total: 947,300 sq km
land: 885,800 sq km
water: 61,500 sq km
total: 4,161 km
Burundi 589 km,
The Democratic Republic of the Congo 479 km,
Kenya 775 km,
Malawi 512 km,
Mozambique 840 km,
Rwanda 222 km,
Uganda 391 km,
Zambia 353 km
Coastline: 1,424 km
Total: 5585 km
varies from tropical along coast to temperate in highlands
plains along coast; central plateau;
highlands in north, south
mean elevation: 1,018 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kilimanjaro 5,895 m (highest point in Africa)
hydropower, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel
agricultural land: 43.7%
arable land 14.3%; permanent crops 2.3%; permanent pasture 27.1%
other: 19% (2011 est.)
1,840 sq km (2012)
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
flooding on the central plateau during the rainy season; drought
volcanism: limited volcanic activity; Ol Doinyo Lengai (2,962 m) has emitted lava in recent years;
People and Society
Tanzania has the largest population in East Africa and the lowest population density; almost a third of the population is urban. Tanzania’s youthful population – about two-thirds of the population is under 25 – is growing rapidly because of the high total fertility rate of 4.8 children per woman. Progress in reducing the birth rate has stalled, sustaining the country’s nearly 3% annual growth. The maternal mortality rate has improved since 2000, yet it remains very high because of early and frequent pregnancies, inadequate maternal health services, and a lack of skilled birth attendants – problems that are worse among poor and rural women. Tanzania has made strides in reducing under-5 and infant mortality rates, but a recent drop in immunization threatens to undermine gains in child health. Malaria is a leading killer of children under 5, while HIV is the main source of adult mortality.
For Tanzania, most migration is internal, rural to urban movement, while some temporary labor migration from towns to plantations takes place seasonally for harvests. Tanzania was Africa’s largest refugee-hosting country for decades, hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Great Lakes region, primarily Burundi, over the last fifty years. However, the assisted repatriation and naturalization of tens of thousands of Burundian refugees between 2002 and 2014 dramatically reduced the refugee population. Tanzania is increasingly a transit country for illegal migrants from the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region who are heading to southern Africa for security reasons and/or economic opportunities. Some of these migrants choose to settle in Tanzania.
According to most reputable surveys, Tanzania’s population includes more than 120 different indigenous African peoples, most of whom are today clustered into larger groupings. Because of the effects of rural-to-urban migration, modernization, and politicization, some of the smallest ethnic groups are gradually disappearing.
mainland – African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar – Arab, African, mixed Arab and African
Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (the name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
Christian 61.4%, Muslim 35.2%, folk religion 1.8%, other 0.2%, unaffiliated 1.4%.
The indigenous population within Tanzania consists of more than 120 ethnic groups, none of which comprises more than 15 percent of the population. The larger groups, those having more than one million people, are Sukuma, Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Chagga. Most of these large ethnic groups belong to the Bantu ethnolinguistic group. Other major groups include the nomadic Maasai and Luo, who are Nilotic peoples and are found in greater numbers in the neighboring country of Kenya. In addition, there are small Khoisan-speaking peoples, as well as Cushitic-speaking peoples, originally from the Ethiopian highlands.
Of the non-African population within Tanzania, the Shirazi’s, who trace their origins to the original Persian settlers, have lived on Zanzibar Island for centuries. In addition, there are numerically small but economically significant populations of East Asian Indians, Arabs, and Europeans in Tanzania. Part of Tanzania’s success in avoiding the ethnic divisions that have riven its neighbors has been Tanzania ’s strong emphasis on Kiswahili as a national language. Kiswahili is etymologically a Bantu language that has adopted many Arabic terms and conventions. As with most languages, Kiswahili has various sub-dialects, with several scattered throughout the country. On Zanzibar Island, for example, the sub-dialect of Kiswahili spoken there is known as Kiunguja. However, the emphasis on Kiswahili has not prevented the spread of English.
English is considered a quasi-official language and is the primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education. Because of the uneven quality of instruction in most schools, English ability still lags far behind Kiswahili virtually everywhere in Tanzania. Arabic is also widely spoken in the coastal region and select urban areas. In terms of religion, Christianity and Islam are the predominant religions, although indigenous beliefs and other faiths, such as Hinduism, are also commonly practiced.
Roughly one-third of the population is Muslim, the majority of whom are Sunni; the Shīʿite population of Tanzania includes an Ismāʿīlī community under the spiritual leadership of the Aga Khan. An additional one-third of Tanzanians profess Christianity, which in Tanzania includes Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Baptist sects. The remainder of the population is considered to hold traditional beliefs. The division is usually not as clear as official statistics suggest since many rural Tanzanians adhere to elements of their indigenous religious practice.
The education system is based 2 years of pre-primary school, 7 years of primary school, 4 years of ordinary secondary school (ordinary level), 2 years of advanced secondary school (advanced level) and at least 3 years of higher education. Primary education lasts 7 years and ends with the Primary School Leaving Examination. However, this examination does not lead to a certificate. Pupils are admitted to secondary education or vocational training centers on the basis of their results. Secondary education comprises both an ordinary level and an advanced level. The ordinary level comprises forms 1 through 4, while the advanced level comprises forms 5 and 6. By the end of these levels, pupils take examinations for the Certificate of Secondary Education and Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education, respectively. Pupils to have achieved a satisfactory result for the Certificate of Secondary Education.
