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The United Republic of Tanzania
Land and Resources
Climate
Natural Resources
Population
Population Characteristics
Education
Culture
Economy
Agriculture
Forestry and Fishing
Mining
Manufacturing
Currency and Foreign Trade
Transportation and Communications
Labour
Government
Executive
Legislature
Judiciary
Local Government
Political Parties
Health and Welfare
Defense
History
Tanzania Under Nyerere


The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in southeastern Africa, bounded on the north by Kenya and Uganda, on the east by the Indian Ocean, on the south by Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia, and on the west by The Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. The country includes the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, and other offshore islands in the Indian Ocean. The total area of Tanzania is 945,087 sq km (364,898 sq mi). Dar es Salaam is the de facto capital and largest city.

Land and Resources

The landscape of mainland Tanzania is generally flat and low along the coast, but a plateau at an average altitude of about 1200 m (about 4000 ft) constitutes the greater part of the country. Isolated mountain groups rise in the northeast and southwest. The volcanic Kilimanjaro (5895 m/19,340 ft), the highest mountain in Africa, is located near the northeastern border. Three of the great lakes of Africa lie on the borders of the country and partially within it. Lake Tanganyika is located on the western border, Lake Victoria on the northwest, and Lake Nyasa (Malawi) on the southwest. Lakes Nyasa and Tanganyika lie in the Great Rift Valley, a tremendous geological fault system extending from the Middle East to Mozambique. Zanzibar, separated from the coast of the mainland by a channel some 40 km (some 25 mi) wide, is about 90 km (about 55 mi) long and covers an area of 1658 sq km (about 640 sq mi). It is the largest coral island off the coast of Africa. Pemba, some 40 km (some 25 mi) northwest of Zanzibar, is about 68 km (about 42 mi) long and has an area of approximately 984 sq km (380 sq mi). Both Zanzibar and Pemba are mostly low-lying.

Climate

Elevation and distance from the sea control the climate of Tanzania. On the mainland coastal strip along the Indian Ocean, the climate is warm and tropical, with temperatures averaging 27 C (80 F) and rainfall varying from 750 to 1400 mm (30 to 55 in). The inland plateau is hot and dry, with annual rainfall averaging as little as 500 mm (20 in). The semi-temperate highlands in the southwest are better watered. The climate on the islands is generally tropical, but the heat is tempered by a sea breeze throughout the year. The annual mean temperature for the city of Zanzibar is 29 C (85 F) maximum, and 25 C (77 F) minimum; for Wete in Pemba, 30 C (86 F) maximum and 24 C (76 F) minimum. Most rain falls from December through May. Tanzania also can experience substantial fluctuations in rain amounts from one year to the next.

Natural Resources

Diamonds are by far the most important of the minerals currently being exploited in Tanzania. Since 2000 investment in gold mining n Mwanza, Shinyanga and Tabora regions has been on the increase and so too has been the quantity of gold produced. Tanzanite, a precious metal named after the country is found only in Tanzania. Large deposits of coal and iron ore are known to exist in the southern region. Search for oil deposits is still going on especially in the southern area. Forestland constitutes one of the most substantial natural resources of the country. Among the many hardwoods found are mahogany and camphor wood. The country abounds in wildlife, including antelope, zebra, elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, and monkey.

Population

The population of Tanzania consists mostly of members of more than 120 black African groups, the majority of which speak a Bantu language. The largest ethnic groups are the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, each representing about a fifth of the country's population. Other groups of significant size include the Haya, Ngonde, Chagga, Gogo, Ha, Hehe, Nyakyusa, Nyika, Ngoni, Yao, and Masai. The population also includes people of Indian, Pakistani, and Goan origin, and small Arab and European communities. Three-quarters of the people live in rural areas. About one-third of the population follows traditional religions. Islam is the religion of about one-third of the people and is dominant on Zanzibar. Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination of Tanzania, with some 6 million adherents. Swahili and English are the official languages of Tanzania, but many people continue to use the language of their ethnic group.

Population Characteristics

The population of Tanzania (1995 estimate) is about 30,742,000, giving the country an overall population density of about 33 persons per sq km (about 84 per sq m). Yet the population distribution is irregular, with high densities found near fertile soils around Kilimanjaro and the shores of Lake Nyasa, and comparatively low density throughout much of the interior of the country. Still, the government reversed a policy of resettling people in registered villages after its effectiveness proved limited. The largest city and seat of government, Dar-es-Salaam, has a population of about 3,500,000 (2000). Other major cities are Mwanza (400,000), a port on Lake Victoria, and Tanga (250,000), an industrial center and seaport. Zanzibar (157,634) is the largest city on the island. Dodoma (220,000) has been designated as the eventual capital of Tanzania.

