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Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities.


Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique

Geographic coordinates:

6 00 S, 35 00 E


total: 945,087 sq km
land: 886,037 sq km
water: 59,050 sq km
note: includes the islands of Mafia, Pemba, and Zanzibar

Land boundaries:

total: 3,861 km
border countries: Burundi 451 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 459 km, Kenya 769 km, Malawi 475 km, Mozambique 756 km, Rwanda 217 km, Uganda 396 km, Zambia 338 km


1,424 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


varies from tropical along coast to temperate in highlands


plains along coast; central plateau; highlands in north, south

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kilimanjaro 5,895 m

Natural resources:

hydropower, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel

Land use:

arable land: 4.23%
permanent crops: 1.16%
other: 94.61% (2005)

Irrigated land:

1,840 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

flooding on the central plateau during the rainy season; drought

Environment - current issues:

soil degradation; deforestation; desertification; destruction of coral reefs threatens marine habitats; recent droughts affected marginal agriculture; wildlife threatened by illegal hunting and trade, especially for ivory

Geography - note:

Kilimanjaro is highest point in Africa; bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest


note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 43.7% (male 8,204,593/female 8,176,489)
15-64 years: 53.6% (male 9,906,446/female 10,178,066)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 422,674/female 557,124) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 17.7 years
male: 17.5 years
female: 18 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.83% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

37.71 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

16.39 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-3.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 96.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 105.64 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 87.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 45.64 years
male: 44.93 years
female: 46.37 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.97 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

8.8% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

1.6 million (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

160,000 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, Rift Valley fever and plague are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2005)


noun: Tanzanian(s)
adjective: Tanzanian

Ethnic groups:

mainland - native African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar - Arab, native African, mixed Arab and native African


mainland - Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%; Zanzibar - more than 99% Muslim


Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources, including Arabic and English, and it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages


definition: age 15 and over can read and write Kiswahili (Swahili), English, or Arabic
total population: 78.2%
male: 85.9%
female: 70.7% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: United Republic of Tanzania
conventional short form: Tanzania
former: United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar

Government type:



Dar es Salaam; note - legislative offices have been transferred to Dodoma, which is planned as the new national capital; the National Assembly now meets there on regular basis

Administrative divisions:

26 regions; Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Manyara, Mara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Pemba North, Pemba South, Pwani, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga, Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North, Zanzibar Urban/West


26 April 1964; Tanganyika became independent 9 December 1961 (from UK-administered UN trusteeship); Zanzibar became independent 19 December 1963 (from UK); Tanganyika united with Zanzibar 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; renamed United Republic of Tanzania 29 October 1964

National holiday:

Union Day (Tanganyika and Zanzibar), 26 April (1964)


25 April 1977; major revisions October 1984

Legal system:

based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts limited to matters of interpretation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Bunge (274 seats - 232 elected by popular vote, 37 allocated to women nominated by the president, 5 to members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives; members serve five-year terms); note - in addition to enacting laws that apply to the entire United Republic of Tanzania, the Assembly enacts laws that apply only to the mainland; Zanzibar has its own House of Representatives to make laws especially for Zanzibar (the Zanzibar House of Representatives has 50 seats, directly elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 14 December 2005 (next to be held NA December 2010)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CCM 206, CUF 19, CHADEMA 5, other 2, women appointed by the president 37, Zanzibar representatives 5; Zanzibar House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CCM 30, CUF 19; 1 seat was nullified with a rerun to take place soon

Judicial branch:

Permanent Commission of Enquiry (official ombudsman); Court of Appeal (consists of a chief justice and four judges); High Court (consists of a Jaji Kiongozi and 29 judges appointed by the president; holds regular sessions in all regions); District Courts; Primary Courts (limited jurisdiction and appeals can be made to the higher courts)

Economy - overview:

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for almost half of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's out-of-date economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty. Long-term growth through 2005 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals, led by gold. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported real GDP growth of more than 6% in 2005.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$26.85 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$11.62 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

6.8% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$700 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 43.2%
industry: 17.2%
services: 39.6% (2004 est.)

Labor force:

19.22 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (2002 est.)

Population below poverty line:

36% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 30.1% (1993)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

38.2 (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

19.5% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $2.235 billion
expenditures: $2.669 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

5% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), cashew nuts, tobacco, cloves, corn, wheat, cassava (tapioca), bananas, fruits, vegetables; cattle, sheep, goats


agricultural processing (sugar, beer, cigarettes, sisal twine); diamond, gold, and iron mining, salt, soda ash; cement, oil refining, shoes, apparel, wood products, fertilizer

Industrial production growth rate:

8.4% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production:

3.152 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

2.959 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

28 million kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

22,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

22.65 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

Current account balance:

-$508 million (2005 est.)


$1.581 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

gold, coffee, cashew nuts, manufactures, cotton

Exports - partners:

India 8.9%, Spain 8.2%, Netherlands 6.4%, Japan 5.7%, UK 4.9%, China 4.7%, Kenya 4.6% (2004)


$2.391 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

consumer goods, machinery and transportation equipment, industrial raw materials, crude oil

Imports - partners:

South Africa 12.6%, China 7.8%, India 6.3%, Kenya 5.4%, UAE 5.3%, US 4.8%, UK 4.6% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.335 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$7.95 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$1.2 billion (2001)

Currency (code):

Tanzanian shilling (TZS)

Fiscal year:

1 July - 30 June

Telephones - main lines in use:

149,100 (2003)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

1.64 million (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: fair system operating below capacity and being modernized for better service; very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system under construction
domestic: trunk service provided by open-wire, microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, and fiber-optic cable; some links being made digital
international: country code - 255; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 12, FM 11, shortwave 2 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

3 (1999)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

9,241 (2005)

Internet users:

333,000 (2005)


123 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 11
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 112
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 61
under 914 m: 33 (2005)


gas 29 km; oil 866 km (2004)


total: 3,690 km
narrow gauge: 969 km 1.067-m gauge; 2,721 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)


total: 78,891 km
paved: 6,808 km
unpaved: 72,083 km (2003)


Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, and Lake Nyasa principal avenues of commerce with neighbouring countries; rivers not navigable (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 10 ships (1000 GRT or over) 25,838 GRT/33,745 DWT
by type: cargo 2, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 4
registered in other countries: 1 (Honduras 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, Zanzibar City

Military branches:

Tanzanian People's Defense Force (JWTZ): Army, Naval Wing, Air Defense Command (includes Air Wing), National Service

Disputes - international:

disputes with Malawi over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 443,706 (Burundi) 153,474 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) 3,036 (Somalia) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

growing role in transshipment of Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin and South American cocaine destined for South African, European, and US markets and of South Asian methaqualone bound for southern Africa; money laundering remains a problem