Examinations for the Certificate of Secondary Education and Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education are administered nationally. In order to obtain the Certificate of Secondary Education, students must take examinations in at least 7 subjects. Examination results are expressed in letters, whereby the letters A through D represents a passing grade. In order to obtain an Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education, pupils are generally required to study 3 subjects. Examination results are expressed in letters, whereby the letters A through E represent a passing grade (principal pass), S represents a subsidiary pass (insufficient for a pass at ACSE level, but adequate for a pass at CSE level) and F represents a fail.
In addition to the option of transferring to advanced secondary education, pupils at ordinary secondary school level may also continue studying within secondary vocational education. In Tanzania, secondary vocational education is offered at various vocational training centers. These institutions offer study programmes in various technical and vocational fields, for instance, programmes for students who want to become carpenters, electricians or plumbers. These programmes generally conclude after 2 or 3 years with traditional examinations that lead to various diplomas or certificates. may then attempt to obtain an Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education.
Higher education is offered at 28 universities, 19 university colleges and various training colleges and institutes. The higher education system is divided into non-university level and university level studies. The number of non-university level institutions (technical, vocational and professional schools) has increased significantly over the past few years. These institutions are overseen by the responsible ministries. They are authorized to issue various qualifications, ranging from certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas to postgraduate diplomas. These qualifications offer access to bachelor’s and master’s programmes, depending on their level.
Universities and university colleges offer both academic and higher professional education. These institutions offer degree programmes and non-degree programmes, leading to an academic degree or other qualification. These comprise the bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree; the non-degree qualifications comprise certificates and diplomas. The universities are authorized to independently award academic degrees. The structure of the higher education system is divided into an undergraduate and postgraduate phase. Undergraduate education leads to the attainment of a bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate education leads to the attainment of a master’s degree or doctorate degree or postgraduate diploma.
The economy of Tanzania has demonstrated resilience in the face of a weakening global economy. With an average annual growth rate of 6.9 percent during the period from 2010 to 2017, the United Republic of Tanzania is one of the fastest growing economies in Eastern Africa. Economic growth, which is estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics to have reached 7.1 percent in 2015, has been driven by a strong performance in the information and communication sectors, public administration and defense, financial and insurance, mining, and quarrying. Notwithstanding the rapid economic growth, important vulnerabilities remain. Minerals account for nearly one-third of exports, which leaves the country exposed to fluctuations in commodity prices. Much greater progress is required to achieve the structural transformation of the economy, as 66.3 percent of the workforce remains employed in agriculture.
Tanzania ranked between 151st and 152nd in the human development index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for every year from 2010 to 2017. While the incidence of poverty has fallen under the Second National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (Mpangowa Piliwa Kukuza Uchumina Kuondoa Umaskini Tanzania, MKUKUTA II), progress has not been even throughout the country: for example, the proportion of the population living below the basic needs poverty line1 has fallen to 4.1 per cent in Dar es Salaam but remains at 33.3 per cent in rural areas. This spatial variance in development, combined with a rapidly urbanizing population, presents a challenge for addressing inequality.
Part of the discrepancy between economic and social progress is due to the way in which the United Republic of Tanzania is achieving growth. As will be discussed in subsequent sections, the most labor-intensive sectors have not been growing as rapidly as other sectors. In particular, the agricultural sector, which includes forestry and fishing, grew by only 3.2 pe cent on average per year between 2010 and 2014 on the Tanzanian mainland. In Zanzibar, the growth rate was 2.5 percent (ECA calculations, using data from the Bank of Tanzania, 2015f). In section 5.1 suggestions are made for ways in which this situation might be improved through a more inclusive industrial policy
The country distinguishes itself in the region for consistently recording a trade surplus in services, driven mostly by tourism receipts. However, the current account deficit, at 10.4 pe cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, is still large (Bank of Tanzania, 2015b). Steadily rising domestic demand has been the principal source of growth over the last decade, rather than export expansion or import substitution, a feature shared by many economies in the region
Tanzania is a member of two regional economic communities, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It is the only member of EAC to belong simultaneously to SADC, something which has occasionally been at the root of divergences of opinion and policy between the United Republic of Tanzania and other EAC member States.
The economy continues to be strongly influenced by the performance of the agriculture sector. Although it only contributes 23 percent of gross value added, the sector employs the bulk of the labor force (62 percent) and is closely linked with other subsectors (such as agro-processing). Growth in the agricultural sector has been disappointing relative to other sectors. Annual average growth between 2010 and 2014 was 3.2 percent on the mainland and 2.5 percent on Zanzibar, much lower than the national growth rate of 6.9 percent over the same period. Perhaps of greatest concern is the sector’s continued reliance on favorable weather conditions, as planned investments in irrigation are proceeding slowly. This weakness leaves the economy highly exposed to unfavorable weather conditions resulting from climate change.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$162.8 billion (2017 est.)
$152.9 billion (2016 est.)
$143 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$51.61 billion (2017 est.)
GDP – real growth rate:
6.5% (2017 est.)
7% (2016 est.)
7% (2015 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP):
$3,300 (2017 est.)
$3,100 (2016 est.)
$3,000 (2015 est.)
Gross national saving:
19.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
23% of GDP (2016 est.)
24.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
services: 47.6% (2017 est.)
Agriculture – products:
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.
Population below poverty line:
22.8% (2015 est.)
revenues: $7.872 billion
expenditures: $9.271 billion (2017 est.)