Education

Primary education is compulsory in Tanzania, but not enough schools are available to accommodate all of the children, and only 50 percent of eligible children are enrolled. But because of adult education campaigns, more than 90 percent of people over the age of 15 are literate. In the early 1990s government schools were attended annually by some 3.5 million elementary pupils and about 167,000 secondary students. In addition, many children attended private schools, which were mostly run by religious groups. However, since mid 1990 individuals are free to establish and run private schools. Institutions of higher education enrolled about 5300 students per year. Major schools included the University of Dar es Salaam (1961) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (1984), in Morogoro.

Culture

Tanzanian culture is a product of African, Arab, European, and Indian influences. Traditional African values are being consciously adapted to modern life. Among the libraries in Tanzania are the National Central Library, the British Council Library, and the American Center Library, all in Dar es-Salaam. The University of Dar es-Salaam has an important library, and a lending service at the Dar es-Salaam Technical College (1956) circulates books by mail throughout the country. Zanzibar has several community and school libraries in addition to the Museum Library and the Zanzibar National Archives. The National Museum of Tanzania is located at Dar es-Salaam. The Zanzibar Government Museum is located in the city of Zanzibar.

Economy

The economy of Tanzania is primarily agricultural. About 80 percent of the economically active population is engaged in farming, and agricultural products account for about 85 percent of the annual exports. The country is the world's largest producer of sisal and cloves. With per capita income an estimated $110 a year, Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Government programs once called for a form of socialism, and most banks were nationalized in 1967. An economic recovery program announced in the mid-1980s generated increases in agricultural production and financial support from donor nations, and the government has adopted financial restraints recommended by the International Monetary Fund. The estimated annual national budget in the early 1990s included $495 million in revenues and $631 million in expenditures, including capital projects costing $118 million.

Agriculture

Most of the world production of cloves comes from Zanzibar and Pemba islands, and are the islands' principal export. For the country as a whole, chief exports are coffee, cotton, and tobacco. Tea, sisal, cashews, and peppers are also exported. The principal food crops for domestic consumption include cassava, corn, sorghum, rice, millet, sweet potatoes, and plantains. The livestock population includes about 13.2 million cattle, 9.1 million goats, 3.7 million sheep, and 26 million poultry.

Forestry and Fishing

Yearly timber production in Tanzania in the early 1990s totaled about 35.5 million cu m (about 1.3 billion cu ft), nearly 95 percent of which was used as fuel. Timber includes camphor, podo, and African mahogany. The annual fish catch in the early 1990s was about 400,300 metric tons, more than 85 percent of which was caught in inland waters, especially Lake Victoria. Sardines and tuna were caught in the Indian Ocean.

Mining

Tanzania is rich in diamonds. Gold mining is expanding, and small-scale mining of large deposits of coal and tin has begun. Deposits of salt, lead, iron ore, tungsten, pyrochlore, kaolin, phosphates, and magnesite are also located in the country, and petroleum is being sought. Annual diamond production in the early 1990s was about 150,000 carats.

Manufacturing

Most manufacturing in Tanzania consists of the processing of raw materials, including coffee, grain, sisal, kapok, jute, and coir. In the 1970s basic industries, such as vehicle assembling, were begun, and cement and tannery facilities were expanded. Approximately 70 percent of Tanzania's electricity is produced in hydroelectric plants; major facilities are on the Pangani and Great Ruaha rivers. Total annual electricity output in the early 1990s was about 600 million kilowatt-hours.

Currency and Foreign Trade

The currency unit is the Tanzanian shilling, which replaced the East African shilling in 1966 (479.9 Tanzanian shillings equal U.S.$1; 1993). In 1967 Tanzania nationalized most banks, amalgamating them into the National Bank of Commerce, although liberalization policies adopted in the early 1990s again allowed the opening of privately owned banks. The bank of issue is the Bank of Tanzania (1966). In the early 1990s the imports of Tanzania were valued at about $1.4 billion annually, and exports totaled about $422 million. Coffee, cotton, tobacco, cloves, tea, cashews, and sisal made up the bulk of exports. Main imports were petroleum, machinery, transportation equipment, iron and steel and other metals, and food and live animals. Principal trading partners for exports are Germany, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Kenya, Hong Kong, and the United States; chief partners for imports are Germany, Great Britain, and the United States. Considerable foreign exchange is also derived from tourists, about 250,000 of whom visited Tanzania annually in the early 1990s, double the number from five years earlier. Most come to see Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park. Tanzania was a member of the East African Community, an economic alliance with Uganda and Kenya that collapsed in 1977.

