 24.3 percent of total revenue during the same period.

There are a total of 12 income tax brackets, leading to a steeply progressive taxation system in which those that earn low incomes pay a lower percentage of income tax than those that earn higher incomes. For example, the lowest tax bracket, which consists of people that earn less than 20,000 shillings per month, are exempted from taxation because their incomes are considered too low, whereas the highest tax bracket, comprised of individuals who earn more than 700,000 shillings per month, pay 35 percent of their income to taxes. At the same time, however, the high sales taxes and excise taxes levied on goods and services, which form part of consumption taxes, strongly affect the poor. Excisable goods, for instance, such as alcoholic beverages and petroleum products, are subjected to excise tax rates as high as 30 percent.


According to the U.S. State Department, infrastructure in Tanzania is extremely poor. In terms of the road network, for instance, only 3,704 kilometers (2,296 miles) of a total of 88,200 kilometers (54,684 miles) of highway is paved. Paved highways link Dar es Salaam to Tunduru, Dodoma, Tanga, and Arusha. The remaining 84,496 kilometers (52,388 miles) of highway is un-paved, making it extremely difficult to reach certain areas from Dar es Salaam, such as Lindi and Mtwara, during the rainy season. At the same time, many rural roads are virtually impassable, as seasonal washouts are commonplace. Although the road network has suffered as a result of many years of government debt-related negligence, funds allocated for road maintenance and rehabilitation have increased in the past 10 years.

With a combined total of 3,569 kilometers (2,213 miles) of railway track, there are 2 railway systems that operate independently in Tanzania. In addition to operating the internal railway network, the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) connects the country with Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and Rwanda. Many parts of the TRC railway network are in need of major repairs. The Tanzanian/Zambian Railway Authority (TAZARA), in contrast, connects the port of Dar es Salaam with Zambia. Following the end of apartheid (the system of racial segregation in South Africa that prompted many countries to

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Tanzania 4 279 21 0.0 1 N/A 1.6 0.05 25
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
Kenya 9 104 21 N/A 0 N/A 2.5 0.19 35
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

restrict economic ties with the country), the amount of income generated by TAZARA, in addition to the port of Dar es Salaam, has drastically declined as a result of new competition with the South African Railway system and the South African ports of Durban and Port Elizabeth.

There are a total of 11 airports in Tanzania with paved runways. Dar es Salaam International Airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport, and the Zanzibar Airport handle international air traffic. Several international airlines provide transportation to countries around the world, while the Tanzanian airline, Air Tanzania, has regional and domestic routes across Southern Africa.

The Tanzanian Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) supplies the country with electricity, 95 percent of which is derived from hydroelectric power. As a result of this dependency, power shortages often occur in times of regional drought. The government has taken measures to diversify energy sources, including support for projects to develop the Songo Songo natural gas reserve and the Mchuchuma coal fields.

Telecommunications infrastructure in Tanzania is considerably underdeveloped. With only 4.5 telephone mainlines per 1,000 people (est. 1999), telephone services are highly unpredictable and extremely expensive. The situation contrasts sharply with the United States, where there are 640 telephone lines per 1,000 people (est. 1996). In conjunction with the international donor community, the Tanzanian government has sought to ameliorate the situation through increased investment for telecommunications infrastructure. In 1999, the international donor community commenced sponsorship of a 5-year, US$250 million program to rehabilitate and expand the existing telephone network.


Agriculture is by far Tanzania's most important economic sector, in terms of both employment provision and contribution to GDP. Unfortunately, the large degree of dependency on this sector renders the Tanzanian economy particularly vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and unfavorable prices in international primary commodity markets. The exceptionally low level of industrial development makes the negative economic impacts associated with agricultural dependency all the more severe.

Industry and mining are relatively small areas of economic activity, though many observers, such as the U.S. State Department, believe that the mining sector offers important prospects for economic growth.


As the pillar of both the domestic and the export economy, the agricultural sector in Tanzania engages 80 percent of the labor force , which equaled approximately 13.495 million in 1999, while providing 49 percent of the country's GDP (est. 1996). Agricultural products include coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum, cashew nuts, tobacco, cloves, corn, wheat, cassava, bananas, and vegetables. Livestock production includes cattle, sheep, and goats. Agricultural output remains predominately based on small holder production, as opposed to estate cultivation, though the latter does account for some sisal, tea, coffee, tobacco, rice, wheat, and wattle (construction material made of tied-together poles or sticks) production. Cash crops, such as coffee, tea, cotton, cashews, sisal, cloves, and pyrethrum account for the vast majority of export earnings. Maize, paddy, wheat, and cassava are produced for domestic consumption.

In terms of agricultural exports, coffee constitutes the most important cash crop. According to the IMF, coffee accounted for 17.7 percent of Tanzania's total exports in 1996. At 16.3 percent of total exports, cotton was the second most important cash crop, followed by cashew nuts (12.7 percent), tobacco (6.4 percent), tea (2.9 percent), and sisal (0.7 percent). In Zanzibar, the major cash crop is cloves, 90 percent of which are produced on the island of Pemba. The major importers of Tanzania's agricultural exports consist of the EU countries, especially the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands.

In the past, the agricultural sector was completely controlled by the government. While liberalization of the sector has rapidly occurred, there are still government marketing boards that set quasi-official (semi-official) prices for certain crops. Purchasers are not forced to abide by the set prices, but often feel compelled to because most peasants normally support the prices the government establishes. This has led to some conflict, and most recently a dispute has emerged between cashew producers and cashew exporters over the government-set prices. While the former supports the prices, the latter argues they are unreasonable. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI) argues that the quasi-official prices are detrimental to agricultural growth, as they cause confusion and conflict. At the same time, however, the government argues that they apply pressure on private purchasers to pay fair prices for different crops. Despite the pressures of deregulation in the agricultural sector, the government has not made plans to abandon the quasi-official pricing system.

The February 2001 Tanzania Country Report issued by the EIU forecasts that GDP growth in Tanzania will equal 5.3 percent in 2001 and 5.9 percent in 2002. Not surprisingly, this growth will be led by the production of traditional agricultural commodity exports. While growth in GDP represents a positive development, the cash crop basis of this growth renders it largely unsustainable. In other words, Tanzania is currently experiencing a period of favorable production conditions, which, due to the volatile (frequently changing) nature of the weather, are guaranteed to change, for better or worse.

Production patterns in Tanzania and other agriculturally based developing nations oscillate (rapidly increase and decrease) dramatically, according to the shifting weather conditions in a given harvest year. In the past 10 years, for instance, maize production in Tanzania has varied considerably, ranging from a high of 2,638 produced tons in 1995-96, to a low of 2,107 tons in 1996-97. Though maize production is largely for domestic consumption, the same unstable patterns of production characterize agricultural crops designated for exportation, as both are subject to the debilitating effects of drought and flooding during the rainy season.

The volatile prices of agricultural commodities on international markets exacerbate (make worse) the instability of countries such as Tanzania that are highly dependent upon cash crop exports. For example, in any given year, the international prices of a commodity such as coffee can increase or decrease considerably, depending upon how much or how little all coffee-producing countries collectively produce. If there is a large international coffee harvest, prices will diminish, as competition will increase. The same holds true in the opposite direction.

Another major inhibiting factor working against the sustainability of growth generated by agricultural production relates to the small amount of existing arable land in Tanzania. Only 4 percent of all land is arable, with only 1 percent suitable for permanent crops. To make matters worse, Tanzania currently confronts issues of soil degradation, deforestation, and desertification . For all these reasons, it is imperative that Tanzania develop the other sectors of its economy.


MINING. Accounting for approximately 17 percent of GDP (est. 1996), industry plays a small, albeit important role in the Tanzanian economy. As a subdivision of industry, the mining sector alone constitutes about 5 percent of GDP. At the same time, however, both industry in general and mining in particular engage a relatively small percentage of the labor force. Indeed, the industrial sector combined with the commercial sector provides employment for only 20 percent of the labor force.

The country is endowed with a wide variety of mineral deposits, including gold, diamonds, salt, gypsum, gemstones, iron ore, natural gas, phosphates, coal, nickel, and cobalt. Many of these minerals are exported to other countries, and mining, excluding petroleum products, accounted for 7.3 percent of export earnings in 1996. In the same year, petroleum products comprised 2.1 percent of export earnings.

As in the case of agricultural produce, however, mining output and output of refined minerals seems to oscillate considerably from year to year. In 1989, for example, 617,000 tons of petroleum products were produced, whereas in 1992, 3 years later, this figure plummeted to 55,900 tons. Similarly, 3,200 tons of aluminum were produced in 1993, while this figure dropped to 1,100 in 1995. According to the U.S. State Department, some of the impediments that prevent effective exploitation of mineral resources include a lack of capital, poor infrastructure, bureaucratic inefficiency, and limited technology.

Under the auspices of the IMF and World Bank sponsored SAPs, Tanzania has enthusiastically promoted foreign direct investment in the mining sector, effectively reversing its strong regulatory policies. Though few foreign mining firms are actually in operation, many multinational corporations (MNCs) (firms that operate in several countries) are beginning to look upon prospects in Tanzania favorably. Recently, there have been several developments with a Canadian company, Tanganyika Oil, which owns 75 percent of an oil concession in Mandawa, 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Dar es Salaam.

Some critics, such as Chachage Seithy L. Chachage, author of the essay "New Forms of Accumulating in Tanzania: The Case of Gold Mining," which appeared in Mining and Structural Adjustment: Studies on Zimbabwe and Tanzania, severely criticize Tanzania's new policy of openness. Chachage argues that the government is on the path of creating an "economy of plunder," in which the benefits of the country's rich minerals will accrue to foreigners rather than Tanzanians. At the same time, the government is in an extremely difficult position, as it lacks the resources to exploit the mineral reserves itself. This incapacity is largely related to the limited money the government has to invest in economic projects because of the large burden imposed by debt servicing .


According to the U.S. Department of State, Tanzania's industrial, or manufacturing sector, is one of the smallest in Africa. The main industrial activities include producing raw materials, import substitutes , and processed agricultural products. Specific areas of activity include production of cement, soft drinks, corrugated iron sheeting, food processing, chemicals, leather products, and textiles.

Once again, manufacturing activities seem to oscillate in their respective output capacities. In 1991, for example, 85.2 million square meters of textiles were produced, whereas 5 years later, in 1995, the output had deteriorated to 33.4 million square meters. The production of iron sheets similarly suffered decline. In 1993, for instance, 25,800 tons of iron sheets were produced, while in 1996, the figure dropped to 6,400 tons. Production of cement is one area of industrial activity that has escaped this negative pattern. Notwithstanding a huge increase in output in 1991, production has increased at a steady pace, growing from 589,100 tons in 1989, to 725,800 tons in 1996.

One of the major factors contributing to industrial instability relates to persistent power shortages caused by low rainfall. Since Tanzania is almost entirely dependent upon hydroelectricity, low rainfall translates into low water levels in hydroelectric dams. In November 2000, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals was obliged to announce the temporary introduction of power rationing, intended to reduce electricity consumption by about 35 percent until the beginning of the next rainy season in January 2001.

Government involvement in the industrial sector, as in all spheres of economic activity, has steadily declined since the early 1990s. The Presidential Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC), an integral component of the SAPs, continues to scrutinize parastatals and push for privatization. By June 1998, 201 firms of the 398 parastatals singled out by the PSRC experienced privatization. It is argued that private firms are more efficient and competitive than parastatals, as they must depend on profit rather than guaranteed government financing in order to continue operation.



Tanzania's tourism sector, which, according to the U.S. State Department, is growing at a rate of more than 8 percent per annum (est. 1999), is one of the country's most important sources of foreign currency. Currently, most of the tourism sector investment is concentrated in the northern part of the country in the so-called Northern Safari Circuit (Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Plains, and Lake Manyara). There, a number of internationally acclaimed hotels provide services to tourists from around the world, particularly Europeans.

Numerous government initiatives have sought to increase investment in the Southern Circuit (Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi and Ruaha National Parks) as well. Though service facilities and infrastructure in this area are poor, the area's diverse wildlife renders it an ideal location for further tourist development. The international donor community has helped finance the rehabilitation of infrastructure in the Southern Circuit, thereby complementing efforts put forward by the Tanzanian government. The government, for its part, recently established the Tanzanian Tourism Board (TTB) to oversee tourist development in the country, though it has renounced its previous policy orientation of controlling the tourist market.


Legislation passed in August 1991 led to a fundamental restructuring of the banking system in Tanzania. Prior to the legislation, the government exercised a complete monopoly over the banking sector. Under the old system, the Bank of Tanzania acted as the central bank, while the government-run National Bank of Commerce (NBC) accounted for over 75 percent of the country's financial transactions. Although the Bank of Tanzania has retained its functions, which include the administration of the exchange control, the NBC has been subdivided with the creation of a separate National Micro-finance Bank (NMB). Both the NBC and the NMB are in the process of being privatized.

Since the banking legislation was passed, several private banks have registered with the Bank of Tanzania. In addition to some domestic financial institutions, numerous foreign banks have established operations, including Citibank of New York, Stanbic Bank of South Africa, Standard Charter Bank of Great Britain, EuroAfrican Bank, Akiba Commercial Bank, and Exim Bank.


Despite numerous Structural Adjustment Programs designed to increase exports and encourage growth and investment, Tanzania has suffered from a chronic negative balance of payments since the late 1970s. Moreover, instead of progressively diminishing, the balance of payments deficit has actually increased. Indeed, in the past 5 years, the country's deficit has grown from US$297.5 million in 1997, to US$528.5 million in 1999.

Tanzania's major exports include coffee, cotton, tea, sisal, tobacco, cashew nuts, and minerals. Together, agricultural exports accounted for 56.8 percent of all exports in 1996, while manufactured products only constituted 16.5 percent of exports. In the same year, the countries of

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Tanzania
Exports Imports
1975 .374 .780
1980 .511 1.252
1985 .247 1.324
1990 .415 1.027
1995 .639 1.619
1998 .674 1.454
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

the EU collectively purchased the largest percentage share of Tanzanian exports (42 percent). Interestingly, however, Tanzania's dependence on Europe as a market for exports has substantially declined, as other regions, such as Asia and Africa, have become more important. In 1989, Africa accounted for 4.2 percent of all exports, while Asia accounted for 22.9 percent. By 1996, these figures respectively rose to 11.5 percent and 27.4 percent.

Tanzanian imports range the gamut of products, including machinery, transport and equipment ( capital goods ); oil, crude oil, petroleum products, industrial raw materials ( intermediate goods ); and finally, textiles, apparel, and food and foodstuffs ( consumer goods ). In 1996, capital goods comprised 36 percent of imports, intermediate goods 38 percent, and consumer goods 26 percent. Countries of the European Union are the major sources of imports, though their importance has declined considerably as the importance of Asian and African countries have concomitantly increased. In 1989, the EU (then the European Community) accounted for 58.4 percent of Tanzanian imports, Africa 3.9 percent, and Asia 13 percent. By 1996, the figures respectively changed to 42 percent, 11.5 percent, and 27.4 percent. Important African and Asian trading partners (for both exports and imports) include Japan, India, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Kenya, Zambia, and Burundi.

One of the major criticisms of the IMF/World Bank sponsored SAPs is that trade liberalization will lock countries like Tanzania into a pattern of sustained agricultural exportation at the expense of industry and commerce. At the most basic level, reduction of barriers will mean countries with emerging manufacturing industries will have to compete with much more competitive and efficient manufacturing industries from abroad. The result could be a long-term structural entrenchment of the only economic area in which Tanzania and similar countries can compete internationally: the agricultural sector. This is disadvantageous because international terms of trade accord higher prices to products that contain value added (meaning that they undergo a degree of manufacturing), such as capital goods, than those that contain less or no value added, such as agricultural commodities. Thus, a country like Tanzania that depends, in large part, upon agricultural exports and higher value added imports, will suffer from a negative balance of trade.

This seems to be precisely the situation in Tanzania, where even the pro-trade Economist Intelligence Unit attributes the recent deficit increase to weak international commodity prices for coffee and tea, 2 of the country's most important exports. The free trade rationale that all countries will benefit by individually trading that which they produce more efficiently than their counterparts conspicuously overlooks this crucial dilemma.

At the same time, however, trade liberalization at the regional level may offer positive benefits for participating countries as it can potentially enable them to realize the gains of competition and specialization in an environment characterized by a more level playing field. In other words, if 2 countries such as Tanzania and Mozambique partake in free trade, the competition will be more even, thereby enabling each to exchange a wide array of products, including manufactures and industrial commodities. This, in turn, will facilitate increased production capacity, preparing them to compete more effectively at a global level. Currently, Tanzania is a member of 2 separate regional trading arrangements (RTAs): the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community. The former includes Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda; the latter comprises Tanzania, Zaire, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.


The value of the Tanzanian currency, the shilling, is determined by a free floating exchange rate system based on supply and demand in international foreign exchange markets. This means that if the shilling is in high demand in international exchange markets, its value will accordingly increase in relation to other currencies. The value of the shilling, like many other currencies, is normally expressed against the value of the U.S. dollar. Over

Exchange rates: Tanzania
Tanzanian shillings (TSh) per US$1
Dec 2000 803.34
2000 800.41
1999 744.76
1998 664.67
1997 612.12
1996 579.98
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

the past several years, this value has steadily depreciated. In 1995, for example, the exchange rate was 574.76 shillings for 1 U.S. dollar. In January 2000, the exchange rate rose to 798.9 shillings for 1 U.S. dollar.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, one of the major factors behind the depreciation of the shilling relates to the decline in international commodity prices for the agricultural cash crops on which the export economy depends. The EIU forecasts a further depreciation of 5.1 percent in 2001, increasing to 12.4 percent in 2002. The poor will doubtlessly experience the ramifications of the depreciation process more than any other group, as a devalued shilling means that more money will be needed to purchase needed imports from abroad, such as food and other consumer products.


Although a small segment of Tanzanians with secure access to employment in the public and business sectors enjoy a relatively high standard of living, the vast majority of Tanzanians live in poverty. Indeed, the United Nations Development Programme 's (UNDP) human development index (HDI) listings, which arranges countries according to their overall level of human development, ranks Tanzania 156th out of a total of 174 nations. The HDI, a composite index (one that assesses more than one variable) that measures life expectancy at birth, adult literacy rate, school enrollment ratio, and GDP per capita , is indicative of a country's general social and economic well-being. As such, Tanzania's HDI ranking demonstrates that the country is one of the poorest and least developed in the world.

Under the socialist policies of Julius Nyerere, the Tanzanian government focused heavily on achieving social equity through the development of a strong health and education sector. Inequality in the early years of Ujamaa was mainly the result of the colonial legacy in which some peasants were connected to the cash crop export economy while others were not. Those that lived in areas favorable for cash crop production enjoyed a slightly higher standard of living than their subsistence peasant

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Tanzania N/A N/A N/A 175 173
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
Kenya 301 337 320 355 334
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Tanzania
Lowest 10% 2.8
Lowest 20% 6.8
Second 20% 11.0
Third 20% 15.1
Fourth 20% 21.6
Highest 20% 45.5
Highest 10% 30.1
Survey year: 1993
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

counterparts. Though Nyerere's social policies were generous, they were unsustainable in a context of economic crisis and negligible growth. Moreover, many critics, such as Enos S. Bukuku, the author of The Tanzanian Economy: Income Distribution and Economic Growth, argue that Nyerere's development policies promoted the modern, nascent industrial sector, at the expense of agriculture. The result was actually increased poverty in the countryside, and the creation of a few highly skilled and highly paid jobs associated with the parastatals and policies of import substitution industrialization.

Today, the cleavage (division; in this case economic) between the general peasantry and those with higher-paying jobs in the urban centers persists, though this type of inequality is characteristic of most countries that are still in the throes of the development process. According to the CIA World Factbook, the poorest 10 percent of the Tanzanian population consume a marginal 2.9 percent of total national consumption, while the richest 10 percent consume 30.2 percent. In 1998, the GNP per capita in Tanzania was estimated at a paltry US$220, whereas the GNP per capita in the United States was US$29,240 in the same year.

Social policy in Tanzania is currently guided by the so-called "Vision 2025," a comprehensive framework emphasizing 7 priority areas linked to overall poverty reduction. In 2000-01, the Tanzanian government allocated its budget amid these 7 priority areas as follows: education (23.2 percent), health (8.4 percent), roads (6.4 percent), agriculture (1.0 percent), judiciary (1.0 percent), water (0.6 percent), and HIV/AIDS (0.6 percent). While the government's coherent strategy is a welcomed development, the IMF notes that it needs work in some areas, including education, promotion of agricultural/rural development, gender strategies, and a more comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS and the environment.

The vast majority of Tanzanians spend their meager incomes on the basic necessities of life, such as food, rent, clothing, fuel, and transportation. Very little is spent on entertainment and recreation, which are considered luxuries for those that live in considerable poverty. To make matters worse, in the past 10 years the increase in the GNP per capita has been grossly outweighed by mounting inflation , which means that Tanzanians are having an increasingly difficult time purchasing the commodities essential for human existence. The UNDP estimates that the annual growth rate in GNP per capita between 1990 to 1998 was 0.4 percent, while the average annual rate of inflation during the same period was 24.3 percent.


The Tanzanian labor force stood at 13.495 million in 1999. Although recent statistics on the level of unemployment are unavailable, a 1991 statistical abstract produced by the Tanzanian Bureau of Statistics stated that the unemployment rate in rural and urban areas was 2.2 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. The higher unemployment rate in the urban areas results from both a lack of economic prospects and a much higher rate of population growth. This latter factor, in turn, stems chiefly from a high rate of rural to urban migration, caused, in large part, by the migrant perception that urban employment is generally higher paying.

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Tanzania 67 6 5 4 12 6 0
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Dem. Rep. of Congo N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Kenya 31 9 21 2 8 3 26
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Confronted with the reality of limited opportunity in the urban areas, however, many migrants are obliged to find work in the informal sector of the economy, which consists of the wide range of activities that are unregulated and untaxed by the government. Those that work in the informal sector do not enjoy the various employment protections afforded by the government. On the contrary, many informal sector participants, considered nuisances, confront harassment and intimidation by police and government officials. Joe Lugalla, author of Crisis, Urbanization, and Urban Poverty in Tanzania: A Study of Poverty and Survival Politics, argues that the informal sector is vital for the livelihoods of the urban poor and that government restrictions and harassment are therefore regressive. Instead, the government could encourage informal activity by abolishing restrictions such as requirements to operate in fixed premises and other bureaucratic restrictions which prevent licensing for certain activities.

The right of association for workers in the formal sector is recognized by the Tanzanian Constitution, though the government-created Tanzanian Federation of Trade Unions (TFTU) is the only trade union organization in the country. The TFTU, which represents 60 percent of workers in industry and government, is comprised of 11 independent trade unions that have the right to separate from the federation and collect their own dues. If this were to happen, however, 5 percent of the dues must be legally contributed to the TFTU.

All workers are permitted to join unions, but "essential" workers are not permitted to strike. In total, only 25 percent of Tanzania's wage earners are organized in trade unions, with most agricultural workers remaining unorganized. Moreover, the right to strike is only granted following complicated and protracted mediation and conciliation procedures. According to the U.S. Department of State, frustrated workers have staged impromptu, illegal, wildcat strikes and walkouts pending resolutions. The Tanzanian's Security of Employment Act of 1964 prohibits discriminatory activities by employers against union members and employers found guilty of such activities are legally required to reinstate workers.

The Tanzanian Constitution prohibits forced labor and work by children under 12 years of age in the formal wage sector in both rural and urban areas. At the same time, children are permitted to work on family farms or in herding domestic livestock. Young persons between the ages of 12 and 15 may engage in industrial employment but only between the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Government enforcement of the minimum working age and of regulations governing the rights of young workers, however, is highly inadequate and has reportedly declined with increased privatization. Approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children engage in seasonal employment on various cash crop plantations. They are often paid less than their adult counterparts and are subjected to hazardous and detrimental conditions, especially on sisal plantations. An additional 1,500 to 3,000 children work in unregulated gemstone mines, while thousands assist their parents in unregulated piecework manufacturing in the informal sector. The ugly reality is that for many families suffering from acute poverty, children must work simply in order for the household to survive.

Although there is a legal minimum wage in Tanzania, which equals approximately US$30 per month, it is not always sufficient to provide an adequate standard of living for a worker and family. Consequently, many workers must depend on the extended family, or a second, or even third, job. There is no standard legal work-week for non-government employees, though most employers retain a 6-day, 44-to 48-hour workweek. An occupational health and safety factory inspection system is managed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and Youth Development to monitor implementation of the several laws that regulate safety in the workplace. Its effectiveness is severely limited. Workers have the right to take an employer to court through their TFTU branch for failure to comply with health and environmental standards, though they cannot remove themselves from dangerous situations without jeopardizing their employment.


EARLY CENTURIES A.D. Bantu farmers migrate to Southern Africa from the west and south, largely displacing the original ethnic groups that used a click-tongue language similar to that of South Africa's Bush-men and Hottentots.

8TH-12TH CENTURY. Arab, Persian, and Indian traders and immigrants build several highly developed cities and trading states along the coast, including Kibaha, a settlement that held ascendancy until the Portuguese destroyed it in the early 1500s.

1498-1506. The Portuguese explore the East African coast and claim control over the entire area. Control is nominal, however, and the Portuguese are driven out by the early 18th century.

MID-19TH CENTURY. European exploration of the interior begins, led by German missionaries and English explorers.

1840. Sultan Seyyid Said of the Omani Arabs moves his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, promoting a lucrative trade in slaves and ivory.