Tanzania is endowed with enough fertile arable land, diverse climatic zones and plenty of water sources all across the country. However, only 24% out of about 44 million hectares of the total land area suitable for Agriculture is utilized, mainly by smallholder farmers cultivating average farm sizes of between 0.9 hectares and 3.0 hectares using traditional cultivation methods. Only 10 % of the arable land is plowed by tractor and production is determined by rainfall. Both crops and livestock are adversely affected by periodical droughts. Small-scale farmers lack capital, skills and can only manage to cultivate for subsistence.
Contribution to the economy & performance Agriculture is one of the leading sectors in Tanzania’s economy. It contributes substantially to the GDP, accounts for about one-fifth of the foreign earnings and supports the livelihoods of more than two-thirds of the population. It has forward linkages with the non-farm sector through agro-processing, consumption, and export; provides raw materials to industries and a market for manufactured goods. Since 1985, the country’s overall agricultural GDP has grown at an average annual rate of 3.3% while the country’s main food crops have been growing at 3.5% annually and its export crops at 5.4% annually.
The major staples include maize, sorghum, millet, rice, wheat, pulses (mainly beans), cassava, potatoes, bananas, and plantains. Among food crops, cereals are the major crops grown in Tanzania. The area planted with cereals 4,798,071 hectares represents 61% of the total planted area followed by roots and tubers 14%, pulses 12% and oilseeds 7%. Among cereals, maize production is higher than any other cereal in Tanzania with a total production of over 75% of total cereal produced. Production patterns oscillate dramatically, according to the shifting weather conditions in a given harvest year. Tanzania’s average yields for maize and rice are far below the African average. Low productivity of cereals in Tanzania is attributed to dependency on rain-fed agriculture and low usage of fertilizer, improved seeds, and pesticides.
Cash Crops Principal export crops include coffee, tea, cotton, cashews, sisal, oilseeds, horticultural crops, pyrethrum, fresh cut flowers, cloves, and spices. In terms of agricultural exports, coffee constitutes the most important cash crop. Recent reports have indicated that coffee accounted for 17.7% of Tanzania’s total agricultural exports in 2009/ 2010. Cotton was the second most important cash crop, followed by cashew nuts, tobacco, tea, and sisal. In Zanzibar, the major cash crop is cloves, 90 % 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.
Livestock production is one of the major agricultural activities in Tanzania. The sub-sector contributes to the national food supply, converts rangelands resources into products suitable for human consumption and is a source of cash incomes and an inflation-free store of value. It provides about 30 % of the Agricultural GDP and livelihood to an estimated 1,745,776 households. Out of the sub sector’s contribution to GDP, about 40 % originates from beef production, 30 % from Milk production and another 30 % from poultry and small stock production. Livestock production originates from a large resource base composed of the different livestock species, breeds, and types whose ownership and distribution differ from region to region. Investment plans in irrigation, merchandise, research development, and use of improved agricultural inputs will expect to improve agricultural production.
population without electricity: 37,400,000
electrification – total population: 24%
electrification – urban areas: 71%
electrification – rural areas: 4% (2013)
Electricity – production:
6.025 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – consumption:
4.976 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity – imports:
71 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – installed generating capacity:
1.187 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity – from fossil fuels:
46% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity – from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Telephones – fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 129,597
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones – mobile cellular:
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 74 (July 2016 est.)
Internet country code:
percent of population: 13.0% (July 2016 est.)
Manufacturing and Industries
The manufacturing sector in Tanzania remains relatively small, with most activities concentrating on the creation of simple consumer products such as foods, beverages, tobacco, textiles, furniture, and wood allied products. In spite of its declining size, however, the sector continues to be of considerable importance to the Tanzania economy as is still one of the most reliable sources of government revenue in terms of import sales as well as for both corporate and income taxes, accounting for over half of the annual government revenue collection.
The contribution of the manufacturing sector to the overall GDP of the country has averaged 8% over the last decade, however, activities within the sector have been registering an annual growth of over 4% and the sector is currently the third most important to the Tanzania economy behind agriculture and tourism. In 1986, the Tanzania government made the decision to liberalize trade and investment policies within the country. As a result of this decision and because they could not stand up to competition from import manufacturers, many firms began to fail. Therefore, with this in mind, a number of measures were taken to increase both the competitiveness of the local industries and their ability to penetrate the export markets.
The mining industry has experienced an estimated 8.5% growth in 2017 to stand at an estimated valued of US$ 960m, compared to last year’s growth of 3.09% and a value of US$ 880m. One of the largest mining companies in the country, Acacia Mining which operated in Bulyanhulu, Buzwagi and Northern Mara, recently announced a projected 40% y-o-y increase in gold output in 2017 which is expected to bring about a 3.6% growth in the sector. However, the forthcoming closure of its Buzwagi Gold Mine operations is predicted to affect the market growth projections in the short term.
Key factors in the growth of Manufacturing Industry are the growing MVA per capita, MVA as percentage of GDP, share in total manufacturing employment, the emergence of new firms, products, and market penetration, rising sales, and revenues or business profitability, expansion in exports, increase in labor and employment and the acquisition of new product technologies.
The situation of Tanzania the manufacturing production, consumption, import and export with prices and market trends, government regulations, growth forecast, major companies, upcoming companies, and projects are seemingly improving. In the 2017/18 budget, the Government has indicated that it will implement a 1% of value clearing fee for all minerals being exported out of the country. Clearinghouses will be established at appropriate areas including airports and mining areas to facilitate the verification of minerals and collection of fees.
