The United Republic of Tanzania (in swahili Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania) is a nation in central East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The country’s eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.
The United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic composed of 26 mikoa (regions). The current head of state is President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, elected in 2005. Since 1996, the official capital of Tanzania has been Dodoma, where parliament and some government offices are located. Between independence and 1996 the major coastal city of Dar es Salaam had been the country’s political capital. Today Dar es Salaam remains the principal commercial city of Tanzania and the de-facto seat of most government institutions. It is the major seaport for the country and its landlocked neighbours.
The name Tanzania is a portmanteau of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The two states united in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later the same year was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.
The economy is mostly based on agriculture, which accounts for more than half of the GDP, provides 85 percent (approximately) of exports, and employs approximately 80 percent of the workforce. Topography and climate, though, limit cultivated crops to only 4 percent of the land area.
The nation has many resources including gold and natural gas. Extraction of natural gas began in the 2000s. Gas is drawn into the commercial capital, Dar Es Salaam and exported to various markets overseas. Lack of overall development has hampered the extraction of these various resources, and even up to the present there has been effort to develop the natural resource sector but no major quantifiable results.
Industry is mainly limited to processing agricultural products and light consumer goods. Tanzania has vast amounts of natural resources including gold, diamonds, coal, iron ore, uranium, nickel, chrome, tin, platinum, coltan, niobium and other minerals. It is the third-largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana. Tanzania is also known for the Tanzanite gemstones. Tanzania has dozens of beautiful national parks like the world famous Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, that generate income with a large tourism sector that plays a vital part in the economy. Growth from 1991 to 1999 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals, led by gold. Commercial production of natural gas from the Songo Songo island in the Indian Ocean off the Rufiji Delta commenced 2004, the natural gas being pumped in a pipeline to the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, with the bulk of it being converted to electricity by the public utility and private operators. A new gas field is being brought on stream in Mnazi Bay.
Recent public sector and banking reforms, and revamped and new legislative frameworks have all helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Short-term economic progress also depends on curbing corruption.
Prolonged drought during the early years of the 21st century has severely reduced electricity generation capacity (some 60 percent of Tanzania’s electricity supplies are generated by hydro-electric methods). During 2006, Tanzania suffered a crippling series of “load-shedding” or power rationing episodes caused by a shortfall of generated power, largely because of insufficient hydro-electric generation. Plans to increase gas- and coal-fueled generation capacity are likely to take some years to implement, and growth is forecast to be increased to seven per cent per year, and perhaps eight or more.
There are 3 major airlines in Tanzania: the Air Tanzania Corporation; Precision Air, which provide local flights to Arusha, Kigoma, Mtwara, Mwanza, Musoma, Shinyanga, Zanzibar and regional flights to Kigali, Nairobi, Mombasa; and a third airline that provides only local flights. There are also several charter aeroplane firms. There are two railway companies: TAZARA caters for service between Dar-es-Salaam and Kapiri Mposhi, a district of the Central Province in Zambia. The other one is the Tanzania Railways Corporation, which provides services between Dar-es-Salaam and Kigoma, a town on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and between Dar-es-Salaam and Mwanza, a city on the shores of Lake Victoria. There is also a service across the Indian Ocean between Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar by several modern hydrofoil boats. Tanzania is part of the East African Community and a potential member of the planned East African Federation.
Regions and districts
Tanzania is divided into 26 regions (mkoa), twenty-one on the mainland and five in Zanzibar (three on Unguja, two on Pemba). Ninety-eight districts (wilaya), each with at least one council, have been created to further increase local authority; the councils are also known as local government authorities. Currently there are 114 councils operating in 99 districts; 22 are urban and 92 are rural. The 22 urban units are further classified as city councils (Dar es Salaam and Mwanza), municipal councils (Arusha, Dodoma, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Morogoro, Shinyanga, Tabora, and Tanga) or town councils (the remaining eleven communities).
Tanzania’s regions are: Arusha• DaresSalaam• 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• ZanzibarUrban/West
At 945,087km²,Tanzania is the world’s 31st-largest country (after Egypt). It is comparable in size to Nigeria. Tanzania is mountainous in the northeast, where Mount Kilimanjaro, africa’s highest peak, is situated. To the north and west are the Great Lakes of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika (Africa’s deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish). Central Tanzania comprises a large plateau, with plains and arable land. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the island of Zanzibar lying just offshore.