1876. The British succeed in forcing Said to abolish the slave trade.

1884. Karl Peters, head of the Society for German Colonization, concludes a series of treaties with chiefs from the interior, establishing a German protectorate over the area.

1886-1890. Anglo-German agreements are negotiated that delineate British and German spheres of influence in the interior. Also, Zanzibar becomes a British protectorate, administered through an Arab sultan.

1905-07. The Maji Maji rebellion against European rule erupts, resulting in a total of 120,000 African casualties from fighting or starvation.

1918. The United Kingdom assumes complete control of Tanganyika.

1954. Julius Nyerere establishes the nationalistic Tanganyika African National Union (TANU).

1956. The Afro-Shirazi Party is founded in Zanzibar, led by Abaid Karume.

1959. The United Kingdom agrees to grant Tanganyika internal self-government and Nyerere becomes chief minister of the new government.

1959. Tanganyika achieves full independence and soon after becomes a republic within the Commonwealth with Nyerere as president.

1963. Zanzibar achieves independence.

1964. Tanganyika forms a union with Zanzibar, thereby creating the United Republic of Tanzania and embarking on a path towards the realization of socialism based on the ideology of Ujamaa.

LATE 1970s. Soaring oil prices in conjunction with Ujamaa's villagization policies seriously undermine the economy.

1977. TANU and the Afro-Shirazi Party merge into the Chama Cha Mapinduzi.

1977. Idi Amin's Ugandan invasion of Tanzania costs the Tanzanian government US$500 million to repel, exacerbating the severe economic situation.

1985-86. Nyerere is succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who accepts the International Monetary Fund's and World Bank's Structural Adjustment Package (SAP) in order to qualify for further borrowing and a rescheduling of debt payments. The SAP focuses on acquiring macroeconomic stability, privatizing the economy, and export promotion.

1995. The first multi-party elections are held, resulting in a CCM victory.

1995. The Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility is negotiated with the IMF, emphasizing rapid privatization of parastatals.


Like many African states and other developing countries, Tanzania has adopted 2 diametrically opposed models of economic organization that have mutually failed to launch the country on a path of sustainable economic development. Indeed, the socialist policies advanced by Nyerere under the rubric of Ujamaa created a weak economy heavily dependent upon aid and loans from foreign countries, international financial institutions, and commercial banks. The free-market policies advanced by Nyerere's successors under the auspices of the IFI-sponsored SAPs have equally failed to rectify the endemic economic crisis.

While a degree of macroeconomic stability has been achieved, especially in the realm of containing inflation, a growing negative balance of payments, a continued dependence on the exportation of weak agricultural commodities, a mammoth debt, and an enormous degree of poverty continue to characterize the economic situation in Tanzania. If nothing else, the major lesson that can be drawn from the Tanzanian experience is that solutions to economic problems based on unbending principles of ideology are bound to fail in one way or another.

While the Tanzanian government continues to base its policies on free market panaceas (cure-alls), the recent IMF and World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPCI), which reduces the debt-servicing obligations of Tanzania and other heavily indebted poor countries, may enable the government to spend more money on needed social services. The aim of the HIPCI is in fact to accomplish exactly that, with the ultimate intention of creating a more educated labor force and thus a more skilled economy. This is certainly a step in the right direction, though it is doubtful that such a measure will succeed on its own.


Tanzania has no territories or colonies.


Bukuku, Enos S. The Tanzanian Economy: Income Distribution and Economic Growth. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1993.

Chachage, Chachage Seithy L. "New Forms of Accumulating inTanzania: The Case of Gold Mining." In Mining and Structural Adjustment: Studies on Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1993.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Tanzania, Comoros, February 2001. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

International Monetary Fund. IMF Staff Country Report, Tanzania: Statistical Appendix. <>. Accessed January 2001.

Lugalla, Joe. Crisis, Urbanization, And Urban Poverty in Tanzania: A Study of Poverty and Survival Politics. Lanham: University Press of America, 1995.

UNDP. Human Development Report 2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

U.S. Department of State. FY 1999 Country Commercial Guide: Tanzania. <>. Accessed May 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Tanzania. <http:\>. Accessed May 2001.

World Bank Group. Tanzania: Competitiveness Indicators. <>. Accessed January 2001.

Neil Burron


Dodoma. In 1996, the capital was officially moved from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma. The National Assembly now meets regularly in the new capital, though most government ministries are still located in Dar es Salaam. Slowly, government ministries are being relocated to Dodoma.


Tanzanian shilling (TSh). One shilling equals 100 cents. Coins include 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1, 5, 10, and 20 shillings. Notes include 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 shillings.


Coffee, manufactured goods, cotton, cashew nuts, minerals, tobacco, sisal.


Consumer goods, machinery and transportation equipment, industrial raw materials, crude oil.


US$23.3 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$828 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.). Imports: US$1.44 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



United Republic of Tanzania

Major Cities:
Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar

Other Cities:
Arusha, Bagamoyo, Bukoba, Dodoma, Iringa, Lindi, Mbeya, Morogoro, Moshi, Mwanza, Tabora


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated July 1993. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


Tanzania's history is variedincluding Portuguese exploration, Arab domination, German colonization, British administration under a League of Nations mandate, and UN Trusteeship. Tanganyika gained independence in 1961, and in 1964, Zanzibar, also independent, united with the mainland to become the United Republic of Tanzania.

For over 20 years following the 1967 Arusha Declaration, Tanzania followed a policy of socialism and self-reliance. Although this is still the official policy guiding government programs, the past few years have seen significant changes. The United Republic has played an active role in efforts to bring independence and majority rule in southern Africa. Mainly because of its past prominence in regional and international affairs, Dar es Salaam is an active diplomatic post.

A hot climate, changing economic conditions, and health risks offer challenges for those staying in Dar es Salaam, but a visit here can be stimulating and enjoyable. Tanzania offers warm and friendly people, magnificent mountain scenery, the seashore, the finest wild game preserves on earth, excellent game fishing, scuba diving, and other water sports.


Dar es Salaam

Under German rule, Dar es Salaam became the capital of Tanganyika in 1894. The Germans designed a spacious city plan, began to develop the natural harbor as a port, and constructed many public buildings that are still in use. On the north side of the harbor are tree-lined streets, a botanical garden, and a museum. The President's office and most government buildings are in this area.

At the end of World War I, Tanganyika became a mandated territory of the League of Nations under British rule. Between wars, the town developed slowly. But after World War II, the city developed rapidly and great population growth brought wealth to the capital.

Since the 1979 war with Uganda, and as foreign exchange problems have become acute, the city has deteriorated sharply. Streets are poorly maintained. The prices of luxury items and basic commodities have risen astronomically. Crime has increased with the shortage of commodities. The city is home to 2.4 million in habitants.


On the local market shortages of basic items such as flour, sugar, bread, rice, and cooking oil sometimes occur. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available seasonally. Green beans, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, onions, potatoes, and salad vegetables are of fair-to-good quality and available most of the year. Tropical fruits such as coconuts, pineapples, papayas, bananas, oranges, limes, avocados, and mangoes are plentiful.

The quality of local fresh meat is below U.S. standard cuts, but is, nonetheless, quite adequate. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and eggs are available. Shrimp, lobster, and other fish are excellent, plentiful, and not overly expensive.


Tanzanian custom combined with the climate make Dar es Salaam very informal. Tropical clothing is worn year round. Local shoes are of poor quality, and sizes and widths differ from the U.S.

Dry-cleaning facilities are limited and of poor quality, so bring washable fabrics.

Men: Men wear short-sleeved shirts and trousers or short-sleeved safari suits to the office and to most evening gatherings. Sports clothes are similar to those worn in the warmer regions of the U.S.

Women: Women need several washable skirts, tops, and dresses for daytime wear both in and out of the office. Informal long or short dresses or skirts are common for most evening occasions; caftans or evening dresses are worn to receptions and more formal dinners. A lightweight sweater or shawl is useful for evenings in the cooler season. Panty hose or stockings are seldom worn. Miniskirts and low-cut blouses or dresses should not be worn. Sundresses, jeans, modest shorts, and T-shirts are acceptable for nonbusiness occasions.

Children: Bring comfortable summer-weight clothes and sneakers or sandals. Sunhats are useful for trips to the beach.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services: Tailoring services are available, but workmanship is only fair.

Religious Activities

Christian denominations in Dar es Salaam include Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, and Mennonite. Many, including the Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Lutheran have Sunday morning services in English. Dar es Salaam has several mosques and Hindu temples, but no synagogues.


Most children attend the International School of Tanganyika in Dar es Salaam. Three unitslocated on separate campusescomprise the school: Kindergarten, Lower School (grades 1-6), and Upper School (grades 7-12).

In the past kindergarten to grade 6 levels have suffered from erratic leadership and organization. A new curriculum is being instituted, a new management team is in place, and teacher performance is being more closely monitored, however. Most parents consider the elementary school to be of adequate standard. Educational materials for classroom use are adequate.

Grade 7-8 fall well below overall U.S. standards. The school board is making a concerted effort to correct deficiencies, however, and improve overall academic standards. The curriculum for grades 9 and 10 is based on the English system known as IGSCE.

Grades 11-12, which make up the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, are considered sound academically. The school has now brought its program into conformity with international standards and the educational program is a standard 12-year program.

Children must have reached the age of 5 by September 1 to enter kindergarten 2, and age 6 by September 1 to enter 1st grade. The school is very rigid in this regard; no exceptions are made.

Classes are taught in English, but many students are learning English as a second language. The curriculum is a mixture of British and American curriculums with the British influence stronger at the upper level. Some curricular modifications are made to accommodate the needs of an international student body such as the English-as-a-second-language program. The Upper School offers French language classes.

The school does not have programs for handicapped children, but does have a program for children with mild learning disabilities in the Lower and Middle schools.

The school year, approximately September 1 through the end of June, is divided into three terms with a 3-week vacation at Christmas and a 1-week break in October and at Easter. The Lower and Middle School begins at 7:10 am and ends at 12:30 pm, Monday-Friday. The Upper School begins at 7:10 am and ends at 1 pm, Monday-Friday. Upper-level students in the Upper School also attend afternoon classes twice a week.

Students must wear uniforms to school. Girls wear a simple-styled dress made from blue/white vertically striped material. This may be of any material, so long as it is blue and white striped. There is no standard for shade of blue. Girls can wear a blue-and-white-striped skirt and a white blousethe blouse must have a collar and at least short sleeves. Sleeveless dresses or blouses are not acceptable. Boys wear plain white cotton shirts with collar and short-sleeves and gray shorts. There is no standard for shade of gray. Uniforms are worn 2 days per week. Both boys and girls wear navy blue shorts and plain white T-shirts for physical education classes twice a week. Some ready-made uniforms are available, but they are expensive and children may be reluctant to wear them once they see the range of clothing worn to school. Bathing suits are required for swimming lessons. One day per week is designated as a free-dress day when students may wear clothes of their choosing.

The school has its own large playing fields and swimming pool with instruction once a week. Afternoon programs for the children include instruction in art, drama, music, and sports but enrollment is limited.

Dar es Salaam also has a French school with supervised correspondence instruction in French, and a Swedish elementary school with instruction in Swedish.

Special Educational Opportunities

The Alliance Francaise gives French lessons. The Goethe Institute offers instruction in German.

A number of departments at the University of Dar es Salaam conduct seminars in English that are open to the public. Under exceptional circumstances, foreigners can enroll in certain subjects at the University.


Tanzania is one of the world's principal "big game" countries. The Tanzanian Wildlife Corporation enforces strict control of hunting. Hunting licenses for select game such as impala, warthog, and buffalo are granted to residents from July 1 to December 30.

Several beaches offer year-round swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Sailing, fishing, and shelling are also favorite pastimes. You can keep both sail and power boats at the Yacht Club. The Yacht Club offers scuba diving lessons.

The Gymkhana Sports Club has tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course of fair quality with sand greens. Lessons in tennis and golf are offered. Squash courts are maintained. The club sponsors cricket, soccer, hockey, and rugby teams.

Membership in the Yacht Club and Gymkhana Club take some time to acquire. Both are based on a British membership system that requires that prospective members be sponsored and seconded by current members. Americans frequently find this tedious, but it can be an entertaining experience if approached in the right spirit. Both of these clubs have members from a variety of cultures, races, and ethnic groups, and each provides multiple opportunities for socializing outside the official American community.

The International School pool is open to school families on a membership basis.

The amateur mountain climber can try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet). It is an extremely long, but technically not exacting, hike. Tanzanian law requires that experienced guides take climbing parties up the mountain. Children under age 12 are not allowed to climb. You do not need special equipment, but warm clothing and comfortable climbing shoes are necessary. Almost everything that is needed can be rented from nearby hotels.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Tanzania's many game parks offer opportunities for vacations away from the city. You can visit several of these parks by car, but road conditions make a four-wheel drive vehicle preferable and, in many cases, necessary. Rental vehicles are sometimes available from the AERA and occasionally charter aircraft are available locally, but they are expensive.

You can drive from Dar es Salaam to Mikumi National Park in 3-4 hours. Arusha, near the northern game parks, is an 8-10 hour drive. Accommodations are adequate, but not luxurious. If you plan to go on safaris, tent camping offers a unique dimension to the experience as well as greater economy. All major wild-life parks have camping facilities.

Air service operates between Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Zanzibar is 30 minutes by plane, and about 90 minutes by hydrofoil.


Dar es Salaam has several movie theaters, including a drive-in theater that usually shows Asian films. Few American travelers attend films at any of the cinema houses.

The Dar es Salaam Musical Society is open to anyone who plays an instrument or sings. The Dar es Salaam Players, an amateur group, is open to prospective thespians. They stage five or six plays a year. Sometimes foreign governments sponsor concerts by artisans from their countries.

A number of restaurants offer European, Chinese, Indian, and Ethiopian food, but the food can be unsafe. Dining out can be pleasant, however, so long as one chooses foods that are not subject to quick spoilage (generally, avoid shellfish in restaurants). The service at Tanzanian restaurants is a source of entertainment all its own.

Social Activities

Among Americans: Social contact among Americans is mostly at informal cocktail parties, dinners, and buffet suppers at home. Daytime coffees, teas, and bridge parties are held occasionally. The American Community in Tanzania (ACT) is an active organization open to both women and men. Its purpose is to have enjoyable gatherings and learn more about the host country through tours, lectures, and films.

International Contacts: The most popular form of entertainment is the cocktail party, held in the home between 7 and 9 pm. Small dinners and buffets are also held at home. At functions you will have an opportunity to meet Tanzanians and citizens of other countries represented in Tanzania. The International Women's Group hold monthly meetings. A number of charitable and social organizations such as Rotary, Lions, the Corona Society, and the Caledonian, St. Patrick, and St. George Societies welcome members.

American travelers in Tanzania find limited opportunities for community activities with the International School, churches, hospitals, and orphanages.


The city of Zanzibar on Zanzibar Island, 45 miles to the north off the coast from Dar es Salaam, has a fascinating history as a slave trading center. The Afro-Arabian architecture of the old town has been preserved, and its unique setting in luxuriant tropical scenery makes it one of Africa's most beautiful spots. Among its historic buildings are David Livingstone's house near the harbor, and the former sultan's magnificent palace facing the sea. The island itself is called the Isle of Cloves in recognition of its principal export.

Bougainvillea, exotic flame trees, and the bright blue blossoms of the jacaranda line the streets, providing a colorful backdrop for the market and residential areas. Westerners who visit Zanzibar find that life here is quite different; there is opportunity for swimming, fishing, or sailing, but there is no golf, limited access to tennis, and no hunting. The beaches provide excellent bathing at high tide. Little danger exists from sharks, but care must be taken in some coral and rocky areas to avoid cuts and abrasions.

It is possible to take interesting drives to visit beaches and palace ruins, but the island is small and the length of drives is, accordingly, limited.

Zanzibar has no live Western entertainment. African music, local or from the mainland, is presented periodically, usually in connection with public functions at one of the clubs. Cinemas show Indian and European and, occasionally, American, German, Russian, or Chinese films. Color television, the first in Africa, is broadcast for about twoand-a-half hours each evening, but programming is almost entirely in Swahili, and is strongly local in orientation. The current population is approximately 249,000.


ARUSHA , 50 miles from the Kenyan border, is the starting point for safaris into the famous Serengeti National Park. The city, which has several shops and services that cater to both photographic and hunting safaris, is noted for its lavish flower displays. Manufactured products include the renowned meerschaum and briar pipes. Arusha's population is about 166,000.

BAGAMOYO is a seaport town 50 miles north of Dar es Salaam. The last mainland stop for slaves before shipment to the Zanzibar slave markets, the settlement was once Tanganyika's capital. The Old Customs House, ruins where the slaves were kept, and a small German fort are among historic sites. The population is about 66,000.

BUKOBA , on the western shore of Lake Victoria, lies in an area of rolling grassland and heavy rainfall. The presence here of the tsetse fly has prevented livestock raising. Coffee, tea, and bananas number among the principal cash crops of the region. Fishing is also important. Bukoba has a population of approximately 42,000.

DODOMA , in the northeast-central zone, will be the nation's capital in a few years. All government ministries have moved to the city from Dar es Salaam. A wine industry and 84,000-acre ranch are in the vicinity. On the Arusha road, about 100 miles north of Dodoma, the Stone Age Kondoa Iranqi rock paintings can be viewed. The city is a market center for peanuts, sunflower seeds, maize, rice, wheat, coffee, tea, tobacco, and sorghum. Several industries are located in Dodoma. These industries manufacture furniture, beverages, processed food, milled rice, flour, and soap. The population of Dodoma is about 157,000.

IRINGA , 100 miles due south of Dodoma on the main Tanzania-Zambia road, is a farming center. Tobacco is the major crop. Ruaha National Park can be easily reached from Iringa, whose population is 138,000.

LINDI , a regional capital and seaport, lies in southwestern Tanzania at the mouth of the Lukeledi River. Roads link the city to Dar es Salaam and Nachingwea. Lindi, with a population of about 67,000, is the site of a regional airport.

Situated near the Southern Highlands in the southwest, MBEYA is the final stop on the Tanzam railroad before Zambia. The city is the capital of Mbeya region, and has a population of about 199,000.

MOROGORO , one of the most industrialized cities in Tanzania, lies 105 miles west of Dar es Salaam. An industrial hub, it ships sisal (a durable fiber used to make twine), tobacco, kapok (a silky fiber mass utilized as filling for mattresses), and sugar. The area is the site of a large military base. A tarmac road, rail access, and an airport provide good transportation. Morogoro's current population is about 235,000.

Mount Kilimanjaro towers over MOSHI in the far northeast. The city is in the middle of a fertile area which grows nearly half of Tanzania's wheat. It is also the heart of the coffee-growing zone. Kilimanjaro International Airport, located between Moshi and Arusha, spurs development for the expanding game-park tourism industry. Moshi's population is approximately 183,000.

MWANZA is a city of nearly 291,000 residents in the northern region of Tanzania. It lies on the southern shore of magnificent Lake Victoria, and serves the surrounding area as a major port and rail terminus.

TABORA (formerly called Kazeh) is a commercial and agricultural trade center in the west-central area. Its location at the junction of east-west and north-south railways makes the city a major trade link. The modern town was founded by Arabs in 1820; during World War I, it was taken by Belgian forces on September 19, 1916. Tobacco, vegetables, and cassava are principal cash crops. The current population in 2002 was estimated at 139,000.


Geography and Climate

Tanzania, the second largest country in East Africa, is just south of the Equator. The mainland stretches from north to south for 740 miles and from east to west for 760 miles with a 500-mile coastline on the Indian Ocean. It shares borders with Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. Including the islands of Unguja and Pemba that make up Zanzibar, Tanzania's total area is 362,820 square miles (with 20,600 square miles of lakes), equal to the area of Texas and New Mexico. The coastal strip is tropical with high humidity; temperatures range from 80°F to 95°F. The country's annual rainfall averages 65 inches. The central plateau (altitude 3,000-4,000 feet; rainfall 2-30 inches), which covers much of the country, is hot and dry. The semi-temperate highlands (up to 6,000 feet; rainfall 40-100 inches) are fertile and cool. The islands of Zanzibar (rainfall 60-75 inches), 25 miles off the coast, are tropical and humid.

Tanzania has two rainy and two dry seasons. During the long rains, from March through May, heavy downpours occur daily (though it is not unusual to have as many as 2-3 days of sunny, pleasant weather between showers). The short rains come in November and December. Temperatures and humidity are high from November to April, and surface winds are moderate. June through September is pleasant and generally mild. Mildew and rust are constant problems.


Tanzania's population is about 36.2 million; 99 percent are of African origin. Tanzania has more than 130 tribes; principal tribes are the Nyamwezi, Ha, Makonde, Gogo, Haya, Chagga, and Hehe. These agricultural peoples migrated to Tanzania in the last 2,000 years. A small part of the population is made up of peoples of Nilotic origin. The Masai, the best-known group, are nomadic livestock keepers.

The national language is Kiswahili; however, each tribe has its own language, often related to other Bantu languages. Kiswahili is a Bantu language with strong Arabic and some English influences. English is widely used in government, commerce, and for all education above the primary level, although the level of English has fallen sharply in recent years.

About 50,000 Tanzanians trace their ancestry to the Indian subcontinent and southwest Asia. Its traders came to East Africa during the last 3 centuries, but mostly since 1900. About half the original number of Asians have left Tanzania since independence. Arab immigrants and people claiming Persian origin have migrated to East Africa for 1,000 years; this group has almost been assimilated into the African population. Several thousand Western expatriates live in Tanzania as missionaries, technical experts, business people, or farmers.

Tanzania's first residents were animists. Their practices and rituals included ancestor worship and belief in the unity of the dead and living. The first Arab traders were Islamic, and Islam is now the religion of over one-third of the population. Christian missionaries first arrived in the mid-19th century. Today about one-third of the population is Christian. The remainder practice traditional religions, and members of all faiths continue to share many traditional beliefs, such as ancestor worship. A sizable percentage of the Asian minority are Hindus.

Public Institutions

In 1992, Tanzania became a multi-party democracy. This ammendment was made to allow for political opposition to the Revolutionary Party (Chama Cha Mapinduzi in Swahili, or CCM), which was formed in February 1977 with the merger of the mainland's Tanganyika African National Union and the Afro-Shirazi Party of Zanzibar. Currently, thirteen different political parties are officially recognized by the government, although the CCM still holds a significant majority in the National Assembly. The country's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. Elections were held again in 2000, at that time Benjamin William Mkapa was elected for a second term as president. Frederick Sumaye was appointed as prime minister in 1995.

All major posts in government and civil service are held by Tanzanian citizens. Foreign expatriate employees serve as advisers or technicians in fields for which Tanzanians are not yet trained. The government's policy is to gradually replace these expatriates with Tanzanian citizens.

The National Assembly has 275 members, 232 of whom are popularly elected from the mainland and Zanzibar. The remaining composition of the assembly includes 37 seats appointed for women and 5 members elected by the Zanzibar House of Representatives.

National Assembly actions are valid for Zanzibar only in specifically designated Union matters. Zanzibar's own 75-member House of Representatives has jurisdiction over all non-Union matters.

The judiciary includes primary courts, district courts, resident magistrate courts (regional), the High Court of Tanzania, and the Court of Appeals. Tanzania bases its legal system on Anglo-Saxon principles of jurisprudence, with modifications to accommodate the country's authoritarian political system, and customary and Islamic law in civil cases. The Constitution provides for a nominally independent judiciary, due process, and equality before the law and, for the first time, the 1984 Constitution contains a Bill of Rights.

The Chief Justices appoint judges, except those for the Court of Appeals and High Court, who are appointed by the President. Military courts do not try civilians, and no security courts exist. The government offers legal counsel to defendants charged with treason or murder; in Dar es Salaam, free legal counsel is provided to some indigent defendants by the Tanzanian Bar Association and Legal Aid Society.

Zanzibar, comprising the islands of Unguja and Pemba, united with mainland Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Despite the Union, Zanzibar retains considerable self-government. Foreign affairs and defense are considered Union matters. Following the 1964 revolution, Zanzibar experienced bloody purges and expulsions and a severely repressive, arbitrary regime. The first popular election did not take place until 1981. The adoption of a 1984 Isles Constitution, however, brought with it a number of reforms. The new constitution includes a Bill of Rights, provides for the popular election of the President run by the sole political party, and, for the first time, mandates that a two-thirds majority of the Zanzibar House of Representatives must be directly elected by the people. The new constitution also brought Zanzibar's judiciary into conformity with that of the mainland and did away with the former system of people's courts in which legal representation was denied and judges had no legal training.

Among the nongovernmental organizations active in Tanzania are the Red Cross, YMCA and YWCA, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Tanzanian Industries, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Round Table, Christian Council, Caritas, Salvation Army, Catholic Relief Services, Plan International, Africa Wildlife Fund, and World Wildlife Fund.

Arts, Science, and Education

Tanzania has made a major effort to improve its educational system. It has a literacy rates estimated at approximately 69 percent of the population (1995). The University of Dar es Salaam is located on the city's western edge. Sokoine University, a smaller agricultural and technical college, is located in Morogoro about 100 miles west of Dar es Salaam.

Educational, scientific, and artistic activities accessible to foreigners are limited. Tanzania is one of the world's best known areas for field work in paleontology and zoology. The traveler can visit the site of the famous Leakey discoveries at Olduvai and browse through the tiny museum. Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees at Gombe Stream is well known. A number of Americans come to Tanzania every year to do other extensive field work in wild-life studies. Many researchers are affiliated with the Serengeti Research Institute.