Industrialization in Tanzania is mainly focused in the processing of agricultural foods. Tanzania has a vision 2025, which aims at having at least 40% of the GDP contributed by the manufacturing sector by 2025. According to Tanzania Invest, so far the manufacturing sector contributes 13.25% to the country’s GDP, with constant growth over the past few years. Initiatives to improve the manufacturing industry have already begun. In July 2016, the Chinese Government agreed to invest US$ 100m to build a tile plant in Mkiu village. The plant is set to directly employ 1,500 Tanzanians and 3,000 indirectly. Additionally, in September 2016, the pension fund NSSF disbursed US$ 2.1m to the Tanzania Biotech Product Limited 12 in Kibaha, for production expansion. In October 2016, a fruit processing factory was launched under the Bakhresa group which will employ at least 1,000 Tanzanians. Through the ministry of agriculture, livestock, and fisheries, the Government plans to spend Tshs 150.2bn to finance agricultural development projects.
Banking and Finance
The Tanzania banking sector embarked on a plan for financial liberalization in 1992 in order to sustain its economic growth. This has been accomplished through the mobilization of financial resources as well as by increasing competition in the financial market and by enhancing the quality and efficiency of credit allocation. As a result of the liberalization, the banking sector in Tanzania has been booming, particularly over the last few years. The total assets have increased by 60%, from $ 1.7 billion at the end of 1999 to $ 2.7 billion at the end of June 2004.
In Tanzania, 90% of deposits are in the hands of eight banking institutions, namely three local banks and five foreign banks. The two groups are characterized by very different market strategies and corporate structures. While local banks are more diffused within the national territory, with larger and more capillary branch networks, foreign banks have only a few branches based in Dar es Salaam and other major cities. Local private banks service small to medium size business and retail banking. Regional banks also service small to medium and retail banking business, but on a larger national scale. International banks, which benefit from an African regional network, are positioned to mediate the business flows from their respective countries. Finally, the multinational banks are mainly dedicated to medium and large corporation banking and to donor intermediation business.
Improved Vitality of the Tanzania Banking Sector Following the liberalization of economic policy, the vibrant Tanzania banking sector is consistently attracting foreign financial institutions to enter the market. The latest entry in the Indian Bank of Baroda, which opened its first branch in Dar es Salaam at the end of 2004. At the same time, local financial institutions exemplified by Twiga Bancorp, are developing and expanding, with some of them acquiring status as a full-fledged financial institution. The total amount of funds managed by the banking and non-banking institutions are estimated at little more than 26% of GDP. However, the outlook for the banking industry in Tanzania is very positive and there are appealing opportunities for newcomers to the sector.
Impediments to the Growth of the Tanzania Banking Sector The sector remains affected by structural impediments and anomalies including excess liquidity, the conservative investment portfolio of the banks and financial institutions with a large set of assets kept in government securities, the inadequacy of the legal framework and the absence of a widespread loan repayment culture. The introduction of identity cards is also underway, as well as the reform of the administrative and judiciary systems. It is worth noting the ongoing decline of excess liquidity over the past four years, along with the banks’ investments in government securities, as well as the significant results of the increased market liberalization and competition within the sector. Regarding efforts to combat the widespread loan non-repayment culture, several banks have introduced character-based lending or group lending.
Overall the Tanzania banking sector is booming, indeed. Some structural impediments limit the pace of development in the sector, but such issues are being addressed and tackled by the government. At the same time, private banks are assuming more risks by increasing their financing to sectors that had formally been excluded and they are taking advantage of the investment opportunities arising in this growing economy. This country has a population of about 53 million people, and only 5 million people are banking. Within this framework, the Central Bank continues to play a crucial role. While the Bank is criticized for excessively restrictive precautionary banking regulations, it is also praised for the implementation of successful monetary policies and for having brought down inflation to acceptable levels so that both the Tanzania banking sector and the national economy have greatly benefited.
Tanzania’s rapidly expanding tourism sector continues to be a source of great economic promise. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, serves as a major tourist attraction, as does the country’s network of national parks, reserves, including the 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq mi) Serengeti National Park, famed for its profusion of wildlife. and conservation areas, which together span some one-fourth of the country. Tanzania’s beaches and coral reefs are also attractive to tourists, and the government has increasingly marketed its coastline and encouraged diving and snorkeling there. Neighboring Kenya supplies the vast majority of visitors to Tanzania, many of whom visit the country on short day trips. By the early 2000s, tourism accounted for almost one-fifth of the gross domestic product, while the services sector, on the whole, accounted for almost two-fifths.
Travel and tourism contributed 17.5 percent of Tanzania’s gross domestic product in 2016 and employed 11.0 percent of the country’s labor force (1,189,300 jobs) in 2013. The sector is growing rapidly, rising from $1.74 billion in 2004 to $4.48 billion in 2013. In 2016, 1,284,279 tourists arrived at Tanzania’s borders compared to 590,000 in 2005. Tanzania’s tourism industry still has a potential to grow due to its safe and peaceful nature especially in places like Arusha and Mwanza. However, the introduction of the 18% VAT to all tourist activities poses a challenge to the growth potential of the sector, as well as terrorist threats of the neighboring country Burundi. BMI predicts a year on year growth rate of 6.4%, lower than the 7.2 growth rate in the total number of visitors that was observed in 2015.