Transportation and Communications

Tanzania has some 3555 km (some 2210 mi) of railroad, including lines linking Dar es Salaam to Lake Tanganyika, with branches to Mwanza, Mpanda, and Arusha. The Tanzania-Zambia Railway (Tazara), opened in 1975, provides a link between Dar es Salaam and Zambia. All these lines are currently being rehabilitated and expanded. Of some 81,900 km (about 50,900 mi) of roads, less than 5 percent are paved. Steamships and airlines link the mainland with Zanzibar. The major seaports are Dar es Salaam and Mtwara. Airports serving Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar city, and elsewhere provide inter-territorial services and international connections. The national airline is Air Tanzania. Tanzania has a national radio network; in 1973 color television service began in Zanzibar. Three daily newspapers are published. Influential dailies include Uhuru and the Daily News, both published in Dar es-Salaam.

Labour

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing are the main sources of employment in Tanzania. The main labor organization is the Union of Tanzania Workers, with about 500,000 members.

Government

The United Republic of Tanzania was formed on April 26, 1964, by the adoption of an Act of Union between Tanganyika, on the mainland, and the island of Zanzibar. The nation is governed under a constitution of 1977, as amended. The internal affairs of Zanzibar are administered under a constitution of 1985.

Executive

The chief executive of Tanzania is a president, who is popularly elected to a five-year term. The president appoints a vice president (who must represent Zanzibar if the president comes from the mainland, and vice versa) and a prime minister and cabinet.

Legislature

The legislature of Tanzania is the unicameral National Assembly. It has 244 members, 169 of whom (119 from the mainland and 50 from Zanzibar) are popularly elected to terms of up to five years. Most of the rest of the members are either appointed, represent statutory organizations, or sit by virtue of being commissioners of the country's regions.

Judiciary

The highest tribunals in Tanzania are the court of appeal and the high court. Lesser courts include district and primary courts. People's courts function in Zanzibar.

Local Government

The mainland is divided into 20 regions, Zanzibar into 3 regions, and Pemba into 2 regions. The governments of the regions are headed by regional commissioners. The 1985 constitution of Zanzibar provides for a popularly elected president and a 75-member house of representatives (50 elected, 25 appointed).

Political Parties

The country's leading political party is the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania (Chama Cha Mapinduzi). It was formed in 1977 by the amalgamation of the Tanganyika African National Union and Zanzibar's Afro-Shirazi party. Opposition parties were legalized in 1992.

Health and Welfare

The government of Tanzania has undertaken several programs to improve educational, working, and health conditions.

Defense

In the early 1990s the armed forces of Tanzania had 49,500 members-45,000 in the army, 3500 in the air force, and 1000 in the navy. Paramilitary groups in the country included the 85,000-member Citizens' Militia.

History

Tanzania was formed by the federation of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. The histories of the two areas are very different.

Zanzibar
 As early as the 8th century AD, Zanzibar and other islands off the coast of East Africa became bases for Arab merchants trading with the mainland, which they called the Land of Zenj (Arabic, "blacks"), or Azania. In the course of time some of these-including Zanzibar and Kilwa-became independent Muslim sultanates with mixed Arab and African populations. In the 16th and 17th centuries they were dominated by the Portuguese, and in the 18th century, Zanzibar and Pemba were subject to the sultans of Muscat and Oman. In 1832 the Oman sultan Sayyid Said established his residence on Zanzibar, where he promoted the production of cloves and palm oil and carried on an active slave trade with the interior. His domain, which included parts of the mainland, was a commercial rather than a territorial empire. His successors did not have a legal claim to the lands they controlled commercially, and did not have the power to keep the Germans and British from annexing them when the European nations began dividing up Africa later in the century. Zanzibar was declared a British protectorate in 1890; the sultan was retained for ceremonial purposes, but most major decisions were made by the British resident. Sultan Khalifa bin Harub used his influence to support British rule. At the time of his death, Britain was divesting itself of its African colonies, and Zanzibar, troubled by political factionalism, was granted independence in December 1963. A few weeks later its conservative government was overthrown in a bloody revolution and replaced by a leftist regime under Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume.