Commerce and Industry

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita GDP of $710. Numerous external factors have contributed to the problemoil price increases, poor rainfall, and the war with Ugandabut most of the blame falls on the government's socialist economic policies. These policies were viewed by sympathetic nations in the 1970s as an alternative model for African development. The policies, however, were not successful. Recently, in partnership with multilateral and bilateral donors, Tanzania has undertaken an economic reform program that has begun to reverse previous negative economic trends. Strict fiscal policies have helped the country achieve significant economic growth in recent years, averaging 5 percent each year.

The Tanzanian economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. This sector accounts for about 49 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP), about 88 percent of total employment for the country's 36.2 million people, and 85 percent of Tanzania's export earnings. Tanzania grows crops for food and export. The most important food crops are maize (corn), rice, cassava, wheat, bananas, and beans. Export crops include coffee, cotton, tea, sisal, cashews, pyrethrum, and cloves. From 1973 to 1985, when the agricultural policies of the ruling party were implemented, production steadily declined, particularly that of export crops. Poor government policies included artificially low producer prices, over-centralized marketing systems, poor input delivery programs, and over concentration on an inefficient, state-owned industrial sector.

Minerals are exploited only on the mainland. Diamond production from mines near Shinyanga has declined considerably since the 1967 peak of 998,000 carats, but is still an important foreign-exchange earner. The deposits are owned by the government and private business. Other important mineral products are gold; Tanzanite, a gemstone unique to Tanzania; other gemstones; coal; and salt.

Despite the government's strong emphasis on the industrial sector, it is one of the smallest in Africa, contributing about 17 percent of GDP. The severe economic crisis the country has been facing, which worsened seriously starting in 1981, has forced many plants to close. Virtually all run far below capacity due to water and energy shortages, as well as the inability to obtain the foreign exchange needed to purchase new materials and spare parts.

The oldest and largest manufacturing enterprises are in the agricultural processing sector; cigarettes, meat canning, brewing, pyrethrum processing, and cashew nut shelling. Textiles, sugar refining, and cement capacities have expanded rapidly but operate substantially below capacity.

Tanzania has great potential to attract tourists, but remains substantially undeveloped. The beautiful Indian Ocean beaches, magnificent game parks, and reserves of the north and south are tremendous resources that are hardly used. The tourist infrastructure is gradually improving, but the industry's services are erratic in quality and significantly overpriced.

The country has been experiencing severe balance-of-payment problems. Exports have been declining in dollars and volume. Despite stiff economic reforms, imports continue to grow faster than exports, increasing the hard currency deficit and the government's dependence on foreign donors.

The World Bank, Sweden, Netherlands, EEC, West Germany, and Denmark provide much of Tanzania's donor assistance. The USAID assistance to Tanzania is active in the transport (rural roads and the Tazara Railroad), private enterprise development, and health (family planning and AIDS control) sectors.

Peace Corps volunteers are working in Tanzania. Their projects cover a wide range of activities including wildlife management, teaching, forestry, and agricultural mechanics.



Bus service is available in and around Dar es Salaam and up-country, but schedules and routes are inadequate. Buses are always crowded, undependable, and unsafe.

Taxis are available 24 hours daily at certain locations, including the airport, railway station, Kilimanjaro Hotel, and the Palm Beach Hotel at Selander Bridge. Drivers seldom use meters, but charge flat rates per trip. Agree on the rate in advance, as taxi drivers will try to gouge the passenger.


From Dar es Salaam International Airport, flights are available to several points in Europe and East Africa. At least one European airline is scheduled almost every day between Dar es Salaam and various European cities. Flights and connections to African locations are fewer and less convenient; most are via Nairobi or Addis Ababa. Air Tanzania provides domestic and some regional service, but due to over-bookings and maintenance problems, delays and cancellation of flights are common.

Dar es Salaam is the ocean terminus of the railway that runs 900 miles to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika and to Mwanza on Lake Victoria by way of a branch line beginning at Tabora. Full train service with sleeping and dining cars runs daily but experience lengthy delays and occasional derailments. The Chinese-built Uhuru Railway, or TAZARA as it is more commonly known, running 1,000 miles from Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri-Mposhi, Zambia, began passenger service in October 1975 and now operates four round trips weekly. Facilities on passenger trains are far below American standards, but for the adventurous a trip can be a unique experience.

Many of Tanzania's roads are badly deteriorated, but an extensive World Bank integrated roads program is attempting to reverse that trend. One main paved 123-mile road to Morogoro leads out of Dar es Salaam. This road connects with the main road system in Tanzania and East Africa and provides connections to Tanga, Arusha, Nairobi, and Mbeya, among other locations. Do not drive at night outside Dar es Salaam, even on good roads.


Telephone and Telegraph

Tanzania has local and long-distance telephone service. International connections are available to the U.K., U.S., and other parts of the world. Direct dialing of international calls is now available.

The telephone system is in very poor condition; as not all residences have telephones.

Radio and TV

Radio Tanzania, a government-owned company, broadcasts locally in Swahili and English on medium, shortwave, and FM (monophonic).Programs consist of music, news, and special features. A good short-wave receiver can pick up Europe and the U.S., as well as Nairobi. Schedules for the Voice of America are available from USIS. Bring a good-quality shortwave radio.

Zanzibar telecasts in color in Swahili a few hours in the evenings. These telecasts require a good antenna in Dar es Salaam and cannot be picked up by standard American sets.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

The Daily News is an English-language newspaper and has limited coverage of world events. Uhuru is published in Swahili. A few new weekly and biweekly newspapers have recently started publication. The International Herald Tribune, available by postal subscription, arrives at least 4 days after publication (though street vendors frequently have it within 2 days of publication). The Kenya Daily Nation is available on the day of publication.

Local bookstores carry a few international magazines and very few paperbacks.

The Dar es Salaam Public Library has an aging collection of books for children and adults. The British Council also has a good collection of books. The USIS Library is open to the American community, but its collection contains little fiction; rather it concentrates on economics, international affairs, management, business, and communications for a Tanzanian audience.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Tanzania has legalized the private practice of medicine, and several clinics and small hospitals in Dar es Salaam offer limited services. Muhimbili Medical Centre, the public teaching hospital administered by the Department of Health, is the main source of medical care for the general population. Although the local hospitals have some fairly well trained physicians, they are not reliably accessible and when available have limited diagnostic or treatment facilities. Ancillary medical facilities such as laboratory, xray, and EKG are either not available or not reliable as to accuracy of results. Equipment is often antiquated or, if newer, not functioning because of lack of parts. Unreliable sources of electricity and water contribute to nonfunctional medical facilities.

The Nordic Dental Clinic will see Americans for emergency dental work and on a space-available basis for routine care. Most employees defer dental work until they are in the U.S. Optical services are available in town. Repairs and simple lens work can be readily accomplished. Eyeglass frames are expensive and in short supply.

Tanzania has some well-trained physicians, but they are hampered by severe shortages of medicines, medical equipment and supplies, lack of trained staff, and medical facilities that have been allowed to deteriorate over the last 30 years.

Bring prescriptions for ongoing medical problems, as well as birth control supplies, contact lens solutions, over the counter medications, lotions and sun screens, extra eyeglasses, and sunglasses.

Community Health

The level of sanitation in Tanzania requires special measures. Tap water is not safe to drink until it is boiled or otherwise disinfected and filtered. The city streets in Dar es Salaam are full of piles of garbage, due to extremely irregular garbage pickup. Disinfect all fruits and vegetables before eating.

Mosquito and fly control measures are necessary. Residences are equipped with screens on the windows and mosquito nets are supplied for each occupied bed.

A number of diseases now rare in the United States are endemic to Tanzania. These include bacterial meningitis, cholera, rabies, plague, and a variety of parasitic infections.

Preventive Measures

Simple precautions will offer more than adequate protection from any of the common medical problems. Don't eat or drink anything unless you know that it has been properly cleaned and disinfected. Don't go near animals unless you are certain that they are not infected with rabies or other transmittable animal-borne diseases. Make sure all your recommended vaccinations and inoculations are up to date.

Chloroquine-resistant malaria is endemic in Tanzania. Several measures are recommended to limit mosquito bites. Sleep under mosquito nets, use mosquito repellent, wear protective clothing, ensure that the windows are adequately screened, and use insecticides to kill the mosquitoes inside the house.

Anti-malarial medication is provided for members of the mission. The current recommendations are: (1) chloroquine weekly and Paludrine daily, or (2) Mefloquine weekly.

Chloroquine is a very potent drug with a narrow margin between the effective dose and the toxic dose. It is extremely toxic for small children in excessive amounts, so it should be stored in a safe place where a child cannot have access. Significant side effects to chloroquine are rare. Some people experience some nausea and stomach distress that can usually be avoided by taking the medication with meals or at bedtime.

Chloroquine in the recommended dosage does not affect the eyes and is safe to take during pregnancy. Paludrine is a drug with relatively minor adverse reactions, such as mouth ulcers or stomach upset. Paludrine must be taken daily to be effective. Mefloquine is a relatively new drug as an alternative medication for malaria prophylaxis. Side effects can include GI upset, dizziness, headache, and, rarely, psychotic episodes.

Malaria in a pregnant woman is a very serious problem because the changes brought on by pregnancy alter a woman's ability to fight this disease. Paludrine and chloroquine can be taken safely during pregnancy. Because malaria is potentially a threat during pregnancy, pregnant women may wish to consider departure to the U.S. early in pregnancy.

The fluoride level in the water in Dar es Salaam is 0.25 parts per million. Children between the ages of 3 and 13 should receive 2.2 mg of sodium fluoride daily.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a serious problem in Tanzania. It is transmitted sexually and through blood transfusions and use of contaminated needles. The Government of Tanzania is beginning to recognize the seriousness of the problem and has launched an extensive AIDS control program. With personal prevention, exposure to the virus can be avoided.


Several flights during the week are available from a number of European cities to Dar es Salaam.

Visas are required to enter Tanzania. All travelers to Tanzania must have valid immunization certificates for yellow fever and cholera.

You must have an import permit to bring a pet into Tanzania. This permit may be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Animal Industry Subdivision, P.O. Box 9152, Dar es Salaam. You should initiate this action far in advance since the procedures are time consuming. For both cats and dogs, include a certificate that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies at least 6 months and not more than 3 years before entry into Tanzania. No dogs or cats younger than 7 months old will be allowed into Tanzania except with the special permission of the Director of Veterinary Services. The permit, along with a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian issued within 10 days of departure for Tanzania, should be attached to the pet's shipping crate. Keep copies of these documents.

The Tanzanian shilling, divided into 100 cents, is the basic local currency. It cannot be imported or exported and generally is nonconvertible. The official rate of exchange changes slightly from time to time. In December 2000, the rate of exchange was Tshs 803.4=U.S.$1. Coins in current use are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 shillings. Bill denominations are 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 shillings.

Tanzania uses the metric system of weights and measures.

No limit is placed on the amount of dollars, other foreign currency, or travelers checks that you can bring into the country. You can convert foreign currency to shillings only at authorized points. Strict currency control regulations govern conversion of shillings into foreign currencies.

No private or foreign banking facilities are yet available in Tanzania. The banking laws have been revised, however, and although private banking is legal, no private foreign bank has yet been licensed. For the time being, the government-owned National Bank of Commerce (NBC), the only commercial bank, has branches throughout Tanzania. It provides a wide range of national and international banking services including sale of U.S. and foreign travelers checks. Major credit cards are becoming increasingly accepted at major hotels and restaurants.


Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Jan. 12 Zanzibar Revolution Day

Feb. 5 Birth of Chama Cha Mapinduzi

Mar.(2nd Mon) Commonwealth Day

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar. Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

Apr. 26 Union Day

May 1Workers' Day

May 9Idd El Hajj

July 7 Peasants' Day

Dec. 9 Independence Day

Dec. 25 Christmas

Id al-Adah*


Id al-Fitr*

Hijra New Year*

Mawlid an Nabi*



These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Geography and Travel

Grizimek, B. and M. Serengeti Shall Not Die.

Hatch, J. Tanzania: A Profile.

Hayes, H.T.P. The Last Place on Earth.

Hickman, G.M. The Lands and Peoples of East Africa.

Hill, J.F.R. Tanganyika: A Review of Its Resources and Their Development.

Jekshus, H.K. Ecology Control and Economic Development in East African History: The Case of Tanganyika.

Johnston, E. The Other Side of Kilimanjaro.

Moffett, J.P. Handbook of Tanganyika.

Morgan, W.T.W. East Africa: Its Peoples and Resources.

Sierra Club Guide to East Africa.

Tanzania Today: A Portrait of the United Republic.

Thompson, A.R. The Story of Tanzania.

Townsend, D. Wild Africa's Silent Call: A Quest Through West Africa.

Travelers Guide to East Africa: A Concise Guide to the Wildlife and Tourist Facilities of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Government and Politics

Berg-Schlosser, D. Political Stability and Development. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Pubs., 1990.

Bienen, Henry. Tanzania: Party Transformation and Economic Development.

Bresen, J. et al., eds. Tanzania: Crisis & Struggle for Survival. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1988.

Bukuku, Enos S. The Tanzanian Economy: Income Distribution and Economic Growth. New York: Praeger, 1991.

Cliffe, Lionel. One Party Democracy.

Cliffe, Lionel and John Saul. Socialism in Tanzania. 2 vols.

Hildebrand, Fr., OSB. Tanzanian Citizen.

Hopkins, R.F. Political Roles in a New State: Tanzania's First Decade.

Hughes, A.J. East Africa: The Search for Unity.

Hyden, G. Political Development in Rural Tanzania: TANU Yajenja Nchi.

Ingle, C.R. From Village to State in Tanzania: The Politics of Rural Development.

Kitchen, J. Handbook of African Affairs.

McDonald, Alexander. Tanzania: A Young Nation in a Hurry.

Maguire, G.A. Toward "Uhuru" in Tanzania: The Politics of Participation.

Mwansasu, U. and Crawford Pratt. Towards Socialism in Tanzania.

Nellis, J.R. Theory of Ideology: The Tanzania Example.

Nyerere, J.K. The Arusha Declaration.

. The Crusade for Liberation.

. Education for Self-Reliance.

. Essays on Socialism.

. Freedom and Development.

. Freedom and Socialism.

. Freedom and Unity.

. Ujamaa: Essays on Socialism.

O'Neill, Norman, and Kemal Mustafa, eds. Capitalism, Socialism and the Development Crisis in Tanzania. Brookfield, VT: Grower Pub., 1990.

Pratt, C. Critical Phase in Tanzania 1945-1968: Nyerere and the Emergence of a Socialist Strategy.

Ruhumbika, G. Towards Ujamaa: 20 Years of TANU Leadership.

Samoff, J. Tanzania: Local Politics and the Structure of Power.

Seaton, E.E. Political System of Tanganyika: Origin, Characteristics and Evolutionary Development.

Sender, J. Poverty, Class, and Gender in Rural Africa: A Tanzanian Case Study. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Svendsen, K.E. Self-Reliant in Tanzania.

Tordoff, William. Government and Politics in Tanzania.

Yeager, Rodger. Tanzania: An African Experiment. 2nd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989.

Yu, George T. China's African Policy: A Study of Tanzania.


Austen, R.A. Northwest Tanzania Under German and British Rule: Colonial Policy and Tribal Politics, 1889-1939.

Chidzero, T.G. Tanganyika and International Trusteeships.

Clarke, P.H.C. A Short History of Tanganyika.

Dumont, Rene. False Start in Africa.

Feierman, S. The Shambaa Kingdom: A History.

Freeman-Grenville, G. East African Coast.

Gardener, Brian. German East.

Ingham, K. History of East Africa.

Kimanbo, I.N. and A.J. Temu. A History of Tanzania.

Kirkman, J. Men and Monuments of the East African Coast.

Koponen, Juhani. People & Production in Late Precolonial Tanzania: History & Structures. Philadelphia: Coronet Books, 1988.

Listowel, Judith. The Making of Tanganyika.

Oliver, R. History of East Africa: The Early Period.

Richards, C. and J. Place. East African Explorers.

Stahl, K.M. History of the Chagga People of Kilimanjaro.


Camerapix. Tanzania. New York:Hunter Publishing, 1991.

Cox, Richard, ed. Kenya & Northern Tanzania. Rev ed. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1991.

Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles: With Ratings of Major Safaris. 3rd ed. New York: David McKay, 1990.

Lamb, D. The Africans.

Leslie, J.A.K. A Survey of Dar es Salaam.

Margolies, Barbara A. Rehema's Journey: a Visit in Tanzania. New York: Scholastic, 1990.

Rutman, Gilbert. The Economy of Tanganyika.

Smith, William Edgett. We Must Run While They Walk.


Ayany, S.G. History of Zanzibar: A Study in Constitutional Development, 1934-1964.

Campbell, Jane and John Middleton. Zanzibar: Its Society and Its Politics.

Cas, Frank. Zanzibar: Its History and Its People.

A Guide to Zanzibar: A Detailed Account of Zanzibar Town and Island.

Gray, Sir J. History of Zanzibar.

. History of Zanzibar from the Middle Ages to 1856.

Hamilton, Genesta. Prices of Zinj.

Ingram, W.H. Zanzibar: Its History and Its People.

Lofchie, Michael. Zanzibar: Background to Revolution.

Martin, Esmond B. Zanzibar: Tradition and Revolution.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Cities of the World. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Cities of the World. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Cities of the World. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Basic Data
Official Country Name: United Republic of Tanzania
Region: Africa
Population: 35,306,126
Language(s): Kiswahili (Swahili), Kiunguju, English, Arabic
Literacy Rate: 67.8%
Academic Year: January-November
Number of Primary Schools: 11,290
Compulsory Schooling: 7 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 3.4%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 4,057,965
  Secondary: 234,743
  Higher: 17,812
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 66%
  Secondary: 5%
  Higher: 1%
Teachers: Primary: 109,936
  Secondary: 12,496
  Higher: 1,822
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 36:1
  Secondary: 17:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 66%
  Secondary: 5%
  Higher: 0.2%

History & Background

Tanzania is about twice the size of California or 939,652 square miles in area (363,950 square kilometers). Its capital city, Dar es Salaam, has nearly 2 million residents. The proposed new capital, Dodoma, has just over 1 million residents. Tanzania has 32 million people. Zanzibar has 1.5 million people, while mainland Tanzania has 30.5 million inhabitants. Most Tanzanians live along the edges of the country on the coast and in the mountains, such as the Kilimanjaro region, the Pare, and the Usambara Mountains of the north. Many also live along the fertile lakeshores of Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika and along the fertile southern highlands. The center of the country is very dry, sparsely inhabited, and infested with tsetse flies that cause sleeping sickness in cattle and humans. This limits population buildup despite desirable land. Similarly, the fertile southern highlands are under populated due to disease; this explains why no dairy industry has developed there. Tanzania's population is growing at 2 percent per year, modest by African standards. Approximately 75 percent of the population is rural, and most people are subsistence farmers or pastoralists. The remaining 25 percent live in a handful of cities, such as Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Arusha, Moshi, Bukoba, Iringa, and Mwanza. Tanzania's urban population, however, is exploding. At independence in 1961, only 6 percent of Tanzanians were urban. Most urban growth is due to rural to urban migration. Roughly 99 percent of Tanzanians are Africans with the remaining 1 percent divided among East Asians, Europeans, and Arabs.

Life expectancy at birth is 42 years, and the infant mortality rate is 104.8 per 1,000 births. Tanzania has 1 doctor for every 22,900 people. The average person consumes 87 percent of the recommended daily caloric intake. Tanzania's African population can be divided into 120 ethnic groups. The majority is of Bantu origin, and the largest ethnic group is the Sukuma. Nilotic speaking groups such as the Maasai, are also quite large. Tanzania's population is 30 percent Christian, 30 percent Muslim, and 40 percent animist.

Tanganyika is a republic, which attained self-governance on 9 December 1961 within the British Commonwealth of Nations. It attained complete independence in 1962 and became a republic. By 1964, mainland Tanganyika united with the People's Republic of Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

No Tanzanian African languages were written, so youth learned by listening carefully to older people and by watching and imitating their behavior. Having a good memory was important. The Waswahili ethnic group was formed between A.D. 200 and 500 along the Tanzania and Kenya coasts. These people are Bantu speaking Africans who intermarried with Arabs, East Indians, and Portuguese. Their language reflects these mixtures because it includes many Arabic and Hindi, as well as Portuguese and German, loanwords. Originally it was written by using an Arabic script, with extra letters to denote vowels; today written Swahili uses the Roman alphabet. From A.D. 700 on, Arabs colonized large regions of Tanzania. They introduced both spoken and written Arabic through Koran schools, which they used to teach their religion, Islam. Swahili speakers lived in coastal city-states, much like ancient Athens in Greece. Malindi and other city-states traded with distant lands, such as India and China. Armed struggle was ongoing against foreign invaders and by the early 1500s the Portuguese, using technology unknown in East Africa at the time, conquered many Swahili city-states. The Portuguese ruled the East Coast of Africa for roughly two centuries, but the Swahili never accepted them, and constant war was the norm.

When Germany colonized what was then Tanganyika in the 1880s, it introduced European education, science, mathematics, and engineering, as well as the German language. Such education went no further than elementary school and was limited to a few missionary-controlled schools.

In 1891 the German Governor, Von Soden, created a Western system of education to help cement the loyalty of Africans and provide inexpensive labor. The difficulty experienced suppressing the Bushiri Muslim revolt engendered respect for Islam in Von Soden. He paid Muslim teachers to visit government schools and used Swahili as the main medium of instruction. In an official 1903 circular he stated that his goals were:

  1. To enable the native to be used in government administration.
  2. To inculcate a liking for order, cleanliness, diligence, and duty and a sound knowledge of German customs and patriotism. (Cameron 56)

From 1918 on, England administered Tanganyika and Zanzibar as League of Nations Trust territories. England added government subsidies to the German educational system, but otherwise did not fundamentally change it. Mission schools offered basic literacy, hygiene, mathematics, and religious and moral education. Most Africans found schools disruptive of their agricultural cycles and avoided them as superfluous.

Under a dual mandate England was to control Tanganyika and Zanzibar until they could learn to govern themselves, at which point it was to grant them independence. Fearing that this would not take place, Julius Nyerere argued in favor of immediate independence following World War II, and, in 1961, Tanganyika peacefully won its independence. Tanzania however was ill prepared for independence. The first secondary school was opened in 1930, and when World War II ended in 1945, only one school offered education through the twelfth grade in the entire country. It had six students. Colonial education expanded after 1950, but mainly in urban areas. Bright high school graduates were sent to Makerere College in Uganda or the Royal Technical College in Kenya (Nairobi University). By 1959 only 70 Tanzanian African had earned university degrees and 20 of these were teachers.

In 1954, less than 10 percent of Tanzania's children were in school. The colonial educational system was inadequate for the needs of an independent nation. Illiteracy was so widespread that elementary education was offered to all who desired it. Talented students won seats in high schools and at universities free of charge. After independence, education was offered by the government to all who could prove that they could benefit from it. As costs mounted, this policy became too expensive and was modified.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Since 1964, there has been one constitution, but two governments. Zanzibar exercises autonomy over its internal affairs. A Union government is responsible for common defense, foreign affairs, and other matters, such as higher education, civil aviation, postal services, and telecommunications. Primary, secondary, and vocational education are regulated separately; agriculture and industry are also considered internal matters on Zanzibar and the mainland. Tanzania is divided into 25 administrative regions. Agriculture and tourism are the principle economic activities, although industry is growing steadily.

Educational SystemOverview

Between the ages of 7 and 14 education is compulsory and free. The adult literacy rate is 68 percent, which is high for Africa. The national language is Swahili, but English is widely used in schools. Chagga, Gogo, Haya, Hehe, Sukuma, Maasai, and other languages are also spoken, but rarely used as the medium of instruction

In the 20 years preceding World War I, Germany created a three-tiered system of education. There were 60 nebenschulen (primary schools), which offered 3 years of courses in reading, writing, and arithmetic; there were also 9 hauptschulen that offered 2 additional years of vocational training. Germany built one oberschule or high school in Tanga, which offered clerical, industrial, and teacher training, as well as some academic courses. At its zenith, the high school had 500 students and 4 German teachers on its staff. Although Swahili was the language of instruction, German was offered as a foreign language. Missionaries were also encouraged to create schools for the indigenous population. By 1900, there were 600 missionary schools with a combined enrollment of over 50,000 students. In 1914, more than 95 percent of students enrolled in Tanganyika's schools were in mission schools. The number of schools had grown to over 1,000, and total enrollment climbed to 150,000 students. Government schools aimed to produce clerks, tax collectors, interpreters, artisans, and craftsmen, while missionaries aimed to produce westernized Christian converts, alienated from their own traditional culture. Since missionaries educated most Africans, it is not surprising that at independence many were hostile to traditional chiefs. Missionary schools were uncompromising spearheads of Westernization.

The German system did not educate girls because Western education began along the Muslim Coast where custom dictated that girls not be educated. It emphasized submissiveness, not enlightenment, in women.

This educational system laid a firm foundation for a national language, Kiswahili, and secular education. German administrators often corresponded in Swahili. The Germans laid a small but solid foundation for Tanzania's educational system. In 1903 there were 8 government schools and 15 mission schools. No statistics are available on the number of students in 1903. By 1911 the German colonial government had built 83 schools, while missionaries built 918 schools in Tanganyika. Government schools had 3,192 students, while missionary schools taught 63,455 students. In 1914, there were 99 German colonial government sponsored schools. By contrast, missionaries had constructed 1,852 schools. Government schools educated 6,100 students, but missionary schools educated an amazing 155,287. Clearly, missionaries educated the overwhelming majority of Tanganyikan pupils during the German colonial era.