Development in infrastructure also promises a growth within the tourism sector. Projects such as the expansion of the Julius Kambarage Nyerere International Airport, reviving of the Air Tanzania Company Limited, the Tanzania Zambia Railway as well as the Voi-Taveta road to be built between Tanzania and Kenya, will increase tourist access to the interiors of the country, and areas where tourists would otherwise not visit.
Tanzania boasts 16 national parks and is home to a large variety of animal life. Among the large mammals include the Big five, cheetahs, wildebeest, giraffes, hippopotamuses and various antelopes. Tanzania’s most well-known wildlife attractions are located in the northern part of the country and include the Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, and Lake Manyara National Park. The Serengeti National park encompasses the world-famous great migrations of animals is the most popular park in the country and saw more than 330,000 visitors in 2012
Mount Kilimanjaro is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the highest peak in Africa. The mountain now a dormant volcano rises approximately 4,877 meters (16,001 ft) from its base to 5,895 meters (19,341 ft) above sea level. The mountain is located in the north of the country on the border with Kenya in the town of Moshi and is accessible via Kilimanjaro International Airport.
The Zanzibar Archipelago is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. Also nicknamed spice island, the archipelago is home to kilometers of white sand beaches and a cultural fusion of multiple cultures. The capital Zanzibar City still preserves the ancient city of Stone Town, the former capital of the Sultanate of Zanzibar. The town is home to numerous historical and cultural sites, some dating back to the 15th century.
Tanzania is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites with 6 of them on the mainland and 1 in Zanzibar. Currently, there are 5 more sites viable to be nominated such as the Gombe National Park and the East African slave trade route.
Tanzania is home to some of the oldest hominid settlements unearthed by archaeologists. Prehistoric stone tools and fossils have been found in and around Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania, an area often referred to as “The Cradle of Mankind”. Acheulian stone tools were discovered there in 1931 by Louis Leakey after he had correctly identified the rocks brought back by Hans Reck to Germany from his 1913 Olduvai expedition as stone tools. The same year, Louis Leakey found older, more primitive stone tools in Olduvai Gorge. These were the first examples of the oldest human technology ever discovered in Africa and were subsequently known throughout the world as Oldowan after Olduvai Gorge.
The first hominid skull in Olduvai Gorge was discovered by Mary Leakey in 1959, and named Zinj or Nutcracker Man, the first example of Paranthropus Boisei, and is thought to be over 1.8 million years old. Other finds including Homo habilis fossils were subsequently made. Paleontologists Louis and Mary Leakey 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.
From oral history, archaeology, linguistic analysis, and anthropology, a certain amount can be deduced about the early history of Tanzania. The Olduvai Gorge has become known as the cradle of mankind and the era of Australopithecine man probably lasted several million years. The bones of two types of hominids from the Australopithecine era found there have provided evidence of human evolution. These are Zinjanthropus, the ‘Nutcracker Man’ and Homo habilis, the ‘Handy Man’. They lived together about 2 million years ago and until recently it was thought that Homo habilis, capable of using tools, evolved into Homo erectus, and then into the modern man – Homo sapiens.
But this is now under some debate as in 2001, in the Lake Turkana region of Kenya, a Homo erectus complete skull (1.4 million years old) was found within walking distance of an upper jaw of a Homo habilis (1.5 million years old). This proved that they must have lived in the region at the same time, and one theory now is that they have evolved from another, older common ancestor; a missing link that has not yet been found. By about 500,000 years ago Homo erectus was on the scene (somewhere between the Australopithecine and Homo sapiens eras). The brain was larger and the hands more nimble and therefore better at making tools. The development of tool-making is clearly seen at Olduvai Gorge. The different layers of rock contain tools of different ages, which show the development from crude tools to more efficient and sharper implements. Another collection of such tools can be found at Isimila near Iringa.
The Middle Stone Age saw the further development of hunter-gatherers who used tools and were advanced in human ingenuity and craftsmanship and the use of fire. Progress accelerated in the Late Stone Age, which began about 100,000 years ago, and there are a number of sites from this era in Tanzania, particularly well known because they are the locations of rock painting. The virtual disappearance of these people was a result of the migration and expansion of other people who were more numerous and more advanced. The most significant factor about these migrating people was that instead of being hunter-gatherers they were food producers – either by agriculture or by keeping livestock. They spoke the language of the Cushitic group (legendary biblical descendants of the Cush in Ethiopia, Somalia, and north Sudan) and came from the north from around 1000 BC onwards. They did not have iron-working skills and this meant that the efficiency of their agriculture was limited.
Early Iron Age and the Bantu
Sometime in the first half of the first millennium A.D. small groups of iron-using people, acquainted with agriculture, entered Tanzania and other parts of eastern and central Africa. Two groups migrated into the area. These were both Negroid but were of different linguistic groups – the Bantu from the west and the Nilo-Hamite pastoralists from the north. A process of ethnic assimilation followed and the Cushitic intermarried with the newcomers and adopted their languages. The Bantu possessed important iron-processing skills, which greatly improved agricultural efficiency and this enabled population growth. There was not one single migration but a series of waves of various groups, expanding and contracting, assimilating and adapting.
These people probably spoke Bantu languages, a set of tongues spoken in historical times by most Africans living south of the equator and by substantial numbers north of it. There is considerable agreement that the ultimate point of origin of their ancestors (the pre-Bantu) lies in western Africa (probably southern Nigeria and Cameroun). The location of later centers of dispersal remains in dispute, but there is no doubt that those entering Tanzania came initially from a westerly direction whatever their point of entry into the territory.