Tanzania contains many large and ecologically significant wildlife parks, including the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park in the north, and Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park in the south. Gombe National Park in the west is known as the site of Dr. Jane Goodall’s studies of chimpanzee behavior.
The government of Tanzania through its department of tourism has embarked on a campaign to promote the Kalambo water falls in southwest Tanzania’s region of Rukwa as one of Tanzania’s many tourist destinations. The Kalambo Falls are the second highest in Africa and are located near the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika.
Tanzania has a tropical climate. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling lower than 20 °C (68 °F). The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C / 77–87.8 °F while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C / 59–68 °F).
Tanzania has two major rainfall regions. One is unimodal (December – April) and the other is bimodal (October -December and March – May). The former is experienced in southern, south-west, central and western parts of the country, and the latter is found to the north and northern coast.
In the bimodal regime the March – May rains are referred to as the long rains or Masika, whereas the October – December rains are generally known as short rains or Vuli.
Environmental consciousness is poorly developed, as this beach in Dar es Salaam shows
Tanzania has considerable wildlife habitat, including much of the Serengeti plain, where the white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi) and other bovids participate in a large-scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the drpippees 30 amphibian and over 275 reptile species, many of them strictly endemic and included in the IUCN Red Lists of different countries.
Tanzania has developed a Biodiversity Action Plan to address species conservation. A recently discovered species of elephant shrew called Grey-Faced Sengi was filmed first time in 2005, and it was known to live in just two forests in the Udzungwa Mountains. In 2008, it was listed as “vulnerable” on the 2008 Red List of Threatened Species. Lake Natron is northern Tanzania is the largest breeding site for the threatened Lesser Flamingo, a huge community of which nest in the salt marshes of the lake. Areas of East African mangroves on the coast are also important habitats.
As of 2006, the estimated population is 38,329,000, with an estimated growth rate of 2 percent. Population distribution is extremely uneven, with density varying from 1 person per square kilometer (3/mi²) in arid regions to 51 per square kilometer (133/mi²) in the mainland’s well-watered highlands, to 134 per square kilometer (347/mi²) on Zanzibar. More than 80 percent of the population is rural. Dar es Salaam is the largest city and is the commercial capital; Dodoma, located in the center of Tanzania is the new capital and houses the Union’s Parliament.
The Africany population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma and Nyamwezi, the Hehe and Bena, the Gogo, the Haya, the Makonde, the Chagga and the Nyakyusa have more than 1 million members. Other groups include the Pare, Shambaa (or Shambala), and Ngoni. The majority of Tanzanians, including such large ethnic groups as the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, have Bantu origins. Groups of Nilotic or related origin include the nomadic Maasai and the Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers in neighboring Kenya. The Sandawe and Hadza speak languages of the Khoisan family peculiar to the people of the Kalahari in southern Africa.
The population also includes people of Arab, Indian, and Pakistani origin, and small European and Chinese communities. As of 1994, the Asian community numbered 50,000 on the mainland and 4,000 on Zanzibar. An estimated 70,000 Arabs and 10,000 Europeans resided in Tanzania. The Zanzibar Revolution of 12 January 1964 ended the local Arab dynasty. Thousands of Arabs and Indians in Zanzibar were massacred in riots, and thousands more were detained or fled the island.
Tanzania’s population has been estimated to consist of roughly one-third each Muslims, Christians and followers of indigenous religious groups. The national census, however, has not asked for religious affiliation since 1967 as the religious balance is seen as a sensitive topic. Thus all figures on religious statistics for Tanzania are at best educated guesswork and differ widely on the question whether there are more Christians or Muslims. Most assume that the share of traditionalists has dwindled.
The Christian population is mostly composed of Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Among Protestants the strong numbers of Lutherans and Moravians point to the German past of the country, the numbers of Anglicans to the British history of Tanganyika. All of them have had some influence in varying degress from the Walokole movement (East African Revival) which has also been fertile ground for the spread of charismatic and Pentecostal groups.
Zanzibar is believed to be more than 99 percent Muslim.On the mainland, Muslim communities are concentrated in coastal areas, with some large Muslim minorities also in inland urban areas especially and along the former caravan routes. A large majority of of the Muslim population is Sunni. There are also active communities of other religious groups, primarily on the mainland, such as Buddhists, Hindus, and Baha’is.