The German system of education put emphasis on practical education and health improvement. When England took over, they were impressed by the standard of literacy reached by Tanzanian Africans, especially those who had had the opportunity to study science and math in Germany. They produced skilled workers for the German colonial enterprise. Their schools were less like the German gymnasiums, which emphasized Latin and classical learning, and more like the German Volksschule, which were geared to the general public. The British adopted the German policy of cooperation with mission schools in the fight against illiteracy.

All education stopped in Tanzania during World War I. With Germany's defeat, the victors divided the territory between Portugal, Belgium, and Britain. Britain administered what came to be known as Tanganyika, a trust territory, under a League of Nations mandate. Britain's stated educational purpose in 1920 was to develop the people, as far as possible, on their own lines and in accordance with their own values and customs. Britain allowed missionaries to play a major role in education and subsidized schools, which gave them greater control over the curriculum. The Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) schools were Anglican and very British. Anglican schools had the biggest single influence on Tanzanian education during the British era. Despite this, over 80 percent of mission schools were foreign, non-British. This presented a security problem after 1926 when the League of Nations readmitted Germany, and German missionaries returned to teach in Tanzania.

The British government needed to educate the children of the local elite to make their policy of indirect rule work. They opened a special school at Tabora in 1924 for sons of chiefs. Their aim was to produce future administrators, clerks, and artisans. They created a bold experiment at the Malangali government school whereby Africans were to be helped to preserve and modify their own culture until a satisfactory adjustment was made to the Europeanized environment. Missionaries denounced this school on the grounds that tribal elders were using it to inculcate pagan, non-Christian beliefs. Their hostility caused the school to fail. Missionaries opposed also native authority schools paid for by African chiefs to train their own elite. These schools ultimately failed, too. The missionaries' goals were to produce devout, educated Christians. They were not concerned with manpower needs. Missionaries devoted attention to vocational training so that African Christians could make money to take care of themselves, as well as give to the churches. Thus, they built many ill-equipped bush schools. The British government, on the other hand, wanted to produce only as many graduates as it planned to hire for existing work.

The most critical element in the British vocational curriculum was agriculture. This quickly degenerated into school headmasters exploiting free student labor on large school farms. Parents resented this. For most African farmers, education was one way to remove themselves from harsh rural living, not a means of returning to rural areas with improved techniques and the ability to make farming pay more through the application of science. Each family felt that it needed at least one salaried person to earn money in urban areas and remit cash to village relatives. Africans did not want to return to the land, so they pressed for post primary education. The British continued the German pattern of using Swahili as the medium of instruction. The use of vernacular languages for instruction was losing ground. However, as Africans discovered that knowledge of English was associated with higher pay, English began to force out Swahili as the language of instruction in high schools and universities. Just prior to independence it was common to use English as the medium of instruction from the fourth grade on. Swahili was used in the lower grades.

Between 1923 and 1961, enrollment in Tanzanian schools can be described in the following manner. British colonial education in Tanzania in 1923 witnessed enrollments of 4,907 students in government schools. That same year mission schools educated 115,000 students and no statistics are available on Assisted schools. By 1931 British colonial schools were educating 7,505 students, while Mission schools educated 159,959; again, no statistics are available for Assisted schools. The year 1935 saw 8,105 pupils in British schools, 217,736 pupils in Mission schools, and no numbers are available on the number of pupils in Assisted schools. In 1941, there were 13,370 students in British colonial government schools, no numbers are available for Mission schools, and 26,300 students were attending Assisted schools. In the midst of World War II, British schools enrolled 17,005 students, no figures are available for Mission schools, and Assisted schools enrolled 31,200 students. A new pattern emerged when World War II ended. America entered the war based on the Atlantic Agreement, which guaranteed that if the United States helped Britain win, Britain would end colonialism and open its lucrative markets to American competition. It was not surprising, therefore, that by 1961, in preparation for independence, Mwingira reported that British government schools enrolled 486,470 students. No statistics are available on enrollments in 1961 for either Mission or Assisted schools.

On Zanzibar, the vast majority of schools were governmental schools. In some ways, Zanzibar's system compared favorably with mainland Tanganyika's. African primary school students received six years of education rather than four, and no school fees were charged on the islands; mainland children paid fees. In rural areas Africans attended primary school up to grade six, after which they went to middle school through grade eight. City students attended primary school uninterrupted from grades 1 through 8. Urban schools were better funded, had better teachers and, consequently, more children from urban schools gained entry into secondary schools. In 1958, approximately 63 percent of primary school aged urban children attended school. By contrast, in the same year, less than 35 percent of rural children attended primary school. Africans faired better on the mainland where 45 percent were in school. On the island of Pemba, only 14 percent of rural children were enrolled in school. The few missionary and private schools on the islands had a negligible influence on the educational system. For all intents and purposes Zanzibar's educational system, before the revolution, was one of the sparks that ignited revolution.

Former president Nyerere opposed a system that allowed money to buy votes and advantaged entrance into high cost, high quality schools for rich children, thus excluding the majority of students who might be just as intelligent, but lacked basic necessities. All schools became nationalized. Most colonial schools were run by missionaries and were private. Independence ushered in an era in which public schools dominated the training of Tanzania's next generation of workers, professionals, and leaders. Some ethnic groups, such as the Chagga, grew cash crops, had efficient cooperatives to help farmers succeed, and could afford a better education for their children. Other ethnic groups, like the Hadza, who hunted animals and gathered nuts and fruits for a living, were poor and had no idea what advantages an education could confer upon their children. To insure equal educational opportunities, Nyerere created a school entrance system based on ethnic quotas. He did this in the interest of fairness and to make the future workforce and leadership representative of all Tanzania's citizens. Without a doubt, this selection system excluded some bright, hard working, deserving students. It also admitted some illprepared students from other ethnic groups, but it created a national culture of inclusion, reduced ethnic tensions, made students from all ethnic groups feel that they had opportunities for advancement, and brought national stability and peace. It seems a small price to pay for the tranquility it has bought Tanzania.

United Nations' surveys of education in Tanzania reveal that in 1980 Tanzania enrolled 3,361,228 students in primary schools, 67,396 students in secondary schools and no statistics are available on university enrollment. A decade later, primary schools enrolled nearly 3.3 million students, while secondary schools enrolled 167,150 students, and Dar es Salaam University enrolled 7,468 students. The year 1996 saw these numbers increase as there were nearly 3.9 million students enrolled in primary schools, an additional 211,664 students enrolled in secondary schools, and university enrollments had doubled to 14,882. The year 1997 witnessed 4 million students enrolled in primary schools throughout Tanzania, an additional 234,743 students enrolled in secondary schools, and 17,812 students enrolled in universities in Tanzania (United Nations Statistical Yearbook 57).

Preprimary & Primary Education

Since independence, the primary, secondary school, vocational training, adult education, and university levels of education are self-contained and separate, though linked enough to insure smooth transitions between them. Many Tanzanian parents depend upon their children's labor to run their farms. Some cannot afford to hire workers. Taking this into account, Nyerere raised the entrance age for grammar school to age seven. This also meant that when students graduated, those who did not advance to secondary school were mature enough to begin working. Moreover, rather than prepare students solely to take secondary school entrance examination, primary school students also study trades, machine repair, and agriculture. Farms and workshops are now part of most Tanzanian primary schools. Food grown by the school is either consumed by school children themselves or sold to raise money to help support the school or pay teachers' salaries. Urban and rural children learn practical, as well as academic subjects. Due to the pent-up demand for education, primary school construction exploded after independence. So rapid was its growth that to meet the demand for teachers, grammar school graduates between the ages of 15 and 17 years often were induced to teach.

Primary education, since independence, has been free, compulsory, and universal. It extends from grade one through grade seven. Swahili is the language of instruction and Tanzania's national language as well. English is studied as a second language. Classes are offered five days per week, and most textbooks are locally published in both English and Swahili. Under the colonial system, students were forced to pass a national entrance examination for admission to grade five; this was abolished in 1968. Any child who is admitted to standard (grade) 1 is assured all seven years of primary education. In 1972 all primary school fees were abolished. Local authorities were encouraged to build primary schools as part of the self-reliance campaign. The policy of equal opportunity for schooling meant that the Tanzanian government concentrated its efforts in areas formerly considered underprivileged. Districts that had less than 50 percent of the classrooms required for primary school were given more aid.

An estimated 93 percent of primary school aged children attend school. This represents a remarkable improvement over the colonial system that never admitted more than 44 percent of those seeking primary education or 10 percent of the school age population. Colonial governments blocked and limited the growth of African educational opportunities; the opposite is true of independent Tanzania. At the primary level Tanzanians have clearly benefited from independence.

Secondary Education

Secondary education was given priority immediately after independence because most civil servants only needed a high school diploma to hold office, and the ruling party, then known as TANU (Tanganyika African National Union), was eager to Africanize the Civil Service and replace British expatriate workers. Swahili is compulsory, and students must receive a passing score in this subject to earn a form four certificate. Secondary schooling has two levels known as Ordinary or "O" level, which extends from form one through form four, and culminates with an examination leading to the National School Certificate award and Advanced or "A" level. The advanced level courses are similar to U.S. junior college courses; however, most students planning to attend university must complete this level and take an examination leading to the National Higher School Certificate before applying for entrance into a university in Tanzania. Students take frequent tests to encourage good study habits. Students are also graded on their attitudes, patriotism, demonstrated dedication to social causes, and overall behavior. This assessment counts for one-third of a pupil's grade. Four subjects are stressed in agriculture, commerce, technical skills, and home economics. They are offered to help achieve the goal of self-reliance. Each student takes one of these subjects. In forms five and six, students are required to study languages, arts and sciences, mathematics, commercial subjects, technology, and military science.

Several decades ago, each region of Tanzania had one or more secondary school, usually in an urban area. These were boarding schools in most cases, since students' homes were far from the schools. Quality varied from region to region. Students wore uniforms to minimize class distinctions. Pupils from all ethnic groups had a reasonable chance of advancing to university due to the ethnic quota system. As the primary school base enlarged dramatically and secondary school enrollment stagnated, the number of grammar school graduates who went on to high school dropped from 30 percent in 1970 to a mere 4 percent by 1980. Since 1980, excess demand has forced the government to allow private schools to help meet the great demand for secondary education in Tanzania. Little difference has been noted in the quality of education in Tanzania's private and public schools, even though many believe that low-income students have less access to private schools. After 1980, with private sector involvement, secondary schools have expanded faster than primary schools.

Secondary education has grown more slowly than primary education in Tanzania because the government limited output to graduates it could absorb through employment. Planned growth called for an increase of 30 percent enrollment every 5 years. The growth of private secondary schools has meant that this target has been exceeded. High school graduation is a privilege extended to a few who are expected to bear the responsibility for running the community.

Higher Education

Only 70 Africans held university degrees just prior to independence, and 20 of them were teachers. Most had attended Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda or the Royal Technical College (now the University of Nairobi) in Nairobi, Kenya. A few had also studied in England or the United States. Clearly, the system had to dramatically expand educational opportunities if it was to meet the needs of an independent nation. Adult illiteracy hovered at 73 percent.

No Tanzanian student is admitted to national universities unless they serve for two years in the national service, regardless of how intelligent they are. Those unwilling to prove their commitment to nation building are forced to attend foreign universities at their own expense.

Prior to independence Tanzania did not have a university. Students seeking university education were forced to travel to other countries, notably Uganda and Kenya, but England and the United States were also possibilities. The University of Dar es Salaam was established in 1970. It offers degrees in agriculture, law, business and commerce, medicine, engineering, and science. The faculty of agriculture is located in Morogoro, while most of the other faculties are located in Dar es Salaam. It normally takes three years to complete a Bachelor's degree and four years to complete a law degree. Examinations are held once a year at the end of yearlong courses. External examiners give additional assessments of learning. Admission to the university is based upon several criteria. Students must work for two years or compete two years of national service before applying for entrance to university. There are three hurdles that must be crossed: first, they must have high academic standards; second, local CCM (Chama Cha Mapunduzi/Party of the Revolutionthe party in power) representatives must attest that a student is devoted to national policies; and third, coworkers, employers, or commanding officers must testify to the student's character and on-the-job performance. If they pass all three tests and are admitted, then they must sign a contract stating that they will work for five years wherever the Tanzanian government chooses upon earning their degrees.

Numbers cited above show that enrollments are doubling every seven years on average. Undergraduate degrees are awarded in four categories: first class (A average), upper class (B+ average), lower second (B average) and pass, with all but pass being honor degrees. As Tanzania's economy continues to modernize and diversify, the demand for college graduates and professionals will grow along with it. Students who take degrees abroad often do not return because salaries in England, Canada, and the U.S. are significantly higher than in Tanzania.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Despite opposing goals for Africans, financial shortages during World War II made both systems more dependent on African native authorities to finance education. By 1942, native authorities (chiefs) paid 92 percent of the cost of running schools in Tanzania. African chiefs paid teachers salaries; built, furnished, and maintained schools; and created a system of local financing for schools. Britain liked this because those who benefited paid for their own education. This saved the mother country a lot of money.

The share of the government budget spent on education dropped from 17 percent in 1970 to 11 percent in 1994 making private sector growth more important. Private schools in 2001 enroll 55 percent of all secondary school students in Tanzania. Public spending on education is declining. International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank imposed cuts in government spending throughout the 1980s and early 1990s contributed to the decline in public spending on education.

Nonformal Education

Adult education tried to eradicate illiteracy in Tanzania. At independence, over 70 percent of adult Tanzanians were illiterate. The object of adult education in Tanzania was not merely to teach literacy, but to help adults find solutions to other problems such as hunger, ignorance, disease, and soil erosion. Nyerere stated, "First we must educate adults. Our children will not have an impact on our development for 5, 10, or even 20 years. The attitudes of adults, on the other hand, have an impact now" (1967). The Tanzanian government achieved great success in expanding education among adults. Adult education was seen as vital to the spread and implementation of ujamaa or African Socialism in the countryside. Approximately 10 percent of the total education budget was set aside for adult education. Students were told repeatedly to fight fatalism and that they could change their own fate or destiny.

In 1970 a nationwide campaign was launched to impart functional literacy called "The Choice Is Yours." Learners participated in decision-making and development. In 1973 another campaign was launched known as "Man Is Health." This emphasized good health habits and hygiene, while 1974 witnessed the emergence of the "Agriculture for Life" campaign. In all of these campaigns reading, writing, and counting were taught, as well as knowledge that could immediately improve lives. Students progressed through eight graded stages of increasing difficulty. Books and materials were provided free of charge. Radio education programs kept in touch with students weekly, as did folk development colleges that offered one to three weekly classes in folk handicrafts, home economics, and mechanics. Rural libraries were established, and the goal became to have a library in every village. The reading of rural newspapers was encouraged to reinforce good reading habits and lifelong learning. Backyard garages were worked into lessons, as were tinsmithing, watch repair work, and many others. These programs were oriented to local needs.

Class size varied from 10 to 60 students. Clientele included school dropouts and rural migrants who were never exposed to school before. Voluntary contributions and government aid financed these schools. Swahili is the language of instruction. By 1973 almost 3 million people had benefited from literacy campaigns. Workers' Continuing Education was compulsory in government offices, factories, industries, parastatals, town councils, and public institutions. Public protest halted the campaigns in 1975, but 3 million people had by then acquired third to fourth grade literacy. Nearly 700,000 teachers (60,000 of whom were salaried) taught in these campaigns, aided by local TANU cell members and coordinated by the Institute of Adult Education. Due in large measure to the success of these adult literacy campaigns, Tanzania has reduced illiteracy to 35 percent or less. This is a far cry from the 70 percent illiteracy rate they inherited at independence and is an impressive accomplishment, especially given their limited resources. Clearly the government was succeeding in its war on illiteracy. Had the program continued, illiteracy would now be a distant memory.

Other avenues exist for Tanzanians to acquire education such as the Institute for Public Administration, Institute for Swahili Research, Institute of Fisheries, and the Business Training Institute. Most offer diploma courses that take an average of two years to complete. Graduates are issued certificates. Short in-service courses are common.


Tanzania inherited an elitism educational system but broadened it to create ample opportunities for its citizens. Most Africans were illiterate before independence, but this has been reduced to a minority of 35 percent and that number is still falling. Tanzania still plans to eradicate illiteracy, as well as ensuring full primary education to all Tanzanian children, improving the quality of education, and stressing science and technology in its schools. Access at all levels has dramatically increased since 1961. The Ugandan invasion caused massive diversions of expenditures and set back literacy campaigns and the expansion of educational opportunities. Despite this, primary education is now offered to almost every student, and secondary chances are expanding fast with the help of private schools. A growing gap between rich and poor students needs to be watched carefully, as does recurrent textbook shortages, low teacher salaries, and regional inequalities that persist. Swahili has grown in prominence since the Germans elevated it to the medium of instruction in their colonial schools. It is still the major medium of instruction at most levels of Tanzania's educational system. University populations are growing very fast, and Tanzania may soon be in a position to attract high tech industries because of the number of qualified engineers, computer programmers, and skilled workers that it is producing. Tanzania truly earned the World Bank's assessment of it as a "rising star" and a nation to watch, despite on-going problems.


Browne, Dallas. "The Tanzania-Uganda War." In Encyclopedia of African History, ed. Kevin Shillington. London: Fitzroy Press, 2001.

Cameron, J. and W.A. Dodd. Society, Schools and Progress in Tanzania. New York: Pergamon Press, 1970.

Chau, Ta Ngoc, and Caillods Francoise. Educational Policy and Its Financial Implications in Tanzania. Paris: UNESCO, 1975.

Dolan, Louis Francis. Transition from Colonialism to Self-Reliance in Tanzanian Education. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1970.

De Vere Allen, James. Swahili Origins: Swahili Culture and the Shungwaya Phenomenon. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1993.

Gillete, Arthur L. Beyond the Non-Formal Fashion: Towards Educational Revolution in Tanzania. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1977.

Hall, Budd L. Adult Education and the Development of Socialism in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1975.

Harris, Lyndon. Swahili Poetry. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1962.

Hinzen, H. and V.H. Hundsdorfer. Education for Liberation and Development: The Tanzanian Experience. Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Education, 1979.

Knappert, Jan. Four Centuries of Swahili Verse: A Literary History and Anthology. London: Heinemann, 1979.

Kurtz, Laura. An African Education: The Social Revolution in Tanzania. Brooklyn: Pageant Poseidon Limited, 1972.

Lassibille, Gerard, Jee-Peng Tan, and Suleman Surma. "Expansion of Private Secondary Education: Lessons from Recent Experience in Tanzania." Comparative Education Review 44(1) (2000): 1-28.

Lofchie, Michael. Zanzibar: Background to Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Middleton, John. The World of the Swahili: An African Merchant Civilization. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.

Morrison, David R. Education and Politics in Africa: The Tanzanian Case. Montreal, 1976.

Muncie, Peter C. Torches in the Night: Educational Experiences in Tanzania and the Ivory Coast. Washington D.C.: World Bank Publication, 1973.

Mwingira, A.C. and Simon Pratt. The Process of Educational Planning in Tanzania. New York: UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, 1967.

Nyerere, Julius. Education for self-reliance. Dar es Salaam: Government Printer, 1967.

Omari, M. and S.A. Surma. "Socio-Cultural CASE Study for Population Education in the United Republic of Tanzania." In Socio-cultural Case Study for Population Education in Morocco, Peru, Rwanda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. Paris: UNESCO, 1981.

Resnick, Idrian. Tanzania: Revolution by Education. Arusha: Longmans of Tanzania, 1968.

Sanyal, B.C. and M.J. Kinunda. Higher Education for Self-Reliance: The Tanzanian Experience. Paris: UNESCO, 1977.

Stambach, Amy. "To Much Studying Makes Me Crazy: School-Related Illness on Mount Kilimanjaro." Comparative Education Review 42(4) (1998): 497-512.

UNESCO. Statistical Yearbook: Forty-fourth Issue. New York: United Nations, 2000.

Dallas L. Browne

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." World Education Encyclopedia. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." World Education Encyclopedia. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." World Education Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.




Chai (Tea) ................................................................... 24
Coconut Bean Soup .................................................... 25
Ugali ........................................................................... 27
Chapatti (Fried Flat Bread) .......................................... 27
Mango-Orange Drink.................................................. 28
Ndizi Kaanga (Fried Bananas or Plantains) ................... 28
Wali wa Nazi (Rice in Coconut Milk)............................ 28
Supu Ya Ndizi (Plantain Soup)..................................... 30
Date Nut Bread........................................................... 30
Sweet Potato Pudding................................................. 31
Mchicha (Spinach with Coconut and Peanuts) ............ 32
Makubi (Spinach with Tomatoes)................................ 32


Situated in East Africa just south of the equator, Tanzania is made up of a mainland area and the islands of Zanzibar, Pembe, and Mafia. Mainland Tanzania lies between the area of the great lakesVictoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi (Niassa)and the Indian Ocean. It contains a total area of 945,090 square kilometers (364,901 square miles), slightly larger than twice the size of the state of California. A plateau makes up the greater part of the country. The Pare mountain range is in the northeast, and the Kipengere mountain range is in the southwest. Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters/19,340 feet) is the highest mountain in Africa. On the borders are three large lakes: Victoria, Tanganyika, and Lake Malawi.

Two-thirds of Zanzibar Island consists of low-lying coral country covered by bush and grass plains. The western side of the island is fertile, and Pemba, apart from a narrow belt of coral country in the east, is fertile and densely populated.

There are four main climatic zones: the coastal area and immediate interior, where conditions are tropical; the central plateau, which is hot and dry; the highland areas; and the high, moist lake regions.


The earliest known inhabitants in Tanzania's long and colorful past were primarily hunter-gatherers. In addition, Tanzania has had many of years of influence from other parts of the world. In the first five hundred years A.D., vegetables, millet, and sorghum, and fruits and fish were mostly eaten. By A.D. 800, however, Muslim Arabs established trade routes to and from the country. They introduced citrus fruits, cotton plants, and pilau and biriani (spicy rice and meat dishes), having the greatest effect on the cuisines of coastal regions and the island of Zanzibar. The inhabitants introduced coconut oil and various tools and textiles to the Arabs in return.

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived in East Africa in 1498 and aggressively took control of the coastal regions and trade routes. Da Gama (called afriti, a devil, by locals), who was on his way to the Middle East and India, stopped at present-day Tanzania to rest his men, who were suffering from scurvy (a lack of vitamin C). Chungwa (oranges, rich in vitamin C), relatively unknown to Europeans at the time, were introduced to the ailing crewmen. The Portuguese dominated the region until the Arabs regained control in 1698. Despite nearly two hundred years of rule, the Portuguese left little behind. The introduction of cassava, a root crop that has become an important staple in the Tanzanian diet, and groundnuts (peanuts) were probably their most significant contributions.

The number of East African slaves who were bought to work Tanzania's plantations increased as the result of the discovery of clove, a key spice in the country's cuisine. After slavery was abolished in 1873, the British and Germans battled for control over Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika). At first, the British (who introduced tea and boiled vegetables) prevailed, encouraging the cultivation of crops that could be exported for profit. By 1891, the Germans took control. They established coffee and cotton plantations. The success of the plantations, however, diminished during World War I (19141918), when nearly 100,000 troops and civilians died as a result of fighting, influenza (flu), and famine. Tanzania became an independent nation on December 9, 1961.

Chai (Tea)


  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 3 to 4 cups milk
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons tea (plain black is best)
  • Cardamom, ground
  • Ginger, ground
  • Sugar


  1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large saucepan.
  2. Add a few pinches of cardamom and a pinch of ginger.
  3. Bring the mixture to a low boil and simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Strain the tea into a teapot and serve immediately.

Coconut Bean Soup


  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • ½ cup green peppers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2½ cups canned kidney beans with liquid (or black-eyed peas)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup cooked rice
  • ½ cup shredded coconut


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onions until softened.
  2. Add green peppers, curry powder, salt, pepper, butter or margarine, and tomato, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the kidney beans with their liquid, the coconut milk, and water.
  4. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, Stir in the cooked rice and heat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls. Top each serving with 1 Tablespoon of shredded coconut, and serve.

Serves 8 to 10.


Most food that makes up Tanzanian cuisine is typical throughout all of East Africa. Meat is not widely consumed in comparison with other areas of the continent. Cattle are normally slaughtered only for very special occasions, such as a wedding or the birth of a baby. Cattle, sheep, and goats are raised primarily for their milk and the value they contribute to social status. When meat is consumed, however, nyama choma (grilled meat) and ndayu (roasted, young goat) are most popular.

The Tanzanian diet is largely based on starches such as millet, sorghum, beans, pilaf, and cornmeal. A meal that could be considered the country's national dish is ugali, a stiff dough made of cassava flour, cornmeal (maize), millet, or sorghum, and usually served with a sauce containing either meat, fish, beans, or cooked vegetables. It is typically eaten out of a large bowl that is shared by everyone at the table. Wali (rice) and various samaki (fish) cooked in coconut are the preferred staples for those living in coastal communities.

The introduction of various spices by the Arabs is highly evident in a popular coastal dish, pilau. It consists of rice spiced with curry, cinnamon, cumin, hot peppers, and cloves. Matunda (fruits) and mboga (vegetables) such as plantains, similar to the banana, ndizi (bananas), pawpaw (papaya), biringani (eggplant), nyana (tomatoes), beans, muhogo (cassava), spinach and other greens, and maize (similar to corn) are frequently eaten, many of which are grown in backyard gardens. Ndizi Kaanga (fried bananas or plantains) is a local dish that is very popular with Tanzanians and tourists alike. In the cities, Indian food is abundant.