All but one of the authenticated and dated early Iron Age sites in Tanzania have been found in the north. Those west of Lake Victoria are apparently part of a series of related finds in the interlacustrine area: southern Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern Zaire; a similar site has been discovered on the other side of the lake at Urewe in Kenya. Another set of sites has been excavated in the foothills of the Pare and Usambara mountains in the northeast and in the Digo Hills between Tanga in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya.
The only dated early Iron Age site farther south is that at the Uvinza brine springs not far from the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika. The pottery there, however, resembles that found in Zambia rather than that turned up in the interlacustrine area to the north. Early Iron Age sites have not yet been discovered in southern Tanzania, but it may be assumed that Iron Age Bantu-speaking cultivators reached some part ‘of the area as they clearly did in northeastern-most Zambia immediately south of the Tanzanian border.
The early Iron Age Bantu, limited by the kinds of crops (mainly vegetables) available to them and apparently lacking cattle, settled chiefly in the moister, more easily worked areas. Those in the interlacustrine area stressed fishing rather than hunting as a supplementary source of food. All relied to some extent on gathering. It is unlikely that there was much contact or conflict between the Iron Age cultivators and the hunting and gathering groups on the one hand or the pastoralists on the other given what must have been a generally sparse population and the fact that each of these groups had adapted to somewhat different ecological conditions.
The most recent of the Nilotic migrations was by the Masai. By about the year 1800 they had reached the area around Dodoma where their advance was stopped by the Gogo and the Hehe. Their reputation as a warrior tribe meant that the north part of Tanzania was largely avoided by slave traders and caravan routes. As a result of these migrations north and central Tanzania has great ethnic diversity.
The Middle Ages
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 Ibadi 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.
The trading contacts between Arabia and the East African coast resulted in the establishment of numerous Asian and Arab trade settlements along the coast and in the interior of what is now the Tanzania mainland. The coastal trading centers were mainly Arab-controlled, and relations between the Arabs and their African neighbors appear to have been fairly friendly. After the arrival of the Portuguese in the late 15th century, the position of the Arabs was gradually undermined, but the Portuguese made little attempt to penetrate into the interior. They lost their foothold north of the Ruvuma River early in the 18th century as a result of an alliance between the coastal Arabs and the ruler of Muscat on the Arabian Peninsula. This alliance remained extremely tenuous, however, until French interest in the slave trade from the Tanganyikan coastal town of Kilwa revived the trade in 1776. This attention by the French aroused the sultan of Muscat’s interest in the economic possibilities of the East African coast, and a new Omani governor was appointed at Kilwa. For some time most of the slaves came from the Kilwa hinterland, and until the 19th century, any contact between the coast and the interior was due mainly to African caravans from the interior.
Sayyid Sa’id bin Sultan (the ruler of Oman during 1806–56), 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 Arrival of European
The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama explored the East African coast in 1498 on his voyage to India. By 1506, the Portuguese claimed control over the entire coast. This control was nominal, however, because the Portuguese did not colonize the area or explore the interior. Assisted by Omani Arabs, the indigenous coastal dwellers succeeded in driving the Portuguese from the area north of the Ruvuma River by the early 18th century. Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said (l804-56) moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1841. European exploration of the interior began in the mid-19th century. Two German missionaries reached Mt. Kilimanjaro in the 1840s.
In the 19th century missionaries of the Church Missionary Society, Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann, who in the late 1840s reached Kilimanjaro. It was a fellow missionary, Jakob Erhardt, whose famous “slug” map (showing, on Arab information, a vast shapeless inland lake) helped stimulate the interest of the British explorers Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke. They traveled from Bagamoyo to Lake Tanganyika in 1857–58, and Speke also saw Lake Victoria. This expedition was followed by Speke’s second journey, in 1860, in the company of J.A. Grant, to justify the former’s claim that the Nile River rose in Lake Victoria.
These primarily geographic explorations were followed by the activities of David Livingstone, who in 1866 set out on his last journey for Lake Nyasa. Livingstone’s object was to expose the horrors of the slave trade and, by opening up legitimate trade with the interior, to destroy the slave trade at its roots. Livingstone’s journey led to the later expeditions of H.M. Stanley and V.L. Cameron. Spurred on by Livingstone’s work as an example, a number of missionary societies began to take an interest in East Africa after 1860. German colonial interests were first advanced in 1884. Karl Peters, who formed the Society for German Colonization, concluded a series of treaties by which tribal chiefs in the interior accepted German “protection.” Prince Otto is von Bismarck’s government backed Peters in the subsequent establishment of the German East Africa Company.
In 1886 and 1890, Anglo-German agreements were negotiated that delineated the British and German spheres of influence in the interior of East Africa and along the coastal strip previously claimed by the Omani sultan of Zanzibar. The 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.
German rule was established quickly over Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, and Kilwa. The caravans of Tom von Prince, Wilhelm Langheld, Emin Pasha, and Charles Stokes were sent to dominate “the Street of Caravans.” The Abushiri Revolt of 1888 was put down with British help the following year. In 1890, London and Berlin concluded the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty, which returned Heligoland to Germany and decided the border between GEA and the East Africa Protectorate controlled by Britain, although the exact boundaries remained unsurveyed until 1910.
