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Shortly after achieving independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule ended in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities. The formation of a government of national unity between Zanzibar's two leading parties succeeded in minimizing electoral tension in 2010.


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

Natural Resources

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

Population - distribution

the largest and most populous East African country; population distribution is extremely uneven, but greater population clusters occur in the northern half of country and along the east coast

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
DAR ES SALAAM (capital) 5.116 million; Mwanza 838,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
United Republic of Tanzania
Conventional short form
Local long form
Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania
Local short form
presidential republic
Geographic coordinates
6 48 S, 39 17 E
Time difference
UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Tanzania is one of the world's poorest economies in terms of per capita income, but has achieved high growth rates based on its vast natural resource wealth and tourism. GDP growth in 2009-16 averaged 6%-7% per year. Dar es Salaam used fiscal stimulus measures and easier monetary policies to lessen the impact of the global recession. Tanzania has largely completed its transition to a market economy, though the government retains a presence in sectors such as telecommunications, banking, energy, and mining.
External debt stocks
US$ 15,049,186,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -3,312,322,741
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 9,112,960,195
Exports of goods and services
US$ 8,330,765,277
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 1,960,581,620
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 3,709,986,448
coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), cashew nuts, tobacco, cloves, corn, wheat, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, fruits, vegetables; cattle, sheep, goats
agricultural processing (sugar, beer, cigarettes, sisal twine); mining (diamonds, gold, and iron), salt, soda ash; cement, oil refining, shoes, apparel, wood products, fertilizer
gold, coffee, cashew nuts, manufactures, cotton
India 21.8%, China 8.2%, Japan 5.1%, Kenya 4.6%, Belgium 4.3% (2015)
consumer goods, machinery and transportation equipment, industrial raw materials, crude oil
China 35.2%, India 13.7%, South Africa 4.5%, UAE 4.4%, Kenya 4.1% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is difficult. Corporate financial information is often unavailable and when available often unreliable. Debt collection is unpredictable. The institutional framework has many troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run major risks in the difficult environments rated C.
  • Mineral resources (gold)
  • Significant gas potential with off-shore reserves discovered since 2010
  • International support
  • Inadequate infrastructure, particularly in terms of energy (electricity) and transport
  • High dependence on the price of gold
  • Religious tensions between Zanzibar and the mainland, exacerbated in context of Constitutional reform

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