Chai (tea), the most widely consumed beverage, is typically consumed throughout the day, often while socializing and visiting with friends and family. Sweet fried breads called vitumbua (small rice cakes) are commonly eaten with chai in the mornings, or between meals as a snack. Chapatti (fried flat bread), also served with tea, is a popular snack among children. Street vendors commonly sell freshly ground black coffee in small porcelain cups, soft drinks, and fresh juices made of pineapple, oranges, or sugar cane. Adults enjoy a special banana beer called mbege made in the Kilimanjaro region (northeast Tanzania). Aside from the common serving of fresh fruits or pudding, desserts such as mandazi (deep-fried doughnut-like cakes) are sold by vendors.



  • 2 to 3 cups white cornmeal (cornmeal grits, farina, or cream of wheat may be substituted)
  • 2 cups water


  1. Heat water in a saucepan until boiling.
  2. Slowly pour in cornmeal, continuously stirring and mashing the lumps.
  3. Add more cornmeal until it is thicker than mashed potatoes (It may resemble Play Dough consistency.) Cook for 3 or 4 minutes and continue to stir.
  4. Serve immediately with any meat or vegetable stew, or any dish with a sauce or gravy.
  5. To eat the ugali, a small amount of dough is torn off, shaped into a ball with a dent in it, and then used to scoop up meat, vegetables, or sauce.

Chapatti (Fried Flat Bread)


  • 2 cups flour
  • Warm (almost hot) water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Cooking oil


  1. With very clean hands, mix the flour, salt, and chopped onion with enough hot water to make a smooth, elastic dough.
  2. Coat the ball of dough with oil and roll flat on a floured surface until about ½-inch thick.
  3. Cut the dough into ½-inch wide strips.
  4. Roll the strips of dough into spirals and let them rest on a floured surface.
  5. Roll each spiral into a round, flat pancake, about ¼-inch thick.
  6. Cook over a medium to high heat griddle or frying pan.
  7. Fry the first side without oil, just until the dough sets.
  8. Turn over and lift one side enough to pour 1 teaspoon of cooking oil underneath.
  9. Turn and press the chapatti gently into the oil, with the back of a spoon, so it absorbs the oil evenly and fries to a light golden color. Turn just once.
  10. The chapatti should be soft and supple when finished.

Makes about 8 chapatti.

Mango-Orange Drink


  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange peel, grated
  • 2 cups mango, mashed
  • 1 cup orange juice, fresh
  • ½ cup lemon juice, fresh


  1. Heat the water with the sugar and orange peel over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Cool down to room temperature.
  3. Add the mango flesh and the orange and lemon juices and mix well. Serve cold.

Makes about 2 quarts.

Ndizi Kaanga (Fried Bananas or Plantains)


  • 8 whole plantains or green bananas, peeled
  • Lemon juice
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  • Butter, melted
  • Nutmeg


  1. Melt butter in a frying pan.
  2. Cut and quarter the bananas or plantains.
  3. Dip the banana pieces in lemon juice and place them in the buttered frying pan.
  4. Lightly brown, remove, and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with nutmeg and brown sugar, if desired. (Ndizi is typically not sweetened in Tanzania.)

Serves 8 to 10.

Wali wa Nazi (Rice in Coconut Milk)


  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 can coconut milk plus water to make 4 cups of liquid
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Measure 4 cups of liquid (coconut milk and water) into a saucepan.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Heat the liquid until it boils.
  3. Stir in 2 cups rice. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 25 minutes).
  4. Serve hot alone or to accompany a main dish.

Serves 8 to 10.


The people of Tanzania follow a variety of religions. Roughly one-third of the population is Muslim (believers in Islam) and one-third is Christian. Nearly all of the island of Zanzibar and much of the mainland coastal regions consist of Muslims; most Christians live inland. Hinduism and indigenous beliefs make up the majority of the remaining one-third who believe in a specific religion.

The warm Christmas in Tanzania is a special time for Christians. The majority of people are invited to a guest's house for dinner Christmas night. Pilau (rice dish containing spices), chai, and a chicken, red meat, or seafood dish are usually served. A traditional walk along the beach following dinner may leave some very wetChristmas falls during East Africa's rainy season.

Ramadan is probably the holiest time of the year for Muslims. During this month-long observance, neither food nor drink may be consumed between sunrise and sunset, often a difficult responsibility in the country's warm temperatures. Eid al-Fitr, the feast that ends the month of fasting, is always eagerly anticipated by Muslims of all ages. In expectation of the feast, vendors sell cassava chips and tamarind juice made from the tamarind (a flat, bean-like, acidic fruit), and some rush to the stores to purchase plantains, fish, dates, and ready-made bags of ugali for the long-awaited meal. To make certain the feast can take place (and that Ramadan has ended), many gather around to listen to the radio, hoping to hear that the new moon has officially arrived in the night sky. When it is announced, children often dress up (similar to Halloween in the United States) and walk from house to house for cake and lemongrass tea.

Secular (nonreligious) holidays also produce a lot of excitement. On August 8 each year, Farmers and Peasants Day is celebrated. On this day, the country pays tribute and expresses appreciation to farmers and peasants for helping to feed the country and keep agriculture thriving. Zanzibar, one of the country's islands, has its own celebration every January 12, marking the anniversary of the island's independence from Britain.

A Typical Christmas Dinner Menu

Pilau (rice mixed with a variety of spices)

Chicken, grilled lamb, or seafood cooked in coconut

Beans or eggplant

Fresh fruit

Rice or potato pudding

Chai (tea)

On the special day of a Tanzanian wedding, gifts are often given to the bride-to-be by her family so that she is prepared to cook and care for her new husband. A kinu (wooden mortar for crushing grains and vegetables), a kibao cha (coconut grater), a kebao cha chapatti (round table for preparing chapatti ), and a upawa (wooden ladle) are examples of traditional gifts. On such a special occasion, mbuzi (roasted goat) is often prepared.

Supu Ya Ndizi (Plantain Soup)


  • 2 or 3 (1 pound) green plantains, peeled
  • 6 cups chicken broth (3 cans of chicken broth may be used)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Slice the peeled plantains and put them into a blender or food processor with 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  2. Blend them together until smooth and free of lumps.
  3. Pour the remaining 5 cups of chicken broth into a large saucepan. Stir in blended plantain mixture.
  4. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened (about 45 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 8 to 10.

Date Nut Bread


  • 1 cup dates, chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Boil the water in a saucepan and place the dates and baking soda in a bowl.
  3. Pour the boiling water over the dates and baking soda, stir, and let cool.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, and egg.
  5. Add the salt and flour gradually to the butter mixture.
  6. Add vanilla, nuts, and the date/baking soda mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Pour batter into a buttered loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and the top springs back when touched.

Serves 10 to 12.

Sweet Potato Pudding


  • 6 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon saffron, ground
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom, ground (optional)


  1. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Drop in the sweet potatoes and cook, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender (can be piered with a fork).
  3. Drain in a colander and return potatoes to the pan.
  4. Stir in the milk, cream, sugar, saffron, and cardamom.
  5. Heat slowly to boiling over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, stirring from time to time, and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are reduced to a puree and the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.
  7. With the back of a spoon, rub the pudding through a fine sieve into a serving bowl.
  8. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for 2 hours.
  9. Just before serving, sprinkle the top with additional cardamom, if desired.

Serves 6 to 8.


Guests are polite and respectful when visiting a Tanzanian home. Loose-fitted clothing is appropriate attire, since most meals are served to diners seated around a floor mat or low table. Prior to the meal, a bowl of water and a towel may be passed around to the diners to wash their hands. The bowl is passed to the next person with the right hand, as the left one is considered unclean. The right hand should also be used to dip into the ugali, which is commonly served in a communal bowl before the main meal.

Goat, chicken, or lamb is likely to be served, for those who can afford it. Most families eat meat only on special occasions, such as a wedding. A wali (rice) dish and a vegetableor maharage (beans), may also be served along with chai (tea). Greens are popular side dishes, and are often prepared with coconut and peanuts (Mchicha) or tomatoes and peanut butter (Makubi). Fresh fruit is the most common after-dinner treat, although sweets such as honey or potato cakes may also be offered. It is acceptable to leave food on a plate at the end of a meal, as this reassures the host that the guest is satisfied.

Eating customs vary throughout the country according to ethnic group and religious beliefs. However, the typical family meal is almost always prepared by the mother and daughters, usually on a wood or charcoal fire in an open courtyard, or in a special kitchen that is often separated from the rest of the house. The midday meal is usually the largest, consisting of ugali, spinach, kisamuru (cassava leaves), and stew, though kiamshakinywa (breakfast) is seldom forgotten. Spiced milk tea and freshly baked bread are popular in the morning. Men and women in Muslim households (about one-third of Tanzanians) often eat separately. Taboos may also prohibit men from entering the kitchen at all.

Only a little over half of all children in Tanzania attend primary school, according to UNICEF. As an added incentive to attend school, foreign countries (such as the United States) are helping to offer free lunches to students during the day. The Tanzania School Health Program aims to ensure child health, including the maintenance of clean water and periodic physical examinations. In addition, the program promotes the growth of school gardens to assist in nutritional education. A typical Tanzanian school lunch may be porridge made of millet, groundnuts (peanuts), and sugar, cooked outside in large kettles over an open fire, often accompanied by milk.

Mchicha (Spinach, Coconut, and Peanuts)

Tanzanians often prepare spinach as a side dish.


  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 packages (12 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • ½ cup coconut, grated
  • ½ cup peanuts, finely chopped


  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter and add the 2 packages of thawed spinach, grated coconut, and chopped peanuts.
  2. Toss lightly until the ingredients are combined, heated through, and all the liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Serve as a vegetable with any meat, poultry, or fish dish.

Serves 8.


This dish combines spinach with tomatoes and creamy peanut butter.


  • 2 packages frozen spinach, thawed (or 2 cups fresh)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter


  1. Combine the 2 packages (or 2 cups fresh) spinach and can of chopped tomatoes in a saucepan and heat until bubbly. Add salt to taste.
  2. Stir in peanut butter and continue cooking over low heat until heated through. Serve.

Serves 8.


About 40 percent of the population of Tanzania is classified as undernourished by the World Bank. This means they do not receive adequate nutrition in their diet. Of children under the age of five, about 31 percent are underweight, and nearly 43 percent are stunted (short for their age).

Tanzania is one of the world's poorest countries and undernourishment is prevalent, especially in children. The young life expectancy age of 42.3 years is mostly due to malnutrition, tropical diseases such as malaria, and very unsanitary conditions. Open sewers, uncovered garbage piles, and contaminated streams and lakes are sources of disease. Although living conditions in larger towns and cities are typically better than in rural areas, unsanitary conditions and malnourishment are widespread throughout both. Childhood deficiencies in Vitamin A (which can cause blindness) and iodine are the country's most serious malnourishments.



Asch, Lisa. Tanzania. Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company, 1997.

Camerapix Publishers International. Spectrum Guide to Tanzania. New York: Interlink Publishing Group, Inc., 1998.

Frey, Elke and Kavid Kyungu. Explore the World: Tanzania. München: Nelles Verlag, 1998.

Lauré, Jason and Ettagale Blauer. Tanzania. Canada: Children's Press, 1994.

Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba. Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications, 1999.

Webb, Lois Sinaiko. Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students. Phoenix, AZ: The Oryx Press, 1995.

Web Sites [Online] Available (accessed April 4, 2001).

Life in Africa. [Online] Available (accessed April 3, 2001).

Recipes of Africa. [Online] Available (accessed April 3, 2001). [Online] Available (accessed April 3, 2001).

The Swahili Coast Magazine. [Online] Available (accessed April 5, 2001).

Unicef. [Online] Available (accessed April 3, 2001). [Online] Available (accessed April 5, 2001).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



B asic D ata
Official Country Name: United Republic of Tanzania
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 36,232,074
Language(s): Kiswahili of Swahili (official), Kiunguju, English, Arabic, Zanzibar
Literacy rate: 67.8%
Area: 945,087 sq km
GDP: 9,027 (US$ millions)
Number of Television Stations: 3
Number of Television Sets: 103,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 2.8
Number of Radio Stations: 25
Number of Radio Receivers: 8,800,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 242.9
Number of Individuals with Computers: 100,000
Computers per 1,000: 2.8
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 115,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 3.2

Background & General Characteristics

Tanzania is one of few countries in sub-Saharan Africa where the press is predominantly presented in the official and national language of the country (which happens to be Kiswahilihereafter Swahili) where the readership is fully literate in that language. There are reasons for this that are exclusive to Tanzania, as the country has experienced historical events that have not occurred elsewhere. Swahili is a Bantu language with a very large amount of Arabic loan words, which entered the language due to the influence of traders from Yemen and Oman. An understanding of the forces that have brought about these unique circumstances in Tanzania would shed light not only on the country in question but on much of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, where the press remains very predominantly in the languages of colonial legacy English, French, or Portuguese.

Social and Historical Circumstances

Tanzania is a union of Tanganyika (the mainland) and Zanzibar (known as Unguja in Swahili), which was established in 1964. Each had earlier received its independence from Britain (Tanganyika in 1961, Zanzibar in 1963). The mainland is very typical of sub-Saharan African countries, composed of several major ethnic groups (Wasukuma, Wanyamwezi, Wahaya, and Wachaga) and many smaller ones such as the Wazaramo around Dar-Es-Salaam (DSM), the capital. The overall literacy rate is nearly 68 percent with only 57 percent of woman considered literate versus over 79 percent of men. The political capital is now Dodoma, but while the legislative assembly meets there, DSM remains the commercial and educational nerve center of the country as well as the main port of entry. Zanzibar, on the other hand remains far more homogeneous linguistically. The islands are made up of exclusively Swahili speaking communities whose ethnic identities are somewhat ambiguous with subtler distinctions. Swahili as a vehicular language has been present in Tanzania for many centuries. Its strongest presence has been along the coast and adjacent islands due to Arab immigration and traders who went very deep into the interior, as far as the Congo (formerly Zaire) and Malawi. On the mainland 45 percent are of Christian faith with 35 percent being Muslim and the remaining 20 percent having indigenous beliefs. However, on Zanzibar the population is very nearly 100 percent Muslim. The coastal as well as island Swahili communities who had been indoctrinated into Islam acted as interlocutors between the Arab traders and the African populations in the interior. Thus Arab incursion into the African interior from the Tanganyika coast was the first engine for the spread of Swahili.

Two events during the period from the late 1800s through the end of the First World War, the period of German colonial occupation of Tanganyika, constituted the second engine for the spread of Swahili. One was the Maji Maji Revolt and the other was the Germans' language policy for Tanganyika. The Maji Maji Revolt was the first African uprising against colonial rule, in this case German, in which Swahili as a language provided a unifying force. The German colonial policy was to adopt Swahili as a vehicular language for inter-ethnic communication, and communication between the African population and German colonial administrators.

The third engine was the union between the islands of Zanzibar and Tanganyika soon after their attainments of independence from Britain, to form what has been known since 1964 as Tanzania. Despite a common name the two have developed somewhat differently, and continue to have different political and economic cultures. In spite of almost perpetual political turmoil in Zanzibar, it has remained economically more affluent, and has guarded its economic well being rather jealously. Its primary and continuing impact on the union has been its promotion of the Swahili language. President Julius Nyerere was not unaware of the significance of this language to the success of the union.

The fourth and perhaps most significant event that cemented Swahili as a bona fide national language was the late President Nyerere's edict to establish the language as the official as well as the national language. Swahili replaced English as the language of instruction through the secondary school level with a strong Swahili language department at the University of Dar-Es-Salaam and an equally viable Institute of Kiswahili Research (Taasisi ya Uchunguzi wa Kiswahili, TUKI), now incorporated into the university system. This sudden linguistic change was facilitated by two factors. One was the centuries of slow but steady spread of Swahili throughout the country. Swahili was already a national vehicular language at independence. The other was President Nyerere's and his Party's (Tanzania African National Union, TANU) absolute commitment to an African cum Tanzanian cultural and economic renaissance distinct from the colonized precedent. An African language, Swahili in this case, was essential. President Nyerere's thrust was considered a failure economically but a success socially and linguistically.

The undercurrents of ethnicity were not eliminated but muted. There was no serious intention to eliminate English. It retains a strong presence at all levels of society. Society at large, including the government, would not want to eliminate the skill and benefit of a world language even if imposed by historical accident. This is true for all Anglophone African countries even as they attempt to undergo a renaissance of their own. A modern Tanzanian generally emerges as at least a trilingual in an ethnic language, Swahili, and English. Tanzania's literacy rate is fairly high for the region, and typical Tanzanian is very likely to be literate in both Swahili and English. There is therefore a large readership for both these languages. The number and language of the daily newspapers and periodicals confirm this linguistic dichotomy with a noticeable advantage to Swahili language publications.

The Press

The following titles, places of publication, and circulation numbers where given are taken from Europa Publications 2000, Africa South of the Sahara 2000, 30th Edition, 2001 and The Europa World Year Book 2001 Volume II. The title of the language will indicate whether the publication is in English or Swahili.

Daily Newspapers

  • The African (DSM)
  • Alasiri (The Afternoon) (DSM)
  • Daily News (DSM, Circulation 50,000)
  • The Democrat (DSM, Circulation 15,000)
  • The Guardian (DSM)
  • Kipanga (The Kite) (Zanzibar)
  • Majira (Time) (DSM, Circulation 15,000)
  • Nipashe (Inform me/Information) (DSM)
  • Uhuru (Freedom) (DSM, Circulation 100,000)
  • Mtanzania (The Tanzanian) (DSM)

Weekly Papers

  • Business Times (DSM, Circulation 15,000)
  • The Express (DSM, Circulation 20,000)
  • Government Gazette (Zanzibar, for official announcements)
  • Kasheshe (Showdown) (DSM)
  • Mfanyakazi (The Worker) (DSM, Circulation 100,000)
  • The Family Mirror (DSM)
  • Mzalendo (The Patriot) (DSM, Circulation 115,000)
  • Leta Raha (Bring Comfort) (DSM)
  • Nipashe Jumapili (Sunday Information) (DSM)
  • Sunday News (DSM, Circulation 50,000)
  • Sunday Observer (DSM)
  • Taifa Letu (Our nation) (DSM)
  • Kweupe (Open Space) (Zanzibar, Published by the Information and Broadcasting Services)

Other Periodicals

  • The African Review (DSM, Twice yearly, Circulation 1,000. A journal of African politics, development and international affairs published by the Political Science department at UDSM)
  • Eastern African Law Review (DSM, Twice yearly, Circulation 1,000) Taamuli (Thought) (DSM, Twice yearly, Circulation 1,000. A journal of the Political Science published by the Political Science department at UDSM)
  • Elimu Haina Mwisho (Education has no End/ Perpetual Education) (Mwanza, Monthly, Circulation 45,000)
  • Habari za Washirika (Union News) (DSM, Monthly, Published by the Co-Operative Union of Tanzania, Circulation 40,000)
  • Jenga (Build) (DSM, Journal of the National Development Corporation, Circulation 2,000)
  • Kiongozi (The Leader) (DSM, Fortnightly, Published by the Roman Catholic Church, Circulation 33,500)
  • Mlezi (The Guardian) (Peramiho, Every two months, Circulation 8,000)
  • Mwenge (The Torch) (Peramiho, Monthly, Circulation 10,000)
  • Nchi Yetu (Our Country) (DSM, Monthly, Circulation 50,000)
  • Nuru (The Light) (Zanzibar, Twice monthly, Official publication of the Zanzibari government, Circulation 8,000)
  • Safina (The Ship) (DSM, Circulation 10,000)
  • Sauti ya Jimbo (Voice of the Province) (Dodoma, Quarterly, Published by the Anglican Diocesan)
  • Sikiliza (Listen) (Morogoro, Quarterly, Published by the Seventh day Adventist Church, Circulation 100,000)
  • Tantravel (DSM, Quarterly)
  • Tanzania Trade Currents (DSM, Twice monthly, Circulation 2,000)
  • Uhuru na Amani (Freedom and Peace) (Arusha, Quarterly, Published by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Circulation 15,000)
  • Ukulima wa Kisasa (Modern farming) (DSM, Twice monthly, Published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Circulation 15,000)

Press Laws

Article 18 of the Constitution guarantees every Tanzanian the right to freedom of opinion and expression. However, the Newspaper Act of 1976 allows authorities within the governmentincluding the presidentthe power to prohibit publications that might be deemed to not be in the nation's best interest. Additionally, the 1993 Broadcasting Services Act provides that private broadcasters are only allowed to send their signals to 25 percent of the country.


Freedom House has declared that the media in Tanzania is only partly free. Despite the guarantee of free speech in the constitution, there are examples of the government repressing information. Self-censorship is often practiced as a result of the state's intimidation of reporters.

East African papers, including Tanzanian ones, have been reasonably aggressive in their reporting. Exposure of individuals in government is very measured. Generally papers feel safer complaining about inefficiency than misconduct. They feel quite free to complain about bureaucratic inadequacy, and social conditions. They go so far as to discuss democracy in principle. They are more careful in questioning election outcomes. They might express a preference for one government minister over another. They are more concerned about the frequency of these complaints than they are an occasional exposure of a scandal. The government itself is careful in the manner it interferes with the freedom of the press. They attempt to appear to be within legal boundaries. Neither Europa Publications 2000 nor Europa World Year Book 2001 mention Mtanzania (The Tanzanian). It has been one of the more aggressive Swahili papers. From the government's point of view it crossed a so-called understood line. They shut the paper down in the summer of 2001 on the grounds that the publisher was not a Tanzanian national. Such things happen with sufficient frequency to remind those still in print to be wary and sensitive.

State-Press Relations

Despite censorship issues, many papers still attempt to expose and criticize political events and personalities internal to Zanzibar. This is due to the unresolved friction between the mainland, old Tanganyika, and the Zanzibari islands. It is also due to the fact that most papers of any significance are published in DSM. During President Nyerere's tenure, religion was off limits. The country was seemingly secular. Changes in the leadership and increasing participation at the highest levels of government by individuals from Zanzibar have resulted in an increased presence of Swahili Muslims on the mainland as well as an increase in numbers of Muslims native to the mainland. The government and indeed society as a whole remains outwardly secular. The friction between the Christian population and the Muslim communities lies in the deeper structures of Tanzanian dynamics. Neither Tanzanian scholars nor Western academics have yet begun to explore this issue. They must wait to take their cue from internal events. However, in the early twenty-first century, papers have begun to touch the subject. References to the foreign origins of many Muslim clerics have not yet evoked a reaction. Public attempts at conversion to Islam occasionally appear in the papers with a critical bent. Ethnicity is yet another subject papers avoid where possible. President Nyerere's legacy of a unified and uniform nation remains strongly entrenched in the country.

A significant factor pertinent to the press in Tanzania is its readership. The expatriate communities and the educated and westernized elite of the society, and the "Asian" community mostly read English language newspapers and periodicals. "Asian" in the East African context refers only to those whose heritage emanates from the Indian sub-continent ("Goans" are the exception.). The subjects covered by the English and Swahili language papers also differ to a great extent. The former simply report the major events within Tanzania then cover as extensively as space allows international news. The latter report major international events then allocate the largest portion of their papers to local news. English language papers reporting local events and Swahili language papers reporting international events are rarely subjected to any censorship.

Attitude toward Foreign Media

There is no expressed attitude toward the foreign media. English language papers from Britain and the United States are regularly available in every major town. There is a large Asian constituency in Tanzania. This segment of the population remains strongly bilingual in English and Swahili in addition to their fluency in their various ethnic Indian-Pakistani languages such as Gujarati or Urdu. Their reading preferences remain the local English language papers and the British and American papers and journals.

Tanzania is a rather large and dynamic country economically as well as politically. It is heavily involved in Eastern, Central, and Southern African affairs. It is an active participant in world affairs. As a result it has a large internationally mobile segment of its population as well as a large presence of expatriates from all parts of the world. In order to sustain its international stature, Tanzania would not interfere with the free flow of foreign media. In any event Internet access would overwhelm any attempt at censorship. There is a "cyber café" on every street in DSM.

The International Impact of Tanzania's Swahili Press

Swahili is as extensively used in Kenya as it is Tanzania. Indeed the "Swahili Coast" is in Kenya between the Lamu Archipelago in the north and Mombasa in the south. A corridor of urban centers from Mombasa to Kisumu a major city on the shores of Lake Victoria has facilitated the unplanned expansion of Swahili in Kenya. But for reasons irrelevant to a discussion of the Tanzanian press, Kenya has not developed a substantive Swahili language press. There is one daily paper, Taifa Leo (The Nation Today), published by the English language publisher of The Daily Nation. It is difficult to find copies of this paper because not enough are printed for fear that they would not sell and because there is a much hungrier population for a Swahili paper than the publishers seem to recognize. As a result, Tanzanian Swahili language dailies are on every street corner newspaper vendor. It is easier to find Nipashe, Mtanzania (when it is allowed to appear), and Majira on Nairobi street corners than Nairobi's own Taifa Leo. They are bought out very quickly even when they are a day or two old by the time they arrive. It is said, mere rumor of course, that until about two decades ago Kenya purposely retarded the expansion and instruction of Swahili in order to prevent President Nyerere's Tanzanian experiment with his socialist ideology (Ujamaa in Swahili) from taking root in "capitalist" Kenya. As naïve and incredible as this rumor sounds, many in the streets of Nairobi entertained it at the time. It is at least a testament to the potential and real force of the Tanzanian Swahili language press.

