About Tanzania


Tanzania, officially known as the United Republic of Tanzania, is a sovereign state located in the East of Africa. It is neighboured by, clockwise and starting in the North: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and finally the Indian Ocean to the East. Its official languages are English and Swahili, and its currency is the Tanzanian Shilling.

Demography

Tanzania has a population of over 45,000,000 people, with a highly uneven distribution. The majority of inhabitants live on the northern border of the country’s eastern coast; the remainder of the country being quite sparsely populated. The majority of the population is rural, at around 70%, however, this figure has been declining over time. The largest city and commercial capital is Dar es Salaam. The country’s capital is Dodoma which is located more towards the centre of Tanzania.

Economy

As of 2018, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Tanzania was estimated to be $56.7 billion (nominal), and GDP per capita (PPP) was $3,457. In the past decade, this figure has been climbing at a rate of 3.5% per year. This is higher than any other member of the East African Community (EAC).

Unfortunately, despite this recent economic growth, the majority of the population have seen no real benefit. Tanzania’s 2013 Global Hunger Index was worse than any other country - bar Burundi - in the EAC. Approximately 68% of the country’s citizens live below the poverty line of $1.26 a day. Children in rural areas suffer particularly high rates of malnutrition and chronic hunger.

The country’s largest trading partners in exports are typically South Africa, Switzerland, and China. For imports, its largest trading partners are the UAE, Switzerland and China.

Politics

Tanzania is what is called a one-party dominant state, with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party currently in power. This was the only legally permitted party in the country until 1992, after which the constitution was amended. The main opposition party is called Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (this is Swahili for “Party for Democracy and Progress”). Another opposition political party is based in Zanzibar, called the Civil United Front (CUF).

As a country, Tanzania has some conservative human rights views with the legislature to enforce this. Sex acts between men are illegal and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. There is no such ban on such relations between women. According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, Tanzania rated seventh-highest of non-acceptance out of 45 countries surveyed - it was found that 95% of Tanzanian residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept. One does also not have the right to change their legal gender.

Climate

Tanzania has two rainy seasons: the short rains are typically between the months of October and December, whilst the long rainy period lasts from March to June. The coastal areas of Tanzania are mostly affected by these fluctuations, whilst the central plateau is more dry and arid throughout the year.

The best time to travel to the mainland is in the dryer period from June to October. The best wildlife viewing is during these months. If you are hoping to see the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti, then June and July is the best time to go. If you are planning a trip to Zanzibar however, December and January is also a popular time of year with pleasant weather during this holiday period.

 Useful links:

Britannica article on Tanzania
Tanzania Tourism official site - fact sheet
Information on parks, attractions, beaches and more