Between 1891 and 1894, the Hehe people, led by Chief Mkwawa, resisted German expansion. They were defeated because rival tribes supported the Germans. After years of guerrilla warfare, Mkwawa himself was cornered and committed suicide in 1898. The Maji Maji Rebellion occurred in 1905 and was put down by Governor Gustav Adolf von Götzen. Scandal soon followed, however, with allegations of corruption and brutality. In 1907, Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow appointed Bernhard Dernburg to reform the colonial administration.
German colonial administrators relied heavily on native chiefs to keep order and collect taxes. By 1 January 1914, aside from local police, the military garrisons of the Schutztruppen (protective troops) at Dar es Salaam, Moshi, Iringa, and Mahenge numbered 110 German officers (including 42 medical officers), 126 non-commissioned officers, and 2,472 Askari (native enlisted men). Like other colonial powers, the Germans expanded their empire in the Africa Great Lakes region, ostensibly to fight slavery and the slave trade. Unlike other imperial powers, however, they never formally abolished either, preferring instead to curtail the production of new “recruits” and regulate the existing slaving business
The Supreme Council of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference awarded all of German East Africa (GEA) to Britain on 7 May 1919, over the strenuous objections of Belgium. The British colonial secretary, Alfred Milner, and Belgium’s minister plenipotentiary to the conference, Pierre Orts, then negotiated the Anglo-Belgian agreement of 30 May 1919, where Britain ceded the north-western GEA provinces of Ruanda and Urundi to Belgium. The conference’s Commission on Mandates ratified this agreement on 16 July 1919. The Supreme Council accepted the agreement on 7 August 1919.
On 12 July 1919, the Commission on Mandates agreed that the small Kionga Triangle south of the Rovuma River would be given to Portugal, with it eventually becoming part of independent Mozambique. The commission reasoned that Germany had virtually forced Portugal to cede the triangle in 1894. The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 July 1919, although the treaty did not take effect until 10 January 1920. On that date, the GEA was transferred officially to Britain, Belgium, and Portugal. Also on that date, “Tanganyika” became the name of the British territory. During World War II, about 100,000 people from Tanganyika joined the Allied forces and were among the 375,000 Africans who fought with those forces. Tanganyikans fought in units of the King’s African Rifles during the East African Campaign in Somalia and Abyssinia against the Italians, in Madagascar against the Vichy French during the Madagascar Campaign, and in Burma against the Japanese during the Burma Campaign. Tanganyika was an important source of food during this war, and its export income increased greatly compared to the pre-war years of the Great Depression Wartime demand, however, caused increased commodity prices and massive inflation within the colony.
The Maji-Maji Rebellion
After the Scramble for Africa among the major European powers in the 1880s, Germany had reinforced its hold on several formal African colonies. These were German East Africa (now Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and part of Mozambique), German Southwest Africa (present-day Namibia), Cameroon, and Togoland. The Germans had a relatively weak hold on German East Africa. However, they did maintain a system of forts throughout the interior of the territory and were able to exert some control over it. Since their hold on the colony was weak, they resorted to using violently repressive tactics to control the population.
Germany began levying head taxes in 1898 and relied heavily on forced labor to build roads and accomplish various other tasks. In 1902, Carl Peters ordered villages to grow cotton as a cash crop. Each village was charged with producing a quota of cotton. The headmen of the village were left in charge of overseeing the production, which set them against the rest of the population.
The German policies were not only unpopular, as they had serious effects on the lives of the natives. The social fabric of society was being changed rapidly. The social roles of men and women were being changed to face the needs of the communities. Since men were forced away from their homes to work, women were forced to assume some of the traditional male roles. Also, the fact that men were away strained the resources of the village and the people’s ability to deal with their environment and remain self-sufficient. There was thus a lot of animosity against the government at this period. In 1905, a drought threatened the region. All that, as well as opposition to the government’s agricultural and labor policies, led to open rebellion against the Germans in July.
The insurgents turned to magic to drive out the German colonizers and used it as a unifying force in the rebellion. A spirit medium named Kinjikitile Ngwale claimed to be possessed by a snake spirit called Hongo. Ngwale began calling himself Bokaro and developed a belief that the people of German East Africa had been called upon to eliminate the Germans. German anthropologists recorded that he gave his follower’s war medicine that would turn German bullets into water. This “war medicine” was, in fact, water (maji in Kiswahili) mixed with castor oil and millet seeds. Empowered with this new liquid, Bokaro’s followers began what would become known as the Maji Maji Rebellion.
German troops, armed with machine guns, departed from Mahenge to the Ngoni camp, which they attacked on 21 October. The Ngoni soldiers retreated, throwing away their bottles of war medicine and crying, “The maji is a lie!” Upon the outbreak of the fighting, Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen, governor of German East Africa, had requested reinforcements from the German government. Kaiser Wilhelm immediately ordered two cruisers with their Marine complements to the troubled colony. Reinforcements also arrived from as far away as New Guinea. When 1,000 regular soldiers from Germany arrived in October, Götzen felt he could go on the offensive and restore order in the south.
Three brigade army moved into the rebellious South and started destroying villages, crops, and other food sources used by the rebels. They made effective use of their firepower to break up rebel attacks. A successful ambush of a German column crossing the Rufiji River by the Bena kept the rebellion alive in the southwest, but the Germans were not to be denied for long. By April 1906, the southwest had been pacified. However, elsewhere the fighting was bitter. The southeast campaign degenerated into a guerrilla war that brought with it a devastating famine. The war, which lasted from 1905 to 1907, resulted in 250,000–300,000 total dead. The end of the war was followed by a period of famine, known as the Great Hunger (njaa), caused in large part by the scorched-earth policy advocated by Gustav Adolf von Götzen.
