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
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
- 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
Growth is expected to stabilize in 2016 buoyed by infrastructure projects, in particular, the construction, begun in late 2015, of the port of Bagamoyo. Investment in the extractive sector linked to the plan for the exploitation of the gas reserves discovered in 2010, could, however, be slowed by the uncertainties surrounding changes in the legal framework applying the mining sector after the arrival of the new government in November 2015. Moreover, the fall in oil prices observed in 2015 and the unlikelihood of a rebound for 2016 could lead foreign companies to postpone their investment decisions. Services (trade, telecommunications and financial intermediation) are expected to remain dynamic. On the other hand, agricultural sector performances are more uncertain, in view of the expected consequences of the drought on crops.
Household demand is likely to be sustained by the increase in social spending announced by the new president, though price rises could limit the increase.
Low prices for the main export products (gold, cotton, coffee, cashew nuts), together with fairly low production of these products, are unlikely to allow exports to contribute positively to growth. Inflation is likely to be accentuated by higher food prices, which account for nearly half of the price index. Moreover, the appreciation of the shilling against the dollar could push up import costs.
The budget deficit is likely to increase slightly in 2016. As the fiscal year covers the period from July 2015 to June 2016, the measures announced by the new government at the end of 2015, aimed, in particular, at increasing revenues, cannot be implemented before second half of 2016. The fight against tax evasion and the reduction in exemptions will not in any case have any immediate effect. Current spending will remain high, given the promises made by the president on education in particular (free secondary education), health and infrastructures (energy, transport, agriculture), which were already among the priorities set by his predecessor. The reduction in aid (from 2.6% of GDP in 2013 to 1.6% in 2015) following, in particular, the freezing of flows from some donors as a result of a corruption case in the energy sector, is also likely to have an adverse effect on the public finances.
Government debt is rising steadily because of the financing needs linked to the infrastructure projects, but the preponderance of concessional loans reduces the risk of default.
The country’s current account deficit is very high as it imports twice as much as it exports. Export revenues from the gold (30% of the total) and agricultural sectors are not expected to rise in 2016, in the absence of a recovery in prices and production. At the same time, household demand and a considerable need for capital goods, chiefly for the development of the gas sector, are expected to drive up imports. Low oil prices (30% to 40% of imports) together with income from tourism income are likely to prevent too steep a fall in the balance of trade. The shilling, which had lost 25% of its value against the dollar between January and the end of June 2015, stabilized in the second half. The downward pressures are expected to continue in 2016 given the current account deficit and higher US interest rates, but probably less strongly than in 2015.
The October 2015 elections confirmed the predominance of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which won 185 of the 215 seats in parliament in an election which went off peacefully but the results of which were disputed by the opposition. The poll was moreover canceled on the island of Zanzibar because of allegations of vote rigging. John Magufuli, who succeeded Jakaya Kikwete, who was unable to secure a third term, must now complete the constitutional reform, a source of tensions in the country, in particular concerning a likely change in the status of Zanzibar. The historic score (40%) of the main opposition Chadema party is evidence that the CCM, of which expectations are high, is losing popularity. A failure to meet these expectations could be a source of social tension. Tanzania’s ranking on the World Bank’s governance indicators is generally comparable to that of its East African neighbors. But the country’s performances are worsening in terms of political stability (151st in 2015 against 115th in 2011) and especially in fighting corruption (162nd against 150th).