Broadcast Media

Tanzaniawith 20 private radio stationshas a comparatively well-developed television and radio programming system. However, the only radio transmission which is allowed countrywide is the state-controlled Radio Tanzania and Televisheni ya Taifa. As mentioned previously, only 25 percent of the country receives broadcasts from private stations. Swahili is again strongly promoted but not at the expense of English. The promotion or prominence of Swahili is usually at the expense of Tanzania's other indigenous ethnic languages. Swahili is not squeezed in between English language programs. There are Swahili language radio stations alongside English language ones. There is a reasonably wide distribution of television sets and almost everyone has a radio. CNN and BBC World News are commonly available on television and eagerly watched. These are the primary sources of international news for the vast majority of Tanzanians.

Electronic News Media

With only 25,000 Internet users throughout the country (as of a 2000 estimate according to CIA Factbook) and six providers, access to online resources in Tanzania is clearly in its infancy. However, advances to the infrastructure are being made which enable users to make connectivity less problematic.

Education & Training

Although a large percentage of working journalists are either not trained or are only partially trained, the Tanzania School of Journalism offers courses at two universities on the mainland. In 2003, a new journalism school is set to be opened in Zanzibar.


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Tanzania." World Factbook. Available at

Europa Publications 2000. Africa South of the Sahara 2001. London: Taylor and Francis Group, 2001.

Europa Publications 2001. The Europa World Year Book 2001. Volume II. London: Taylor and Francis Group, 2001.

Freedom House. "Tanzania." Available at http://

International Journalists' Network. "Tanzania: Press Overview." Available at

McGarry, Richard G. A Cross-Linguistic Discourse Analysis for Evaluating Interethnic Conflict in the Press.Boone, NC: Parkway Publishers, 1994.

Moyd, Michelle A. Language and Power: Africans, Europeans, and Language Policy in German Colonial Tanganyika. University of Florida Masters Thesis, 1996.

UNESCO. African Community Languages and their Use in Literacy and Education. Dakar: UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa, 1985.

Haig Der-Houssikian

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." World Press Encyclopedia. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." World Press Encyclopedia. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." World Press Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


Tanzania (tăn´zənē´ə, –zăn´ēə, Swahili tänzänē´ä), officially United Republic of Tanzania, republic (2005 est. pop. 36,766,000), 364,898 sq mi (945,087 sq km), E Africa, formed in 1964 by the union of the republics of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. For a description of the island of Zanzibar, and its history until 1964, see Zanzibar. Other islands include Pemba and Mafia as well as several smaller islands. Mainland Tanzania is bordered on the south by Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia; on the west by Congo (Kinshasa), Burundi, and Rwanda; on the north by Uganda and Kenya; and on the east by the Indian Ocean. Lake Nyasa forms part of the southern boundary, Lake Tanganyika part of the western boundary, and Lake Victoria part of the northern boundary. Dar-es-Salaam is the former capital and largest city of the republic. The Tanzanian legislature moved to the new capital of Dodoma in 1996, but many government offices still remain in Dar-es-Salaam.

Land and People

Mainland Tanzania falls into three major geographical zones—a narrow lowland coastal strip along the Indian Ocean; a vast interior plateau; and a number of scattered mountainous regions. The coastal zone (10–40 mi/16–60 km wide) receives considerable rainfall and has much fertile soil. The plateau (average elevation: 3,500–4,500 ft/1,070–1,370 m) extends over most of the interior and is cut in two places by branches of the Great Rift Valley. The western branch contains Lake Tanganyika and the eastern branch runs through central Tanzania about 500 ft (150 m) below the level of the plateau; the two branches merge just north of Lake Nyasa. The plateau receives little rainfall, but in most parts there is enough to support agriculture.

The Serengeti National Park, one of the country's several wildlife reserves, is east of Lake Victoria, and Lake Rukwa is in the southwest. The mountainous regions include Mt. Meru (14,979 ft/4,566 m) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft/5,895 m, the highest point in Africa) in the northeast; the Usambara, Nguru, and Uluguru mts. in the east; the Livingstone Mts. and the Kipengere Range near Lake Nyasa in the south; and the Ufipi Highlands in the southwest. Tanzania's few rivers include the Pangani, the Rufiji, and the Ruvuma (which forms part of the border with Mozambique), all of which flow into the Indian Ocean, and the Malagarasi River, which flows into Lake Tanganyika. In addition to Dar-es-Salaam and Dodoma, other important towns on the mainland include Arusha, Iringa, Kigoma, Morogoro, Mbeya, Moshi, Mtwara, Mwanza, Tabora, and Tanga.

The great majority of Tanzania's population is of African descent, and most of the peope speak Bantu languages. There are approximately 130 ethnic groups. Inhabitants of South Asian, European, and Arab descent constitute approximately 1% of the population. The Bantu-speaking peoples include the Sukuma (the republic's largest ethnic group), Bena, Chagga, Gogo, Ha, Haya, Hehe, Luguru, Makonde, Makua, Ngoni, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Nyaturu. In addition, the Masai speak a Nilotic language; the Sandawe speak a language akin to Khoikhoi; and the Iraqw speak a Cushitic language. The inhabitants of Zanzibar are mainly of Arab, African, or mixed Arab and African descent. Swahili and English are the republic's official languages; Arabic is also spoken, primarily on Zanzibar. About 30% of the mainland population is Christian, while 35% is Muslim, and another 35% follow traditional religious beliefs. The population of Zanzibar is almost completely Sunni Muslim.


The economy of Tanzania is overwhelmingly agricultural; plantations grow cash crops, including coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum, cashews, tobacco, sugarcane, and cloves (cultivated in Zanzibar and Pemba). Most of the population, however, is engaged in subsistence farming, growing corn, wheat, cassava, bananas, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, large numbers of cattle, sheep, and goats are raised. Timber is important and includes mahogany, teak, ebony, camphor wood, and mangrove. Manufactures include processed agricultural goods, beverages, wood products, and basic consumer items. Refined petroleum, fertilizer, aluminum goods, and construction materials are also produced. Diamonds, tanzanite, and other gemstones are mined; other minerals extracted in significant quantities include gold, salt, gypsum, phosphates, and kaolin. There are also tin mines in NW Tanzania and coal and iron ore deposits near Lake Nyasa. Natural gas from deposits around Songo Songo Island, off the S central coast, are used to produce electricity.

Tanzania has limited road and rail networks. The main rail lines run from Dar-es-Salaam to Kigoma (on Lake Tanganyika) and to Tanga, Moshi, and Arusha in the NE. The Tazara Railway (also known as the Great Uhuru or Tanzam Railway), built in the 1970s by the Chinese, connects Dar-es-Salaam with central Zambia, affording landlocked Zambia an alternative route to the sea. The principal exports are gold, coffee, cashews, diamonds and other gemstones, manufactures, and cotton. The principal imports are consumer goods, machinery, transportation equipment, industrial raw materials, crude oil, and foodstuffs. The leading trade partners are China, India, South Africa, and Canada.


Tanzania is governed under the constitution of 1977 as amended. The president, who is head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. Political parties besides the ruling Party of the Revolution (CCM) were permitted starting in 1993, and the first multiparty elections were held in 1995. The unicameral legislature consists of the 357-seat National Assembly or Bunge; 239 members are popularly elected, 102 are women who are indirectly elected on a proportional basis, 10 appointed by the president, 5 are members of the Zanzibar's legislature (Zanzibar has its own president and House of Representatives, for dealing with matters internal to Zanzibar), and 1 is the attorney general. All legislators serve five-year terms. Administratively, Tanzania is divided into 26 regions.


Early History

In 1959, Dr. L. S. B. Leakey, a British anthropologist, discovered at Olduvai Gorge in NE Tanzania the fossilized remains of what he called Homo habilis, who lived about 1.75 million years ago. Tanzania was later the site of Paleolithic cultures. By the beginning of the first millennium AD scattered parts of the country, including the coast, were thinly populated. At this time overseas trade seems to have been carried out between the coast and NE Africa, SW Asia, and India.

By about AD 900 traders from SW Asia and India had settled on the coast, exchanging cloth, beads, and metal goods for ivory. They also exported small numbers of Africans as slaves. By this time there were also commercial contacts with China, directly and via Sri Vijaya (see under Indonesia) and India. By about 1200, Kilwa Kisiwani (situated on an island) was a major trade center, handling gold exported from Sofala (on the coast of modern Mozambique) as well as goods (including ivory, beeswax, and animal skins) from the near interior of Tanzania. By about 1000 the migration of Bantu-speakers into the interior of Tanzania from the west and the south was well under way, and the population there had been greatly increased. The Bantu were organized in relatively small political units.

Foreign Contacts

In 1498, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer, became the first European to visit the Tanzanian coast; in 1502, on his second visit there, he made Kilwa tributary. In 1505, Kilwa was sacked by Francisco d'Almeida, another Portuguese explorer, and by 1506 Portugal controlled most of the coast of E Africa. The Portuguese did not cooperate with the local people, and their impact was mostly negative—trade was disrupted, towns declined, and people migrated from the region. However, Kilwa's trade seems to have grown as a result of contact with the Portuguese. Toward the end of the 16th cent., the Zimba, a group from SE Africa, moved rapidly up the coast, causing considerable damage; in 1587 they sacked Kilwa and killed about 3,000 persons (roughly 40% of its inhabitants).

In 1698 the Portuguese were expelled from the E African coast (except for a brief return in 1725) with the help of Arabs from Oman. In the early 18th cent., the Omanis showed some interest in the commerce of E Africa, and this increased after the Bu Said dynasty replaced the Yarubi rulers in 1741. Oman's commercial activity was centered on Zanzibar (and, to a lesser extent, at Mombasa), from which it controlled the overseas trade of E Africa. By the early 19th cent. numerous towns on the Tanzanian coast had been founded or revived; these included Tanga, Pangani, Bagamoyo, Kilwa Kivinje (situated on the mainland near Kilwa Kisiwani), Lindi, and Mikandani.

The Caravan Trade

Sayyid Said, the great Bu Saidi ruler, took a great interest in E Africa and in 1841 permanently moved his capital from Muscat, in Oman, to Zanzibar. He brought with him many Arabs, who settled in the mainland towns as well as on Zanzibar. About the same time, new caravan routes into the far interior were opened up; the three main lines went from Kilwa and Lindi to the Lake Nyasa region; from Bagamoyo and Mbwamaji (near present-day Dar-es-Salaam) to Tabora, where one branch continued west to Ujiji (and on into modern Congo) and another went north to the Victoria Nyanza region; and from Pangani and Tanga northwest into modern Kenya via Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The caravans following the southern route obtained mainly slaves and ivory; along the more northerly routes ivory was the chief commodity purchased. As a result, the Swahili language (a blend of Bantu grammar and a considerable Arabic vocabulary) and culture gained new adherents. In the middle third of the 19th cent. several European missionaries and explorers visited various parts of Tanzania, notably Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tabora, Lake Victoria, and Lake Nyasa. From the 1860s to the early 1880s Mirambo, a Nyamwezi, headed a large state that controlled much of the caravan trade of central and N Tanzania. About the same time Tippu Tib, a Zanzibari, organized large caravans that passed through Tanzania to present-day Zambia and Congo, where ivory and slaves were obtained.


As the scramble for African territory among the European powers intensified in the 1880s, Carl Peters and other members of the Society for German Colonization signed treaties with Africans (1884–85) in the hinterland of the Tanzanian coast. By an agreement with Great Britain in 1886, Germany established a vague sphere of influence over mainland Tanzania, except for a narrow strip of land along the coast that remained under the suzerainty of the sultan of Zanzibar, who leased it to the Germans. The German East Africa Company (founded 1887) governed the territory, called German East Africa. The company's aggressive conduct resulted in a major resistance movement along the coast by Arabs, Swahili (whose main leaders were Abushiri and Bwana Heri), and other Africans that was only defeated with the help of the German government. A second Anglo-German agreement (1890) added Rwanda, Burundi, and other regions to German East Africa.

Because the company had proved to be an ineffective ruler, the German government in 1891 took over the country (which by then included the coast) and declared it a protectorate. However, it was not until 1898, with the death of the Hehe ruler, Mkwawa, who strongly opposed European rule, that the Germans succeeded in controlling the country. During the period 1905 to 1907 the Maji Maji revolt against German rule engulfed most of SE Tanzania; about 75,000 Africans lost their lives as a result of German military campaigns and lack of food. Under the Germans, several new crops (including sisal, cotton, and plantation-grown rubber) were introduced; the production and sale of other commodities (notably coffee, copra, sesame, and peanuts) was encouraged, and railroads were built to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika and to Moshi. In addition, many new Christian missions, which included rudimentary schools for the Africans, were established.

During World War I, British and Belgian troops occupied (1916) most of German East Africa. In the postwar period the League of Nations made Tanganyika a British mandate, and Ruanda-Urundi (later Rwanda and Burundi), a Belgian mandate; the Portuguese gained control of some land in the southeast. The British, especially during the administration (1925–31) of Gov. Sir Donald Cameron, attempted to rule "indirectly" through existing African leaders. However, unlike N Nigeria, where the policy of indirect rule was first developed (see Frederick Lugard), Tanganyika had few indigenous large-scale political units. Therefore, African leaders had to be established in newly defined constituencies. The effect of British policy, as a result, was to alter considerably the patterns of African life in Tanganyika. After a slow start, the British developed the territory's economy largely along the lines established by the Germans. Increasing numbers of Africans worked for a wage on plantations, especially after 1945, when economic growth began to accelerate. Also after 1945 Africans gradually gained more seats on the territory's legislative council (which had been established in 1926).

Independence and Nyerere

In 1954, Julius Nyerere and Oscar Kambona transformed the Tanganyika African Association (founded in 1929) into the more politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU easily won the general elections of 1958–60, and when Tanganyika became independent on Dec. 9, 1961, Nyerere became its first prime minister. In Dec., 1962, Tanganyika became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, and Nyerere was made president. On Apr. 26, 1964, shortly after a leftist revolution in newly independent Zanzibar, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged; Nyerere became the new country's first president. Abeid Amani Karume, the head of Zanzibar's government and leader of its dominant Afro-Shirazi party (ASP), became Tanzania's first vice president. Although formally united with the mainland, Zanzibar retained considerable independence in internal affairs.

In Feb., 1967, Nyerere issued the Arusha Declaration, a major policy statement that called for egalitarianism, socialism, and self-reliance. It promised a decentralized government and a program of rural development called ujamaa ( "pulling together" ) that involved the creation of cooperative farm villages. Factories and plantations were nationalized, and major investments were made in primary schools and health care. While Nyerere put some of the declaration's principles into practice, it was not clear if power in Tanzania was, in fact, being decentralized.

TANU was the mainland's sole legal political party and it was tightly controlled by Nyerere. In the early 1970s there was tension (and occasional border clashes) between Tanzania and Uganda, caused mainly by Nyerere's continued support of Uganda's ousted president, A. Milton Obote. However, in 1973, Nyerere and Gen. Idi Amin, Uganda's new head of state, signed an agreement to end hostilities. Tanzania supported various movements against white-minority rule in S Africa, and several of these organizations had offices in Dar-es-Salaam. In 1977, TANU and Zanzibar's ASP merged to form the Party of the Revolution (CCM). A new constitution was adopted the same year.

Hostilities with Uganda resumed in 1978 when Ugandan military forces occupied about 700 sq mi (1800 sq km) of N Tanzania and left only after having caused substantial damage. One month later, Tanzanian forces and Ugandan rebels staged a counterinvasion. Tanzania captured the Ugandan capital of Kampala in 1979 and drove Idi Amin from power. This campaign further depleted the country's already scarce economic resources. Tanzania maintained troops in Uganda after its victory and drew criticism from other African nations for its actions. In 1983, negotiations between Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda led to the reopening of the Kenyan border, which had been closed since 1977 after the collapse of the East African Community.

Tanzania after Nyerere

By the 1980s, it was clear that the economic policies set out by the Arusha Declaration had failed. The economy continued to deteriorate with cycles of alternating floods and droughts, which reduced agricultural production and exports. After Nyerere resigned as promised in 1985, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, president of Zanzibar, became head of the one-party government. He began an economic recovery program involving cuts in government spending, decontrol of prices, and encouragement of foreign investment; modest growth resumed. In 1992 the constitution was amended to allow opposition parties.

The 1995 multiparty elections, which were regarded by international observers as seriously flawed, were won by Benjamin William Mkapa, candidate of the ruling CCM. In the 1990s Tanzania was overwhelmed by refugees from the war in neighboring Burundi; by the end of the decade some 300,000 were in Tanzania, and the number subsequently grew. Tanzania began repatriating the refugees in 2002, and closed the last camp in 2009. More than 200,000 Burundian refugees who fled to Tanzania in 1972 also remained prior to 2009; many of these accepted an offer of Tanzania citizenship.

Mkapa, who continued to pursue economic reforms, was reelected in 2000, but there were blatant irregularities in the vote in Zanzibar, where the opposition party, which favors greater independence for the island, had been expected to do well. In 2005 the CCM candidate for president, Jakaya Kikwete won the election with 80% of the vote, and the CCM won more than 90% of the seats in parliament, but the voting in Zanzibar was again marred by violence and irregularities. A corruption investigation implicated the prime minister, Edward Lowassa, and two other cabinet members in 2008, leading them to resign in February; Kikwete subsequently re-formed the cabinet. The president was reelected in 2010 with more than 60% of the vote, while on Zanzibar the election was largely peaceful and the CCM candidate narrowly won the island's presidency. The CCM also won three quarters of the seats in parliament.


See R. A. Austen, Northwest Tanzania under German and British Rule (1968); I. N. Kinambo and A. J. Temu, ed., A History of Tanzania (1969); J. C. Hatch, Tanzania (1972); C. R. Ingle, From Village to State in Tanzania (1972); I. N. Resnick, The Long Transition: Building Socialism in Tanzania (1981); J. Iliffe, A Modern History of Tanganyika (1981); M. Hood, ed., Tanzania and Nyerere (1988); D. Berg-Schlosser and R. Siegler, Political Stability and Development: A Comparative Analysis of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda (1990); J. Bresen et al., ed., Tanzania (1990).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Official name: United Republic of Tanzania

Area: 945,087 square kilometers (364,900 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters/19,341 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Southern and Eastern

Time zone: 3 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 1,223 kilometers (760 miles) from north to south; 1,191 kilometers (740 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: 3,402 kilometers (2,114 miles) total boundary length; Uganda 396 kilometers (246 miles); Kenya 769 kilometers (478 miles); Mozambique 756 kilometers (470 miles); Malawi 475 kilometers (295 miles); Zambia 338 kilometers (210 miles); Burundi 451 kilometers (280 miles); Rwanda 217 kilometers (135 miles)

Coastline: 1,424 kilometers (885 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)


Tanzania is located on the eastern coast of Africa, bordering on the Indian Ocean. The country shares land boundaries with Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia. With a total area of about 945,087 square kilometers (364,900 square miles), the country is slightly larger than twice the size of the state of California. Tanzania is administratively divided into twenty-five regions.


Tanzania has no outside territories or dependencies.


Tanzania lies just south of the equator; therefore, its climate is mostly tropical, becoming temperate in the highlands. The coastal area is tropical and humid with average temperatures of about 27°C (81°F). Further inland, the central plateau is hot and dry with temperatures that vary by season and time of day. In the more temperate highlands, the days are warm, but the nights are cool.

The rainy seasons in the north occur from November through December and from March through May. The south has only one season of rain, from November to March. On the coast, annual rainfall averages 100 to 193 centimeters (40 to 76 inches), but the central plateau receives only 50 to 76 centimeters (20 to 30 inches). The eastern section of Lake Victoria receives 75 to 100 centimeters (30 to 40 inches) and the western side receives 200 to 230 centimeters (80 to 90 inches).

The islands receive heavy rains in April and May with lighter rains in November and December. Drier weather occurs during the alternating monsoon seasons, which arrive from the northeast from December to March and from the southwest from June to October.


Tanzania lies between one and twelve degrees south of the equator. Most of the country consists of extensive rolling plains demarcated by the Great Rift Valley, a series of immense faults creating both depressions and mountains. Much of the country is above 900 meters (3,000 feet). A small portion, however, including the islands and the coastal plains, lies below about 200 meters (600 feet). The landscape is extremely varied, changing from coastal mangrove swamps to tropical rain forests and from rolling savannahs and high arid plateaus to mountain ranges.

Four major ecological regions can be distinguished: high plateaus, mountain lands, the lakeshore region, and the coastal belt and islands. The mountain ranges and the area around Lake Victoria (Victoria Nyanza) receive generous amounts of rain, but the vast plateau areas in the center of the country are so dry that they cannot support significant cultivation activity. About 5 percent of the land is arable, 1 percent of which is dedicated to permanent crops, 40 percent is utilized as meadows and pastures, and 47 percent is covered in forest and woodland.


Seacoast and Undersea Features

Tanzania faces the Indian Ocean on its eastern border. The continental shelf off the coast is relatively narrow; in most places it is only 8 to 10 kilometers (5 to 6 miles) wide, but it extends about 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the shore of the islands of Zanzibar and Mafia. Of the many fringing reef systems offshore, those farther out are better developed and more diversified. The most fully developed are the reefs off the Tanga coast and those near the offshore islands.

Islands and Archipelagos

The islands of Tanzania are basically composed of coral. Zanzibar, separated from the mainland by a channel that is 35 kilometers (22 miles) wide at its narrowest point, is the largest coralline island on the African coast. It is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) long and 40 kilometers (25 miles) wide, with a total area of 1,657 square kilometers (640 square miles).

Pemba, north of Zanzibar, is smaller. It is 67 kilometers (42 miles) long and 22 kilometers (14 miles) wide, with a total area of 984 square kilometers (380 square miles). Its topography varies, with small steep hills and valleys. Mafia, at 43 kilometers (27 miles) long and about 14 kilometers (9 miles) wide, is a low island situated about halfway down the coast of Tanzania near the mouth of the Rufiji River.

Coastal Features

The coastal belt is narrow in the north and south, with an average width between 16 and 60 kilometers (10 and 40 miles). It is broader in the center near the lowlands of the Rufiji River valley, where it almost reaches the Uluguru Mountains.

The 800-kilometer- (500-mile-) long coast is difficult to approach because of numerous coral reefs and shifting sandbars at the mouths of its rivers. The land slopes sufficiently toward the coast to cause rapids on most of these rivers, preventing navigation.

Much of Tanzania's coastline consists of palm-fringed sandy beaches. The best beaches are located on the islands of Zanzibar and Mafia, but a particularly good stretch of shoreline on the mainland is a 32-kilometer-(20-mile-) strip beginning at Dar es Salaam and continuing south.


Tanzania's lakes provide the country's residents with transportation, food, and abundant water supplies for irrigation use. With a surface area of 62,940 square kilometers (24,300 square miles), Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake on the globe. It is located in the north of Tanzania and is also shared by Uganda and Kenya. About half of the lake is situated within Tanzania. Lake Victoria is a major source for the Nile River.

Along the western border of Tanzania, Lake Tanganyika, the world's second-deepest lake, has a precipitous shoreline and a few poor harbors. Found in the south, Lake Malawi also has poor harbors. To the east of Lake Tanganyika, Lake Rukwa is small and shallow and tends to be brackish (containing both salt water and fresh water). Several small lakes in the northern part of the country also have salty water. Lake Natron is commercially exploited for salt and soda. Other lakes in the Eastern Great Rift Valley include Lake Eyasi and Lake Manyara.

Tanzania's lakes and swamps cover nearly 6 percent of the total land surface, not counting seasonally inundated flood plains and riverine marshes. The Sagara Swamp, which forms most of western Tanzania, is a huge flood-plain with an area of 16,614 square kilometers (6,415 square miles). It includes the Moyowosi Game Reserve and is home to many species of wildlife.


Ruvuma River, the longest river in Tanzania, forms most of the nation's southern border with Mozambique. The Ruvuma originates just east of Lake Malawi, in the hills near Songea, and runs west before arching around to head almost due east to the Indian Ocean, where it ends after traveling 704 kilometers (437 miles). Other streams around Lake Malawi empty into the lake and reach the Indian Ocean via the Zambezi River in Mozambique. A number of short rivers (except for the longer Kagera River in northwestern Tanzania) drain into Lake Victoria and ultimately join the Nile River, which empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Several rivers in western Tanzania, such as the Malagarasi, drain into Lake Tanganyika and ultimately join the Congo River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Streams in the north-central and southwestern sections empty into smaller lakes and interior basins, with the notable exception of the Great Ruaha, which originates in the Mbeya Mountains and flows northeast to the center of the country before turning southwest and eventually feeding into the Rufiji.

In the eastern third of Tanzania, the Pangani, Wami, and Rufiji Rivers all flow into the Indian Ocean.


There are no desert regions in Tanzania.


About a third of the country is covered with wooded grassland savannah. Two-thirds of Zanzibar Island is covered with bush and grass.

In the southeast coastal area, outcrops of isolated hill masses rise sharply from the surrounding land. On the western side of Zanzibar, several ridges exceed 60 meters (200 feet). At 119 meters (390 feet), Masingini Ridge is the highest point on Zanzibar. Pemba Island is hilly, with its highest point at 95 meters (311 feet).


Tanzania contains both the highest and lowest points on the African continent: Mount Kilimanjaro and the floor of Lake Tanganyika.