Tanganyika
Tanganyika, populated by many Bantu groups, such as the Chagga, Hehe, Gogo, Yao, and Nyamwezi, and by the Masai and other Nilotic peoples, was defined by a series of treaties between European states in the decade after 1886. These ignored the claims of the sultan of Zanzibar, giving the Germans control over the vast reaches of Tanganyika and reserving Kenya and Uganda for Britain. After putting down African resistance to their rule, the Germans invested heavily in Tanganyika, hoping to convert the northern part into profitable coffee and tea plantations. The onset of World War I in 1914 ended these plans. German East Africa became a major theater of operations, in which General Paul von Lettow-Vorbecktied down about a quarter of a million British and colonial troops with a makeshift force of 12,000 Africans and 4000 Germans before finally capitulating in 1918. Tanganyika then became a mandate of the League of Nations under British tutelage. The actions of the British governors in the 1920s kept European colonization to a minimum; thus, unlike neighboring Kenya, Tanganyika did not develop a race problem. The results of this enlightened attitude were evident in the transition period before independence. The major party, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), led by Julius Nyerere, was a moderate organization; its appeal cut across ethnic and national lines. Nyerere became prime minister when Tanganyika was granted independence in December 1961; one year later the new nation adopted a republican constitution, with Nyerere as its president.

Tanzania Under Nyerere

In January 1964 Nyerere survived an abortive military coup; later, in an effort to strengthen his government against revolutionary violence, he opened discussions with Prime Minister Karume of Zanzibar that led to the formation of Tanzania in April.

The Nature of the Federation
The agreement arose from mutual need. Zanzibar received aid from the mainland, and Nyerere could legally act to moderate the Zanzibar revolution. He became president of the union, and Karume was its first vice president. Each area retained its own legislature and legal system pending an agreement on more complete integration. Integration, however, proved to be difficult, and the differences between the two areas remained great. The Zanzibar government was far more radical and doctrinaire than that of Tanganyika. Many elections had been held in Tanganyika, but none on the island. Until 1977 TANU was the only recognized political party on the mainland, but several different candidates normally stood for election for any given seat in the legislature. TANU merged with Zanzibar's one party to form the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania, but the merger was more cosmetic than real. In 1970 the entire legal system on Zanzibar was reorganized to give power to three-member people's courts that permitted no defense attorneys; meanwhile, the courts of Tanganyika continued to follow the general practices inherited from the British. Mainland courts refused to extradite prisoners to Zanzibar because of the vast differences in their systems. Thus, despite the change in name, the two areas that constitute the federation remained fundamentally separate.

The Economy
From the beginning, Tanzania was a poor state, with few exportable minerals, little industry, and an agricultural system dominated by ideas of tribal self-sufficiency. To counteract a deteriorating economic situation, Nyerere made some major changes in 1967. The state gradually extended its control over all areas of business life. Banks and all private companies were nationalized and state corporations created to provide goods and services for the population. This experiment in socialism received a tremendous blow with the increases in the price of petroleum in the 1970s, which wiped out Tanzania's reserves. Nyerere's ujamaa ("familyhood") program, designed to revitalize village agriculture by combining modern technology with African ideas of cooperation, was hampered by world economic developments, government inefficiency, and resistance from local village and district heads.

Foreign Policy
During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Tanzania's leaders were in the forefront of African liberation movements. Mozambique nationalists were allowed to use Tanzanian territory for training and attack bases during their rebellion against the Portuguese. In Uganda, Tanzanian troops helped overthrow the regime of Idi Amin in 1979 and occupied the country until 1981. President Nyerere was also one of the major African representatives in the negotiations for ending white rule in Zimbabwe. Although it maintained good relations with the West, Tanzania moved closer in philosophy and practice to the Communist-bloc countries; China was particularly helpful with aid. In November 1985 Nyerere retired and was succeeded in the presidency by Ali Hassan Mwinyi; however, Nyerere retained the chairmanship of the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania until August 1990. Opposition parties were legalized in 1992.

Contributed by: Harry A. Gailey



Tanzania Official  website