The British Mandate: 1919-1962
After the end of the war the treaty of Versailles, in 1919, grants Britain a League of Nations mandate to govern the former German East Africa – which now acquires a new name, Tanganyika. British policy from the 1920s onwards is to encourage indigenous African administration along traditional lines, through local councils and courts. Sir Horace Byatt, administrator of the captured territory and, from 1920 to 1924, first British governor and commander in chief of Tanganyika Territory (as it was then renamed), enforced a period of recuperation before new development plans were set in motion. A Land Ordinance (1923) ensured that African land rights were secure. Sir Donald Cameron, governor from 1925 to 1931, infused a new vigour into the country. He reorganized the system of native administration by the Native Authority Ordinance (1926) and the Native Courts Ordinance (1929).
In the 1930s, there were persistent fears that Tanganyika might be handed back to Germany in response to demands by Adolf Hitler—then chancellor of Germany—for overseas possessions. At the outbreak of World War II, Tanganyika’s main task was to make itself as independent as possible of imported goods. Inevitably the retrenchment evident in the 1930s became still more severe, and, while prices for primary products soared, the value of money depreciated proportionately. Tanganyika’s main objective after the war was to ensure that its program for economic recovery and development went ahead. The continuing demand for primary produce strengthened the country’s financial position.
During the 1950s a likely future leader of Tanganyika emerges in the person of Julius Nyerere. Son of a chief, a convert to Roman Catholicism while studying at Makerere college in Uganda, then an undergraduate for three years in Edinburgh University, Nyerere returns to Tanganyika in 1953. He immediately founds a political party, TANU or the Tanganyika African National Union (evolving it from an earlier and defunct Tanganyika African Association). In 1953 Julius Nyerere was elected president of the Tanganyika African Association (TAA), an organization made up mainly of African civil servants, which had been formed in Dar es Salaam in 1929. In early 1954 Nyerere and his associates transformed the TAA from a social organization to a political one, and later the same year the TAA became the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), with the stated aims of self-government and independence. From the start, its members feature prominently in elections to the legislative assembly. When independence follows, in 1961, Nyerere becomes the new nation’s prime minister. In 1962 Tanganyika adopts a republican constitution and Nyerere is elected president.
In 1947, Tanganyika became a United Nations trust territory under British control. It’s geography, topography, climate, geopolitics, patterns of settlement and history made Tanganyika the most significant of all UN Trust Territories. But two-thirds of the population lived in one-tenth of the territory because of water shortages, soil erosion, unreliable rainfall, tsetse fly infestations, and poor communications and transportation infrastructures.
In 1957, only 15 towns had over 5,000 inhabitants, with the capital Dar es Salaam having the nation’s highest population of 128,742. Tanganyika was a multi-racial territory, which made it unique in the trusteeship world. Its total non-African population in 1957 was 123,310 divided as follows: 95,636 Asians and Arabs (subdivided as 65,461 Indians, 6,299 Pakistanis, 4,776 Goans, and 19,100 Arabs), 3,114 Somalis, and 3,782 “colored” and “other” individuals. The white population, which included the Europeans (British, Italians, Greeks, and Germans) and white South Africans, totaled 20,598 individuals. Tanganyika’s ethnic and economic makeup posed problems for the British. Their policy was geared toward ensuring the continuance of the European presence as necessary to support the country’s economy. But the British also had to remain responsive to the political demands of the Africans.
Many Africans were government servants, business employees, laborers, and producers of important cash crops during this period. But the vast majority were subsistence farmers who produced barely enough to survive. The standards of housing, clothing, and other social conditions were “equally quite poor.” The Asians and Arabs were the middle class and tended to be wholesale and retail traders. The white populations were missionaries, professional and government servants, and owners and managers of farms, plantations, mines, and other businesses. White farmers were of primary importance as producers of exportable agricultural crops.
Britain, through its colonial officer David Gordon Hines, encouraged the development of farming co-operatives to help convert subsistence farmers to cash husbandry. The subsistence farmers sold their produce to Indian traders at poor prices. By the early 1950s, there were over 400 co-operatives nationally. Co-operatives formed “unions” for their areas and developed cotton ginneries, coffee factories, and tobacco dryers. A major success for Tanzania was the Moshi coffee auctions that attracted international buyers after the annual Nairobi auctions.
The UN and the Africans who used the UN to achieve their purposes were very influential in driving Tanganyika towards independence. The Africans attended public gatherings in Tanganyika with UN representatives. There were peasants, urban workers, government employees, and local chiefs and nobles who personally approached the UN about local matters needing immediate action. And finally, there were Africans at the core of the political process who had the power to mold the future. Their goal was a political advancement for Africans, with many supporting the nationalist movement, which had its roots in the African Association (AA). It was formed in 1929 as a social organization for African government servants in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The AA was renamed the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) in 1948 and ceased being concerned with events in Zanzibar.
Beginning in 1954, African nationalism centered on the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), which was a political organization formed by Julius Nyerere in that year as the successor to the TAA. The TANU won the Legislative Council elections in 1958, 1959, and 1960, with Nyerere becoming chief minister after the 1960 election. Internal self-government started on 1 May 1961 followed by independence on 9 December 1961.