English is no longer a de jure official language in Tanzania, which is one of the few African states in which a local language has gained importance to the disadvantage of the ex-colonial language. Since English is still the language of higher courts, it can however be considered a de facto official language.
According to the official linguistic policy of Tanzania, as announced in 1984, Swahili is the language of the social and political sphere as well as primary and adult education, whereas English is the language of secondary education, universities, technology and higher courts. Though the British government financially supports the use of English in Tanzania, its usage in the Tanzanian society has diminished over the past decades: In the seventies Tanzanian university students used to speak English with each other, whereas now they almost exclusively use Swahili outside the classroom. Even in secondary school and university classes, where officially only English should be used, it is now quite common to use a mix of Swahili and English.
Other spoken languages are Indian languages, especially Gujarati, and Portuguese (both spoken by Mozambican blacks and Goans) and to a lesser extent French (from neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo). Historically German was widely spoken during that colonial period, but few remain alive who remember that time.
The under-five mortality rate in 2006 was 118 out of 1,000. Life expectancy at birth in 2006 was 50 years. The 15-60 year old adult mortality rate in 2006 was 518 out of 1,000 males and 493 out of 1,000 females.
The leading cause of death in children who survive the neonatal period is malaria.For adults, it is HIV/AIDS. Anti-retroviral treatment coverage for people with advanced HIV infection in 2006 was 14 percent.
2006 data show that 55 percent of the population had sustainable access to improved drinking water sources and 33 percent had sustainable access to improved sanitation.
The music of Tanzania stretches from traditional African music to the string-based taarab to a distinctive hip hop known as bongo flava. Famous taarab singers names are Abbasi Mzee, Culture Musical Club, Shakila of Black Star Musical Group.
Internationally known traditional artists are Bi Kidude, Hukwe Zawose and Tatu Nane.
Tanzania has its own distinct African rumba music where names of artists/groups like Tabora Jazz, Western Jazz Band, Morogoro Jazz, Volcano Jazz, Simba Wanyika, Remmy Ongala, Marijani Shaabani, Ndala Kasheba, NUTA JAZZ, ATOMIC JAZZ, DDC Mlimani Park, Afro 70 & Patrick Balisidya, Sunburst, Tatu Nane and Orchestra Makassy must be mentioned in the history of Tanzanian music.
Tanzania has many writers. The list of writers’ names includes well-known writers such as Godfrey Mwakikagile, Mohamed Said, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Prof. Julius Nyang’oro, Prof. Clement Ndulute, Prof. Frank Chiteji, Prof. Joseph Mbele, Juma Volter Mwapachu, Prof. Issa Shivji, Jenerali Twaha Ulimwengu, Prof. Penina Mlama, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Adam Shafi, Dr. Malima M.P Bundala and Shaaban Robert.
Tanzania has remarkable position in art. Two styles became world known: Tingatinga and Makonde. Tingatinga are the popular African paintings painted with enamel paints on canvas. Usually the motifs are animals and flowers in colourful and repetitive design. The style was started by Mr. Edward Saidi Tingatinga born in South Tanzania. Later he moved to Dar Es Salaam. Since his death in 1972 the Tingatinga style expanded both in Tanzania and worldwide. Makonde is both a tribe in Tanzania (and Mozambique) and a modern sculpture style. It is known for the high Ujamaas (Trees of Life) made of the hard and dark ebony tree. Tanzania is also a birthplace of one of the most famous African artists – George Lilanga.
MDUNDIKO- This is a form of dance which takes place during wedding ceremonies. A call out to nearby neighbouring streets inviting them to come and celebrate with the family and friends of the Bride and Groom. A group of men lead by A Drummer playing different types of musical instruments i.e. drums, trumpets and many other followed by a women, men and children dancing as they walk heading towards the house in which the wedding takes place. This will be followed by a big feast and celebrations.
Education is compulsory for seven years, until children reach the age of 15 years. Primary school tuition has been eliminated in Tanzania since 2002, but families still have the responsibility to pay for uniforms, testing fees and school supplies. Secondary schools are not tuition free and by law, all secondary education must be taught in English (excepting Swahili class). Tanzania hosts several universities.