One of three major mountainous zones extends inland from Tanga to near Lake Manyara. It includes the Usambara and Pare ranges, which together form a wedge-shaped mass reaching a height of almost 2,300 meters (7,550 feet), and the Northern Highlands, which contain Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, rises in two peaks to an ultimate height of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet). The so-called glaciers on top of Kibo, the higher peak, are the rapidly decaying remains of a former, more extensive ice cap. The lower of the two peaks is Mawenzi. Both of Kilimanjaro's peaks are extinct volcanoes. Rainforest conditions prevail on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro between 1,700 and 2,900 meters (5,600 and 9,500 feet). Another extinct volcano, Mount Meru, is located west of Kilimanjaro and rises to about 4,560 meters (14,960 feet).

The second mountainous zone of the country stretches from the western shore of Lake Natron southward in a series of isolated summits and mountain chains. They are interspersed with lakes and craters and connected with the northern part of the Eastern Great Rift Valley. Between Lake Natron and Lake Manyara are the Winter Highlands, a volcanic region containing Mount Loolmalassin and the Ngorongoro Crater, which is roughly 100 to 110 kilometers (60 to 70 miles) wide and contains one of the heaviest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. The shores of Lake Manyara and the nearby Serengeti Plain also teem with wildlife.

The third major mountainous region stretches from the Nguru Mountains and the Uluguru Mountains to the Kipengere range, which descends sharply toward the eastern shore of Lake Malawi. Around the northern shore of Lake Malawi, the Mbeya range, which includes Rungwe Mountain at 2,961 meters (9,713 feet), completes the mountains of the south.


Olduvai Gorge, located west of the Ngorongoro Crater, is about 48 kilometers (30 miles) long and 90 meters (300 feet) deep. The gorge became famous after the archaeological excavations of Louis and Mary Leakey. In 1959, the Leakeys discovered the fossilized remains of a nearly complete hominid skull, now known as Zinjanthropus, or "Nutcracker Man." The skull is believed to be about 1.75 million years old. In 1961, the Leakeys unearthed the remains of Homo habilis, believed to be a more direct ancestor to modern humans (Homo sapiens ). These finds, plus the discovery of thousands of fragments from prehistoric tools, supported the scientists' theories that the first human beings may have come from this region of Africa and that the human species was much older than anyone had suspected. Since then, the Olduvai Gorge has proved to be one of the richest fossil sites in the world; archaeological discoveries here have demonstrated the longest known sequence of early human activity.

The Great Rift Valley, which runs roughly around the western border of Tanzania, is a massive fault system that stretches over 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles) from the Jordan Valley in Israel to Mozambique. In general, the Great Rift Valley contains a wide range of mountains and canyons, with ranges in elevation from 395 meters (1,300 feet) below sea level at the Dead Sea to 1,830 meters (6,000 feet) above sea level in south Kenya. The western branch contains the troughs and rivers that have become part of the African Great Lakes system and Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika. The eastern branch contains the Olduvai Gorge and Mt. Kilimanjaro. A large number of volcanoes lie along this rift, which was created by the violent underground activity and motions between the African (Nubian) Tectonic Plate to the west and the eastern Eurasian, Arabian, Indian, and Somalian Tectonic Plates.


The high plateaus are characterized by monotonous undulating terrain cut slightly by mostly intermittent rivers. There are two major plateaus, the Central Plateau and the Eastern Plateau. The Central Plateau lies between the two branches of the Great Rift Valley. Its vast expanse forms a huge uplifted basin. Elevation here varies from roughly 900 to 1,800 meters (3,000 to 5,900 feet). The average elevation is about 1,200 meters (4,000 feet). It is a hard, dry plain dotted with granitic outcrops.

The northern portion of the Central Plateau slopes gently downward to form the large shallow depression containing Lake Victoria, which lies at an elevation of about 1,180 meters (3,700 feet). On the lakeshore are large flooded inlets. The gradual slope of the land permits agricultural development that is not possible along the steep embankments of Lakes Tanganyika and Nyasa. The area is densely populated, and the local people have a close cultural affinity with those living in the Uganda and Kenya portions of the Lake Victoria basin.

The Eastern Plateau is in effect a series of lower plateaus that descend gradually to the coastal lowlands. In the north it consists primarily of the Masai Steppe, an extensive semiarid plain covering almost 70,000 square kilometers (26,000 square miles). Varying in elevation from about 250 to 1,000 meters (800 to 3,500 feet), the steppe is semi-desert, with vast areas of dry bush and scanty grass. The Makonde Plateau in the extreme southeast is a poorly watered tableland of about 3,100 square kilometers (1,200 square miles).

A smaller plateau, the Ufipa Plateau, occupies the southwestern corner of Tanzania, wedged between the Mbeya Mountains, Lake Rukwa, and Lake Tanganyika. The Ufipa Plateau consists mainly of highland swamp with some grassland and forest cover.


The Great Ruaha River is the site of a major hydroelectric station; the Pangani River, which rises in the northeastern highlands, has three hydroelectric stations.



Africa South of the Sahara 2002 : Tanzania. London: Europa Publishers, 2001.

Asch, Lisa, and Peter Blackwell. Tanzania. Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 1997.

Blaur, E., and J. Lauré. Tanzania. Chicago: Children's Press, 1994.

Heale, Jay. Tanzania. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 1998.

Web Sites

"Ngorongoro: Africa's Cradle of Life." Public Broadcasting Service: The Living Edens. May 5, 2003).

Tanzanian National Parks Department. (accessed May 5, 2003).

United Republic of Tanzania. (accessed May 5, 2003).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.




945,090sq km (364,899sq mi)



capital (population):

Dodoma (157,300)


Multiparty republic

ethnic groups:

Nyamwezi and Sukuma 21%, Swahili 9%, Hehet and Bena 7%, Makonde 6%, Haya 6%


Swahili and English (both official)


Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic) 34%, Islam 33% (99% in Zanzibar), traditional beliefs and others 33%


Tanzanian shilling = 100 cents

Republic in e Africa. The United Republic of Tanzania consists of the mainland republic of Tanganyika and the island republic of Zanzibar. A narrow plain borders the Indian Ocean, and includes the largest city, Dar es Salaam. A plateau, between 900 and 1500m (2950–4900ft), dominates the interior. The capital, Dodoma, lies in the centre of Tanzania. The plateau is broken by the Great Rift Valley, the w arm of which contains Lake Tanganyika. The e arm runs through central Tanzania to meet the w arm near Lake Malawi (Nyasa). The Serengeti Plain lies on the e shore of Lake Victoria. In the ne lies Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5896m (19,344ft).

Climate and vegetation

The coastal region is hot and humid, with heavy rainfall in April and May. The plateau and mountains are much less humid. Mount Kilimanjaro is permanently snow-covered. Mangrove swamps and palm groves line the coast. The plateau is vast, open savanna grass or woodland (miombo). Tanzania's rich wildlife is protected in national parks, which cover more than 12% of the land. Only 5% of land is cultivated.

History and Politics

Dr Louis Leakey discovered 1.75 million year-old fossils of Homo habilis in Olduvai Gorge. Around 2000 years ago, Arabs, Iranians, and Chinese probably traded with coastal settlements. In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first European to land on the Tanzanian coast. For the next 200 years, the Portuguese controlled coastal trade. In 1698, the Portuguese were expelled with the help of Omani Arabs.

During the 18th century, Zanzibar was the principal centre of the e African ivory and slave trade. In 1841, the Sultan moved his capital to Zanzibar. The interior of Tanganyika was opened up by new caravan routes bringing slaves and ivory to the coast for transshipment.

In the European scramble for Africa, Tanganyika became part of German East Africa (1887), and the Sultanate of Zanzibar became a British Protectorate (1890). Resistance to German colonial rule was fierce. The Germans established plantations, built railroads, and missionaries encouraged the spread of Christianity. During World War I, British and Belgian troops occupied German East Africa (1916), and in 1919 Tanganyika became a British mandate. The British ruled indirectly, via local leaders.

In 1961, Tanganyika became the first East African state to gain independence. Julius Nyerere was its first post-colonial president. Zanzibar gained independence in 1963, and in 1964 Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania, although Zanzibar retained economic sovereignty. In 1967, Nyerere issued the Arusha Declaration, an outline of his self-help (ujamaa) form of socialism and egalitarianism. Despite promises of decentralization, Tanzania became a one-party state. In 1977, Tanganyika and Zanzibar's ruling parties merged to form the Party of the Revolution (CCM). In 1978, Uganda occupied n Tanzania. In 1979, Tanzanian and Ugandan rebels staged a counter-attack and overthrew the Ugandan President Idi Amin.

In 1985, Nyerere retired and Ali Hassan Mwinyi succeeded him. In 1992, Mwinyi endorsed the principle of multiparty elections. In 1995, Benjamin Mkapa became the first president to be elected in a multiparty system. In 1997, after a prolonged drought, he declared a state of famine. Mkapa was re-elected in 2000. Zanzibar witnessed violent riots in 2001.


Tanzania is one of the world's poorest countries (2000 GDP per capita, US$710). Agriculture employs 85% of the workforce, mainly at subsistence level. Tanganyika's main export crops are coffee, cotton, tea and tobacco, while Zanzibar is the world's largest producer of cloves. Diamonds and gold are the principal mineral resources.

Political map

Physical map


Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." World Encyclopedia. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." World Encyclopedia. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


TANZANIA [A blend of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with -ia. Usual stress: ‘Tan-zan-EE-a’]. A country of East Africa and member of the COMMONWEALTH. Languages: Swahili (official), English, and indigenous languages. The Germans colonized Tanganyika from the late 19c until in 1920 it became a League of Nations mandate and later a UNITED NATIONS trust territory administered by the British. Zanzibar was a British protectorate from 1890 to 1963. The territories united on independence in 1964. English was a joint official language with SWAHILI until 1967. This political empowerment of Swahili improved its prestige in relation to English and other indigenous languages. English continues to be important for higher education, media, and international relations, while Swahili has taken over roles in precollege-level education and internal government and business.

Tanzanian English shares many features with Zambian English. Devoicing of wordfinal /b, v/ is common (‘laf’ for love), and f/v may alternate (‘lavin’ for laughing). Mass or singular nouns may be construed as plurals (behaviours, breads). BORROWINGS from indigenous languages are frequent, and may become standardized as marking the Tanzanian variety: sufuria cook-pot, pole (an expression of sympathy), foforu car fancy car. Some typical local usages are: Thank you for your postcard extended to us recently; We were happy to learn (hear) from you; Please inquire if she had the mails (got the letters); I decided to mail (write) you. CODE-MIXING, particularly Swahili/English, is common: Ile accident ilitokea alipo-lose control na aka-overturn and landed in a ditch The accident occurred when he lost control and overturned and landed in a ditch. Here, mixing includes putting Swahili prefixes on English stems, as with alipo-lose. See EAST AFRICAN ENGLISH.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"TANZANIA." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"TANZANIA." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . (July 10, 2018).

"TANZANIA." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Culture Name



Identification. It is said that the mainland portion of what is now Tanzania was named by a British civil servant in 1920, from the Swahili words tanga (sail) and nyika (bright arid plain). Thus what was known formerly as German East Africa became Tanganyika Territory. In 1964, Tanganyika was joined with Zanzibar, an offshore archipelago of islands, to form the present United Republic of Tanzania. Because of a unique combination of historic and cultural factors, Tanzanians share strong feelings of national pride and cohesion. This sense of nationalism has served to keep the country at peace for over two decades, while most of its neighbors have been involved intermittently in catastrophically destructive civil and cross-border wars. Tanzanians have been able to resolve most internal problems without resorting to violence because of a shared language, the lack of political or economic dominance by any ethnic group, and the strong leadership provided by Julius Nyerere (19221999), the first president of Tanzania. At the same time, however, repressive, corrupting influences emanating from the colonial, socialist, and capitalist eras have fostered among many Tanzanians an attitude of dependency and fatalistic resignation that helps keep the country one of the poorest in the world.

Location and Geography. Covering approximately 365,000 square miles (945,000 square kilometers)an area about one and one-half times the size of Texas, Tanzania lies on the east coast of Africa, just south of the equator. It shares borders with Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Indian Ocean. Tanzania also shares three great lakesVictoria, Tanganyika, and Malawiwith its neighbors. The country is comprised of a wide variety of agro-ecological zones: low-lying coastal plains, a dry highland plateau, northern savannas, and cool, well-watered regions in the northwest and south. The 120 ethnic groups that inhabit Tanzania have adapted to a wide range of geophysical and climatic conditions. The specific habits, customs, and life-views of each group have been influenced by tribal traditions and alliances, European invasions, population movements over the centuries, and introduced and endemic diseases. In the late 1990s, the central political administration was moved from Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast to the more centrally located city of Dodoma, which lies in the middle of the central plateau. Because of Dodoma's dry climate, relative lack of economic development, and small size, however, the port of Dar es Salaam remains the urban center of national importance.

Demography. The current population in Tanzania is approximately 30 million, comprised of indigenous peoples and Pakistani, Indian, Arab, and European subpopulations. There are heavy population concentrations in the urban centers (including Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tabora, and Mbeya), in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, and along the coast of Lake Malawi.

Linguistic Affiliation. While each ethnic group speaks its own local language, almost all Tanzanians are also fluent in the national language, Swahili (Kiswahili in Swahili), a coastal Bantu language strongly influenced by Arabic. The second official language is English, a vestige of the British colonial period. Most Tanzanians with postsecondary educations speak both official languages fluently in addition to their tribal language. Nyerere encouraged the adoption of Swahili for all Tanzanians in a concerted and successful effort to enable people from different parts of the country to communicate with one another and to encourage them to identify themselves as one people. The use of a single common language has greatly facilitated trade, political debate, nationalism, information dissemination, and conflict resolution.

Symbolism. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and the magnificent wild animals (including lions, elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, leopards, and cheetahs, to name only a few) draw millions of tourists to the country every year. The landscape and animals are valued national treasures, symbolized on coins and as brand names for manufactured products. Severe depredations by poachers from both inside and outside the country, however, continue to threaten the survival of many species. The torch of freedom (uhuru ) and the figure of a soldier (representing the sacrifice of veterans and the war dead) are also common symbols throughout the country. Elegant ebony carvings of both representational and modern design, a specialty of the Makonde people of southeast Tanzania, are prized by collectors around the world.

History and Ethnic Relations

Tanzania was cradle to some of the earliest hominids on earth, made famous by the discoveries of Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge. Bantu-speaking peoples migrated to eastern Africa at the same time that trade between Arabic-speaking peoples and coastal populations was initiated in the first century b.c.e. By the twelfth century, Arab trading posts were well established along the coast and on some islands.

Although Vasco da Gama landed on the East African coast in 1498, it was not until 1506 that the Portuguese fully controlled trade on the Indian Ocean. The Arabs had been trading along the coastline for centuries when Sa'id ibn Suttan moved his capital from Oman to Zanzibar in 1840 to take advantage of the slave markets. During the early nineteenth century, Arab slave and ivory traders began to penetrate deeper into the interior of what was to become Tanzania.

In 1890, Zanzibar became a British protectorate while the mainland became part of German East Africa. The period of German rule was extremely heavy-handed; when the Africans fought back during the Maji-Maji rebellion of 1905, tens of thousands were killed. After the defeat of Germany in World War I (19141918), German East Africa was made a League of Nations Mandated Territory, called Tanganyika, controlled by the British. Following World War II, Tanganyika became a United Nations trusteeship of Great Britain. Adhering to a policy of "indirect rule," the British government used indigenous political systems to implement their control, thereby resulting in much less open hostility than occurred during the time of German rule.

Emergence of the Nation. The birth of nationhood may be attributed to the earlier independence of other African nations along with a growing sense of unity and a need to become independent from the British colonial government. Independence was achieved without bloodshed. Julius Nyerere was elected president of the Tanganyika African Association, later renamed the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), in 1953. African officials elected to TANU in 1958 and 1959 constituted the administration for internal self-government in May 1961. On 9 December 1961, Tanganyika was proclaimed an independent nation. In 1963, Zanzibar was granted independence from Great Britain, and in 1964 an Act of Union was signed between Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

National Identity. The national identity is influenced by several factors. One of the most important integrating forces is the use of the national lingua francaSwahili, a language spoken and revered by nearly all Tanzanians. Swahili is a compulsory subject in schools, and some 83 percent of the population are literate. Equally important, of course, is Tanganyika's independence and subsequent unification with Zanzibar to form the United Republic. Perhaps the most important influence on a sense of national identity was the development of Tanzanian socialism. The creation of Nyerere, Tanzanian socialism was codified in the Arusha Declaration of 1967.

Both the symbolic and practical cornerstone of Tanzanian socialism was ujamaa, a Swahili word meaning "family" or "familyhood." The core structure of ujamaa is the traditional extended family and clan structure of most ethnic groups, which provides a framework for mutual assistance and cooperation. It was believed this structure would provide the foundation for socialist production. In practice, the forced resettlement of rural populations into ujamaa villages was met with great local opposition, and Tanzanian socialism has largely proven to be an economic failure. The concept of ujamaa and mutual assistance, however, did infiltrate the national ethos; they are represented, for example, in elaborate ebony carvings of intertwined figures, standing upon or grasping one another in expression of mutual support and social collectivity.

National resources also contribute to a sense of national identity. For example, at 19,340 feet (5,895 meters), Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point on the African continent. This beautiful, now quiet volcano is located near Arusha, the major tourist city in the nation. Wildlife safaris to the Serengeti Plain and the world's largest caldera, Ngorongoro Crater, are initiated from this city. Few Tanzanians, however, are wealthy enough to afford such luxuries, and many never see the wildlife Westerners associate so closely with Africa. Finally, Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world and source of the Nile, is an important symbolic and natural resourcealthough it is shared with Uganda and Kenya.

Ethnic Relations. Within the borders of Tanzania co-exist approximately 120 ethnic groups speaking languages representing all four major African language groups. These include Khoisan, or "click"speaking hunter-gatherers, Nilotic-speaking pastoralists (such as the Maasai), Cushitic speakers, and Bantu speakers; the latter predominate in terms of population size. The largest ethnic groups include the Sukuma (over three million), and the Chagga, Haya, and Nyamwezi (over one million each). Despite the tremendous cultural and linguistic diversity among Tanzanians, ethnic groups are united by the use of a common languageSwahiliand a sense of national identity. The growing number of refugees (from neighboring Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda in particular) do not appear to have caused serious ethnic tensions, but they have become a serious strain on the economy and the local environment.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The architecture of urban coastal centers reflects the long, rich history of Tanzania. Ruins of Arab mosques, cemeteries, and house structures can be found at sites such as Kaole, just south of Bagamoyo. Tombs embedded with Chinese ceramics dating to the twelfth century reflect the trade between distant civilizations. Nineteenth-century stone houses on narrow streets characterize Bagamoyo, which was one of the main endpoints of the East African slave trade.

Founded in the 1860s by Sultan Seyyid Majid of Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, which most likely means "house of peace or salvation," is the main commercial center. Looking out over the Indian Ocean, the sails of dhow fishing vessels are dwarfed by transoceanic cargo ships gliding into the port. Architectural styles reflect Arab, German, and British influence and occupation. Major buildings include elaborate mosques and churches, such as the German-style Lutheran Church. One of the largest public gathering locations in all Tanzanian cities and towns is the marketplace, where meat, produce, housewares, and a variety of miscellaneous items are sold. In addition, football (soccer) stadiums are important areas where people convene in Dar es Salaam and in all large urban areas. One of the most visible monuments in the center of Dar es Salaam is the Askari, or "soldier," which was unveiled in 1927 and commemorates the loss of African troops during World War I. The most significant monument is the Uhuru, or "freedom," torch commemorating Tanganyika's independence from Great Britain in 1961.

Suburban dwellings, most of which are built along a grid pattern, include the swahili house, a rectangular structure made of either stone with a corrugated roof or earth on a wooden frame with a thatch roof. This type of house is found all along the coast.

About 90 percent of Tanzania's people live in rural settings. Each ethnic group has a unique traditional house structure, ranging from the round, beehive-shaped house of the Haya, who live on the western shore of Lake Victoria, to the long, rectangular houses made of wood and thatch of the Gogo people in central Tanzania. Each ethnic group's traditional house structure has a corresponding cultural logic that determines the use of space. For example, the Haya traditional house is surrounded by a banana plantation; an area in front of the house used for relaxation and food drying is kept free of debris by daily sweeping. The interior of the house is divided into separate use areas, some reserved for men; some for women, children, and cooking; some for animals; and one for honoring ancestors.

Traditional houses are being replaced increasingly by rectangular, "European"-style houses made from a variety of materials, including brick, wood, earth, and thatch. Unlike in traditional houses, cooking areas have been moved outside.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. For most Tanzanians, including those who live in urban areas, no meal is complete without a preferred staple carbohydratecorn, rice, cassava, sorghum, or plantains, for example. Plantains are preferred in the northwest, ugali (a thick mash of corn or sorghum) in the central and southwestern regions, and rice in the south and along the coast. The staple is accompanied by a fish, beef, goat, chicken, or mutton stew or fried pieces of meat, along with several types of vegetables or condiments, commonly including beans, leafy greens resembling spinach, manioc leaves, chunks of pumpkin, or sweet potatoes. Indian food (such as chapatis, a flat bread; samosas, vegetable or meat-filled pastries; and masala,a spiced rice dish), is widely available in all urban areas.

Breakfast preferences depend on income levels and local tradition: bread, sweet rolls or biscuits (mandazi ), coffee or tea (sometimes with spices, sugar, and/or milk), buttermilk, and chicken broth are the most common foods. Finger foods sold on the streets include fried plantains and sweet potatoes, charcoal-roasted corn on the cob (with no butter or salt), small bags of peanuts and popcorn, pieces of dried or fried fish, samosas, bread, fruit, dates, hard candy, gum, and mishikaki, or shish kebabs of beef or goat grilled over a charcoal fire. In local bars selling homemade brews or bottled spirits and pop, it is common to eat roasted meatbeef or goat; often the meat will be flavored with hot peppers, salt, and fresh lime juice.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Without exception, all ceremonial occasions demand the preparation of enormous platters of food, such as pilau, a spiced rice, potato, and meat dish that caters to local tastes and culinary traditions. It is considered very shameful for guests to leave hungry from a ceremonial meal or dinner party. Except among religions that forbid it, alcohol is also an integraland sometimes highly symbolicpart of ceremonies. Local beers and spirits derived from bananas, corn, rice, honey, or sorghum are served alone or alongside manufactured alcoholic beverages. Konyagi, a ginlike spirit, is brewed commercially in Tanzania as are a variety of beers and soft drinks. Certain beers produced in neighboring countriesPrimus, from Burundi, for exampleare also popular.

Basic Economy. Agriculture provides the mainstay of the Tanzanian economy, still employing close to four-fifths of the economically active population. Farmers grow food for subsistence and for sale. Minerals, precious metals, fish, timber, and meat are also important products.

Land Tenure and Property. Although Tanzania is one of the least densely populated countries in eastern Africa, control and access to productive lands has become an increasingly contentious issue. Following independence, national laws were enacted to provide the state with ownership of all lands, granting citizens use rights only through short- and long-term leases. At the local level, however, different sets of traditional tribal laws pertain. Since the demise of socialism and the penetration of the market economy, customary or tribal claims to land have clashed with the national laws. Throughout Tanzanian history, few customary laws have permitted women, who perform the bulk of agricultural labor in the country, to own land. While national laws have been modified to enable women to buy or inherit property, these changes challengeand are often overruled at the local levelby customary laws. Many analysts believe that enhanced access to and control of land by women would result in significant increases in agricultural production.

Commercial Activities. Agricultural and manufactured products are sold both retail and wholesale. The informal economy in Tanzania is significant, petty hawkers making up the bulk of traders. Second hand clothing, household goods, cloth, and foodstuffs dominate the informal trade. Forced licensing and taxation of small-scale businesspeople has caused some friction between the government and citizens, leading on multiple occasions to demonstrations and local resistance.

Major Industries. Most of the industrial production is geared toward local commodities. Important industries include food processing and the manufacture of textiles, alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes. Other industrial activities include oil refining, and the manufacture of cement, gunnysacks, fertilizer, paper, glass, ceramics, and agricultural implements. Because of the relatively unspoiled game parks and only rare incidents of insecurity, tourism is a growing industry.

Trade. The most important commodities include cotton, fish and shrimp, coffee, cashew nuts, cloves (grown mainly on the offshore islands), tea, beans, precious stones, timber, sisal, sugar, pyrethrum, coconuts, and peanuts. Textiles, clothing, shoes, batteries, paper, and cement are examples of products commonly sold to neighboring countries. Throughout most of the country, however, production and marketing are severely constrained by very poor infrastructure, from roads and railroads to communication and power networks. During the socialist period, many products of inferior qualityfrom hardware to bicycleswere imported from China and other socialist countries. Today, a much wider variety of higher quality items from many countries around the world are available in shops and markets, although their high prices often prohibit all but the wealthy from purchasing them.

Division of Labor. Customary divisions of labor generally relegate the heaviest physical labors (for example, clearing of fields, cutting trees) to men and lighter tasks to women. Similarly, few women work with machines and other highly valued productive assets. Children as young as three or four learn to help their parents with household and field chores, although girls often shoulder a much greater work burden than boys, a pattern that often repeats itself as children grow into adulthood.

Professional positions are usually occupied by individuals who have had post secondary school education. Successful businesspeople may or may not have formal education, but often have relatives, friends, or patrons who helped finance the establishment of their business.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Tanzanian society is divided along many lines. The traditional elite includes descendants of kings and paramount chiefs, who, after independence, lost their traditional titles. The modern elite includes many individuals in the government, successful businesspeople, and highly educated individuals. With the advent of the HIV-AIDS epidemic and the decrease in social services, the poorest families are no longer able to care for all of their children and relatives. Beggars in urban areas and street children have become more visible and are often victims of police brutality.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Economic stratification became more pronounced during the German and British colonial periods, when certain ethnic groups or individuals who were favored for particular physical traits or skills were able to profit from a special relationship with the colonial hierarchy. Ownership of one or more automobiles, expensive hairstyles and Western clothing, large, Western-style houses with modern amenities, perfect command of English and/or other nonnative languages, and frequent travel are all markers of the upper classes. At the other extreme, many of the poorest Tanzanians are severely malnourished and clothed in rags, living constantly on the edge. The market economy has encouraged individual success, proliferation of Western goods, and systemic corruption, causing the gap between the rich and the poor to widen even further.

Political Life

Government. Modeled after the government of Great Britain, the United Republic of Tanzania developed a parliamentary system of government soon after independence. The highest positions include the president, prime minister, and chief justice. A term limit for the presidency was set at five years in 1984. In addition, two vice presidents were established to balance power between the mainland and Zanzibar. If the president is from the mainland, for example, one of the vice presidents must be from Zanzibar to help minimize the excessive influence of individuals.

Leadership and Political Officials. Called Mwalimu or "respected teacher," Julius Nyerere was president of Tanzania for more than two decades (19641985). Widely revered throughout Africa and the world for his honesty, integrity, and wisdom, Mwalimu Nyerere was largely responsible for the enduring stability of the new nation. He is perhaps most noted for his attempts to help negotiate an end to violence in other African nations, including South Africa and Burundi. The former president and father of the nation died on October 14, 1999, at the age of 77. The impact of his loss to the nation and the continent is just beginning to be felt. Nyerere was succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi, a Zanzibari native, who served two terms (19851995).

Tanzania implemented a one-party political system for many years after independence. In 1977, the Tanganyika African National Union was merged with representatives of the Zanzibari Afro-Shirazi Party to form the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) or the "Party of Revolution," with Nyerere as chairman. The CCM ruled unopposed until the first multiparty elections were held in 1995 when Benjamin William Mkapa was elected president.

Many Tanzanian government officials are noted for their dedication and austerity, although corrupting influences of the market economy have become more prevalent over time. In a general sense, the authority of government officials at all levels is respected by local citizens, regardless of ethnic affiliation. This respect is demonstrated by greeting officials with a shaking of right hands, often while laying the left hand under one's right arm. This is also the proper way to receive a gift. Women and girls often bend down slightly on one knee (a modified curtsy) to greet officials and elders.

Social Problems and Control. Tanzania has been less afflicted by large-scale social problems than its neighbors. Social conflicts due to religious differences have been relatively minor, although recent tensions between Muslims and Christians threaten to destabilize the unity between Zanzibar and the mainland. On 7 August 1998, terrorist bombings of the American Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, Kenya, killed 81 people and injured hundreds more. Although the individuals responsible have not yet been identified, it has been suggested that organized Muslim fundamentalists outside of Tanzania may have planned the attack. In addition, there is long-standing tension between Asians (e.g., Indians and Pakistanis), who own most of the businesses in Tanzania, and indigenous Tanzanians.

Theft is a serious social problem, especially in larger cities and towns. If a criminal act is witnessed by the public, often a crowd will punish the thief with a beating. With the exception of the military and police, very few people have access to guns. There is some evidence that Tanzanian ports are assuming an increased role in the shipment of illegal drugs destined for American and European markets. Some use of illegal drugs among the local population has surfaced, but the full extent is unknown.

Military Activity. The Tanzanian People's Defense Force includes the army, navy, and air force; in 1998/1999, military expenditures were about $21 million. The most important military activity occurred in 19781979, after Uganda attempted to annex part of the Kagera Region in northwest Tanzania. Under the direction of Idi Amin Dada, Ugandan troops invaded the region, but were repelled by the Tanzanian armyat great expense to the nation. The war is vividly portrayed in local songs, and a monument commemorating the loss of Tanzanians stands in Bukoba, the Kagera Region's administrative headquarters.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

The dismal economic failure of Nyerere's socialist system in Tanzania opened up the country to the influences of international banking organizations that intervenedostensibly to save the economy. Loans to rebuild the economy after the socialist period were conditioned upon cost-cutting structural adjustment programs that severely reduced the size of the government as well as the number and quality of social support systems. As a result, many Tanzanians have resorted to basic survival strategies, assisted in many parts of the country by foreign aid programs and church organizations.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

With the support of several Scandinavian countries, the high level of development assistance in Tanzania began in the 1970s and 1980s, and spawned a dramatic growth of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Many of these NGOs collaborate with international organizations (the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, for instance) and U.S. and European private voluntary organizations (CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, and Doctors without Borders, for example) to implement a wide variety of projects in health, water and sanitation, agriculture, and microenterprise. Dozens of humanitarian aid programswhich rely on the availability and expertise of local NGOssupport an estimated 800,000 refugees currently in Tanzania who have fled conflict and political instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. NGO staff positions provide a very important avenue of employment for highly educated Tanzanians who are finding it difficult to secure civil service positions in a government downsized by structural adjustment. Increasingly, NGOs are competing with one another for limited development and relief funds.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. In many rural areas of Tanzania, tribal customs advocate a gender division of labor: women and girls take care of the household chores, small children, and livestock, and plant and weed the agricultural fields. Men prepare land for cultivation, care for large livestock, market produce, and make the important financial and political decisions for the family. As girls and women throughout the country have gained access to more formal education, however, they are challenging the customary division of labor. Similarly, where conditions of extreme poverty obligate male heads of households to migrate in search of work, women in these communities have taken over some of the hard physical labor. In many modern households in Tanzania, wives and husbands are challenging and questioning one another's changing roles. The disruptive effects of alcohol abuse, AIDS, and materialism have also placed great strains on relationships within and among families.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Among the lower socioeconomic strata, with few exceptions, women have a lower standard of living than do men. Generally speaking, boys are valued more than girls. Only women descended from ruling tribal families, successful businesswomen, or women politicians enjoy privileges equal to that of men. Among the formally educated there are conflicts between husbands and wives regarding the appropriate roles and responsibilities of each. When an activity undertaken by a woman becomes successful, her husband or a male relative will try to take control of the activity or the money it has generated, especially in rural areas.

Marriage, Family and Kinship

Traditional systems of social organization are still of great significance in the daily lives of Tanzanians. Kinship systems provide networks for support and become visible during all major life-cycle ceremonies.

Marriage. In general, traditional marriage customs vary by ethnic group. The practice of clan exogamyor marriage outside of the clan or groupis typical, however, of almost all ethnic groups. Traditional customs call for marriages to be arranged by the parents of the bride and groom, although such arrangements are becoming less common, particularly in urban settings. In patrilineal ethnic groups (those in which descent is traced through males), traditional marriage customs often include the presentation of a dowry or bride price to the wife's family by the bridegroom. The dowry may include livestock, money, clothing, locally brewed beer, and other items. The amount of the dowry is determined through negotiations between the families of the engaged. Preparations for marriage may take months. For those wealthy enough to afford it, marriage may include a separate dowry ceremony and, several months later, a church wedding followed by traditional ceremonies. Although many ethnic groups and Muslims allow polygyny (having more than one wife), the practice is decreasing in popularity, in part because of the influence of Christianity and the expense of maintaining several households.

Domestic Unit. The basic family structure is extended, although the pressures of development have led increasingly to nuclear family units, particularly in urban areas. In most cases, the man is the supreme head of the household in all major decisions. A wife earns respect through her children and, indeed, is not considered to be a fully mature woman until she has given birth to a healthy child. In most ethnic groups, she is recognized by her eldest child's name and called, for example, "Mama Kyaruzi," after her eldest child of the same name. Children eat separately, often with their mothers.

The market economy has placed significant pressure on the stability of the domestic unit and the extended family. Educated, wealthy family members are often called upon to provide resources to other family members for their education and general welfare. In many areas deaths due to AIDS have placed additional strain on the extended family.

Inheritance. Tanzanian laws of inheritance vary according to ethnic group. There are also significant differences between national and customary laws of inheritance, which are settled in the court system. Generally speaking, boys and men are favored over girls and women in customary ethnic laws, in part to keep clan holdings together. (When women in patrilineal ethnic groups marry in Tanzania, they tend to live with or near their husband's family.) Nevertheless, the customary subdivision of land holdingseven just among sonshas already led to serious fragmentation of land in areas where arable land is scarce.

In some groups, widows and divorcees are not adequately provided for through customary laws and must fend for themselves or be cared for by their children. This discrimination is being challenged by lawyers, affected individuals, and organized groups.

Kin Groups. Clanship systems are common in most ethnic groups. While the majority of ethnic groups are patrilineal, recognizing descent through male ancestors, there are some matrilineal groups (where descent is traced through females) in Tanzania: the Kaguru in the east-central part of the country, for example. In practice the structure and function of clans differs significantly from one ethnic group to another. In some cases, they form well-recognized groups while in others they are dispersed. In general, an elder, or group of elders, is often responsible for settling disputes within the clan and for conducting various ceremonies to venerate the ancestors.


Infant Care. Throughout the nation, children are raised with the strong influence of parents as well as close relatives, friends, and neighbors. Using a kanga, a brightly colored rectangular cloth with elaborate designs, mothers carry babies close to their bodies in a sling, even while working in the fields, at home, or in shops. An essential multipurpose item of women's apparel, the kanga can also be used as a shawl, head cover, skirt, or dress. Daughters at very young ages begin helping their mothers care for their younger siblings.

Child Rearing and Education. Until the age of five or so for boys, and until adolescence for girls, children have the most contact with their mothers, sisters, and other female relatives. Both boys and girls attend school if the parents can afford the fees. If there is not sufficient money for both to attend, the boy is usually favored, and the girl remains home to help her mother until she gets married and moves away. Students are supposed to respect their teachers, and corporal punishment is still practiced in Tanzanian schools.

Among some ethnic groups, puberty ceremonies for boys and girls are practiced. Marking the transition to adulthood, such elaborate ceremonies may involve circumcision of boys and several kinds of genital surgery on girls. Unsterile surgical procedures performed on girls may have severe health consequences.

Development programs have recently begun to make more use of the performing arts to deliver public service messages (about AIDS prevention and the importance of breast-feeding, for example).

Higher Education. As fees for schooling have risen, families are finding it difficult to send their children to secondary schools. The wealthy send their older children to boarding schools both within and outside the country, although they worry that the materialistic influences of the modern world and lack of family supervision will negatively influence their children.


Tanzanians are proud of their disciplined upbringing. The ability to keep control of one's temper and emotions in public is highly valued. Young men and women in rural areas are not supposed to show mutual affection in public in daylight, although this rule is often broken in urban centers. Boys and men, however, are commonly seen in public holding hands as a sign of friendship or camradarie. In many rural areas, women are not supposed to smoke, talk in a raised voice, or cross their legs while sitting or standing. Traditionally, elders are honored and respected by the rest of the community, although youth are increasingly challenging such customs as arranged marriages.

Although the use of silverware is increasing, traditional customs prescribe eating all foods, including rice and meat sauces, with the right hand. Children who attempt to eat with their left hands are disciplined appropriately at very early ages. This custom is related to the perceived symbolic purity of the right hand, compared to the left hand which is often used for cleaning after using the toilet.


Religious Beliefs. Religious freedom is a virtue that has contributed to Tanzania's long, relatively peaceful history since the nation's independence. All religious holidays receive equal public recognition. Many world religions played a part in the nation's history.

Islam began to be practiced as early as the twelfth century when Arab traders set up posts along the coast and on Zanzibar and Pemba Islands. The influence of Islam and Arab culture is strongly reflected in the Swahili language. Arab traders brought their religion to some interior settlements, but their proselytizing did not match the impact of the Christian missionaries during the German and British colonial periods in the first half of the twentieth century. Long before the influence of Islam or Christianity, indigenous belief systems shaped the cosmology of each ethnic group. The influence of these beliefs is still very strong; they are often practiced alone or alongside of the major religions.

Virtually 100 percent of the people in Zanzibar are Muslim; on the mainland, about 40 percent are Christian, 35 percent are Muslim, and 20 percent follow indigenous religions. Among Asian minorities, the Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist faiths are practiced. Christian sects include Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Orthodox. Both Christian and Islamic religions provide access to educational opportunities and often to some of the best medical care. Wealthy Muslims make their pilgrimage to Mecca, but this is a minority of the overall Muslim population.

Religious holidays include Christmas (25 December); and Good Friday, Easter Monday, Idd-ul-Fitr, Islamic New Year, and the Prophet's Birthday (all of which fall on different dates every year). Idd-ul-Fitr is a Muslim festival and public holiday that is celebrated on the sighting of the new moon at the end of the calendar year. The exact date varies according to the new moon's position.

Religious Practitioners. Native Tanzanians preside in all positions in major religions. In indigenous belief systems among some ethnic groups, certain people assume religious functions that often include healing. These indigenous religious practitioners differ significantly according to ethnic group. For example, in some cases among the Haya, the omufumu ("healer" in the Kihaya language) uses herbs and spiritual power to diagnose and cure illnesses. Acting spirit mediums, the Wazee ("Ancestors" or "Old ones" in Swahili) "come in to the omufumu's head" and speak through him or her. The Wazee have the ability to travel great distances and bring about a therapeutic cure, such as the recovery of stolen objects or even success in soccer matches. In some parts of the country, an indigenous religious practitioner, such as the omufumu in parts of northwest Tanzania, will survey a "football" or soccer field before a match to remove any object placed there to influence the course of the game by an opposing team.

Death and the Afterlife. Death is a part of daily life for Tanzanians. In regions hit hard by the AIDS epidemic, families are often not able to afford the time or resources to follow traditional mourning and burial customs, which differ by religion and ethnic group.

Among many ethnic groups, the "ancestors" assume an extremely important role. Ancestor spirits are remembered through various rituals and are believed to exert significant influence on daily life. For example, at drinking occasions, some people pour a small libation of beer onto the ground in respect of the ancestors. In other cases, a small vessel of beer is left in a special location as an offering to the ancestors. In still other cases, sacrifices of a chicken or goat, for example, are made to the ancestors in ceremonies that vary according to ethnicity.

Medicine and Health Care

Similar to people in other poor, tropical nations, Tanzanians are challenged by numerous health problems, including parasitic, intestinal, nutritional, venereal, and respiratory diseases. In the mid-1990s, life expectancy at birth was forty-two years for men and forty-five years for women.

Malaria, commonly referred to as the "Tanzanian flu," remains the leading cause of illness and death. Transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito, the parasite Plasmodium falciparum has become increasingly resistant to treatment. It is especially severe among children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. Other common diseases include schistosomiasis, sleeping sickness, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. There are an estimated 150,000 cases of leprosy.

Public health problems are further exacerbated by the nation's poverty, which makes proper food storage and the provision of adequate waste disposal and safe drinking water difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, technologically appropriate solutions to these and other public health problems, such as improved ventilated pit latrines, are increasingly being implemented.

The Arusha Declaration for Tanzanian Socialism prepared the way to extend primary health care to the rural population. This led to the establishment of some three thousand rural health facilities and seventeen regional government hospitals. Although community health workers have been somewhat successful in alleviating health problems, the lack of medical supplies, facilities, and physicians continues to make confronting illness a primary survival issue.

The third poorest nation in the world, Tanzania has decreased its spending on health care significantly in recent years, largely because of higher levels of foreign debt repayment. The measles immunization rate, for example, has fallen from an estimated 86 percent to about 60 percent in recent years.

Health problems have been exacerbated by AIDS which emerged in Tanzania in the mid-1980s. In 1998, the estimated HIV seroprevalence rate was 49.5 percent among high-risk populations in major cities and 13.7 percent among low-risk groups. In rural areas, the estimated HIV seroprevalence was 34.3 percent and 16.6 percent among high- and low-risk groups, respectively. AIDS has placed tremendous strain on an already challenged health care system; in some parts of the country, underlying HIV infection may be the primary reason for hospital admissions.

It has been projected that Tanzania's economy will decrease 1525 percent by 2010 as a result of the AIDS epidemic. The number of children orphaned due to deaths associated with AIDS is very high. The staggering number of AIDS-related deaths among young adults has placed serious strain on the extended family and the elderly, who are often called upon to care for the resulting orphans.

All Tanzanian ethnic groups have highly sophisticated indigenous healing systems that help circumvent the inadequate supply of Western drugs and biomedical health services. The mganga, or "traditional healer" in Swahili, plays an extremely important role in health care, and treats chronic and infectious illnesses. In many cases, herbal remedies have established pharmaceutical efficacy. In addition, the mganga may also be called upon to treat social and "psychological" problems as well as problems not commonly perceived as "illnesses" by people outside of Africa, such as difficulty finding a lover, difficulty conceiving a child, or lack of success in business affairs. Predicated on a holistic approach to health, traditional healers treat body, mind, and spirit as an integrated system, often in the communal sense of the "social body." Faith healing among some Christian sects as well as various Islamic healing practices are also common.

Although infectious diseases are the most visible health problems in Tanzania, social problems related to alcohol abuse are increasingly being recognized. Low-alcohol-content (approximately 5 percent) beers made from grains, fruits, palm sap, and honey play a vital role in almost all ethnic groups. Traditional beers are commonly consumed as part of nearly all ceremonies as well as being used in offerings to ancestors. While still used for these purposes, beer and other alcoholic beverages began to be sold as commodities in the postcolonial period, contributing greatly to social problems.

Secular Celebrations

The major state holidays are New Year's Day (1 January); Zanzibar Revolution Day (12 January); Union Day (26 April); International Workers' Day (1 May); Saba Saba (7 July, commemorating the establishment of TANU); Peasants' Day (8 August); and Independence Day (9 December). All holidays are celebrated with large amounts of food and alcohol at the appropriate time. The middle classes use days off to take outings with their families, watch soccer matches, or travel to see relatives.

The Arts and Humanities

The formal development of the humanities and arts in Tanzania has been constrained by a severe lack of government and private funding. Tourists, the local elite, and expatriates support most of the fine artists, foremost among them the Makonde ebony carvers. While not as well known as Congolese or Senegalese singers, Tanzanian musicians are beginning to make their mark in the music world.

Literature. Because most of the local languages in Tanzania are expressed orally rather than in written form, little other than dictionaries and collections of idioms and fables collected by missionaries or local and foreign researchers have been published. The national language of Kiswahili, however, has a very old and rich history. Stories, novels, poetry, epics, textbooks, children's literature, and historical treatises are widely available around the country.

Graphic Arts. A thriving tourist industry supports thousands of artisans in Tanzania, the most famous being the Makonde carvers of ebony from the extreme southeast corner of the country. Other tourist items include paintings and greeting cards of landscapes, local peoples, and wildlife; intricately woven baskets; soapstone, ceramic, and malachite carvings and jewelry; woven or printed wall hangings, and decorative and functional objects formed from banana leaves and coconut hulls.

Performance Arts. Individual tribes are characterized in part by distinctive theatrical performances, dances, and musicfor example, the Snake Dance performed by the Sukuma people in the north-central part of the country. Some of these groups are invited to Dar es Salaam to honor the president, ministers, or foreign dignitaries. Occasionally, private or state funding is found to send them to foreign capitals to perform. While not as well known as Congolese, Malian, or Senegalese singers, Tanzanian musicians are beginning to make their mark in the music world. Theater, dance, and music skits on radio and television are also being used by churches, state agencies, and development organizations to relay public service messages about such topics as AIDS, corruption, vaccination campaigns, and contraception.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

Lack of funding has also constrained the development of the physical and social sciences in Tanzania. Like Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Dar es Salaam was once one of the leading centers of critical socialist thought in Africa. While it still attracts some of the world's foremost thinkers and philosophers, the university currently suffers from substandard infrastructure, an inadequate library, and poorly paid but internationally recognized professors.


Airhihenbuwa, Collins O. "Perspectives on AIDS in Africa: Strategies for Prevention and Control." AIDS Education and Prevention 1 (1): 5769, 1989.

Beidelman, T. O. The Matrilineal Peoples of Eastern Tanzania, 1967.

Briggs, Philip. Guide to Tanzania, 1967.

Carlson, Robert G. "Haya Worldview and Ethos: An Ethnography of Alcohol Production and Consumption in Bukoba, Tanzania." Ph.D. thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989.

. "Symbolic Mediation and Commoditization: A Critical Examination of Alcohol Use among the Haya of Bukoba, Tanzania." Medical Anthropology 15: 4162, 1992.

Coulson, Andrew, ed. African Socialism in Practice: The Tanzanian Experience, 1979.

Duggan, William Redman and John R. Civille. Tanzania and Nyerere: A Study of Ujamaa and Nationhood, 1976.

Eriksen, Stein Sundstol. "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Development Planning in Tanzanian Local Governments." Third World Planning Review 19 (3): 251269, 1997.

Fivawo, Margaret. "Community Response to Malaria: Muhezae District, Tanzania 19831984: A Study in Cultural Adaptation." Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 21: 1151, 1993.

Goodall, Jane. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior, 1986.

Heggenhougen, Kris, Patrick Vaughan, Eustace P. Y. Muhondwa, and J. Rutabanzibwa-Ngaiza. Community Health Workers: The Tanzanian Experience, 1987.

Heilman, Bruce. "Who Are the Indigenous Tanzanians? Competing Conceptions of Tanzanian Citizenship in the Business Community." Africa Today 45 (34): 369387, 1998.

Kimambo, I. N., and A. J. Temu, eds. A History of Tanzania, 1969.

Knappert, Jan. East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda, 1987.

Lugalla, Joe L. P. "Development, Change, and Poverty in the Informal Sector during the Era of Structural Adjustments in Tanzania." Canadian Journal of African Studies 31: 3, 1997.

Kwesigabo, G., J. Z. J. Killewo, A. Sandstrom, S. Winani, F. S. Mhalu, G. Biberfeld, and S. Wali. "Prevalence of HIV Infection among Hospital Patients in North West Tanzania." AIDS CARE 11 (1): 8793, 1999.

Mlozi, Malongo. "Urban Agriculture: Ethnicity, Cattle Raising, and Some Environmental Implications in the City of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania." African Studies Review 40 (3): 128, 1997.

Ofcansky, Thomas P., and Rodger Yeager, eds. Historical Dictionary of Tanzania, 1997.

Nyoni, Timothy S. "Foreign Aid and Economic Performance in Tanzania." World Development 26 (7): 12351240, 1998.

Phillipson, D. W. The Later Prehistory of Eastern and Southern Africa, 1977.

Polomé, Edgar, and C. P. Hill, eds. Language in Tanzania, 1980.

Pratt, Marion. "Useful Disasters: The Complexity of Response to Stress in Tropical Lake Ecosystems." Anthropologica (special issue), winter 1998.

Rugumamu, Severine M. Lethal Aid: The Illusion of Socialism and Self-Reliance in Tanzania, 1997.

Rutayuga, John B. K. "Assistance to AIDS Orphans within the Family/Kinship System and Local Institutions: A Program for East Africa." AIDS Education and Prevention, fall 1992 supplement, 5768.

Seppala, Pekka, and Bertha Koda. The Making of a Periphery: Economic Development and Cultural Encounters in Southern Tanzania, 1998.

Sofoluwe, G. O., R. Schram, and D. A. Ogunmekan. Principles and Practice of Public Health in Africa, vol. 1, 1996.

Tripp, Aili Mari. Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Economy in Tanzania, 1997.

Waters,Tony. "Beyond Structural Adjustment: State and Market in a Rural Tanzanian Village." African Studies Review 40 (2): 5989, 1997.

Yeager, Rodger. Tanzania: An African Experiment, 2nd ed., 1989.

Yudkin, John S. "Tanzania: Still Optimistic after All These Years?" Lancet 353: 15191521, 1999.

Robert G. Carlson and Marion Pratt

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Countries and Their Cultures. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Countries and Their Cultures. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Countries and Their Cultures. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


Tanzania. Formerly Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Previously a German dependency, Tanganyika became a British mandated territory after the First World War. Having few natural resources, it proved unattractive to white settlers who were, in any case, unwelcome to British administrators because of the country's mandatory status. This, together with the absence of any dominant ethnic group with aspirations to hegemony, meant that the country developed peacefully, if unspectacularly. Its progress towards independence in 1961 was equally without serious incident. The following year Tanganyika became a republic with Julius Nyerere as president, and in 1964 joined with Zanzibar to become Tanzania.

Kenneth Ingham

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." The Oxford Companion to British History. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." The Oxford Companion to British History. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.




The people of Tanzania are called Tanzanians. Approximately 95 percent of Tanzanians may be roughly classified as Bantu peoples (including the Shambaa). Other major groups include the Nyamwezi, Chagga, Swahili, Maasai, Makonde, and Haya. The inhabitants of Zanzibar and Pemba are mostly descendants of mainland Africans or are of mixed African and Arab ancestry. Among non-Africans, there are about 70,000 Arabs, 40,000 Asians, and 10,000 Europeans in Tanzania.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


TanzaniaAchaea, aliyah, Almería, Apia, Bahía, Caesarea, Cassiopeia, Chaldea, Cytherea, Euboea, foreseer, freer, galleria, gynaecea, Iphigenia, Kampuchea, kea, keyer, Latakia, Leah, Lucia, Nicaea, Nicosia, onomatopoeia, Oriya, Pangaea, Pantelleria, pharmacopoeia, pizzeria, ria, rupiah, sangría, seer, sharia, Shia, skier, spiraea (US spirea), Tanzania, taqueria, Tarpeia, Thea, trachea, trattoria, urea •sightseer

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tanzania." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Tanzania." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . (July 10, 2018).

"Tanzania." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.