May 31, 2020 Country Profiles 0

Tanzania, a peaceful country in an otherwise troubled region, continues to be a favorite among donor countries and is Norway’s largest aid recipient in Africa. However, large-scale corruption casts dark shadows on the government and has weakened the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) government.

President Jakaya Kikwete, who won the 2005 election overwhelmingly with over 80 percent of the vote, has since fallen in popularity. The ruling party has had to deal with several major corruption cases under his leadership, and critics believe they have been handled poorly. Despite admonitions for unity, the ruling party seems both weakened and divisive, including between those who want a bigger settlement with the corruption and those who – for good reasons – do not want it. In January 2010, a new party was formed, Chama Cha Jamii (CCJ), and in the newspapers it was speculated that these were forces from the ruling party that now announced the transition ahead of the planned elections in October 2010.

However, before the election, which was the fourth since the multi-party democracy was introduced in 1992, there was little indication that Kikwete’s position would be seriously challenged. The legacy of Father Julius Nyerere, the country’s first president, still characterizes the mainland part of Tanzania, the former Tanganyika, where the opposition is weak and fragmented. Electoral legislation also prevents the possibility of forming opposition coalitions. The four largest opposition parties received only 11.2 percent of the directly elected members of the Union parliament in the 2005 elections, and the CCM government was alone in voting for candidates in all of the country’s electoral districts.

Brighter times in Zanzibar

While the political situation on the mainland must be described as peaceful, it has had the opposite sign of the partially self-governing archipelago of Zanzibar, where allegations of widespread electoral and political violence have followed elections since 1995. A new reconciliation process between CCM and Civic United The Front (CUF) has given new hope to Zanzibarians who are tired of 15 years of political turmoil. In January 2010, Zanzibar’s House of Representatives discussed a proposal to establish a collaborative government, and a referendum was scheduled to be held ahead of the October elections. Previously, three attempts to create political peace on the islands have failed, but the hope now was that some form of power sharing could be within reach.

The Zanzibar process is officially supported by the mainland government, but many also fear that a peaceful Zanzibar could create the basis for even more Zanzibar nationalism and demands for further autonomy. What is Zanzibar’s internal affairs and what is subject to the Union was laid down in the original Union Treaty in 1964. Oil and gas are one of several areas that were later added to the original list. Many Zanzibarians are strongly critical of the Union Treaty. Who should access the oil that many believe is found off the coast of Zanzibar is among the issues that have long united the opposition and the ruling party on Zanzibar.


Large-scale corruption has become one of Tanzania’s most important enemies. Transparency International’s overview of global corruption for 2009 showed a negative trend for Tanzania, which fell from number 102 the previous year to 126th place. In February 2010, the parliament decided to cap on one of the biggest corruption cases in Tanzania, the Richmond case, a suspicious contract with a US energy company. The disclosures surrounding the agreement led Prime Minister Lowassa to step down in 2008, and two ministers were fired. Corruption has also been uncovered, including in the mining industry, the forest sector and the game management. The results of the anti-corruption work are meager. Of more than 10,000 reported cases, only a few hundred have brought charges. anticorruption unitThe Prevention and Combat of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has recently been reorganized, but it is uncertain whether it will lead to better results.

International cooperation

Tanzania’s state budget is still dependent on around 40 percent loans and assistance. Tanzania is the country in Africa that receives the most Norwegian aid: NOK 729 million in 2008. Foreign debt in 2008 corresponded to 37.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Tanzania in 2009, he was referred to by President Kikwete as Tanzania’s “preferred partner” – to the dismay of many of the traditional development partners. Tanzania’s cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank is considered good. Cooperation within The East African Community (EAC) is also progressing, although Tanzania is considered by many member countries as the most reserved, especially with regard to further border openings.

Social life and urbanization

Trade unions are weak in Tanzania, although they are no longer as dependent on the ruling party. Among the exceptions are the teachers’ union, which has repeatedly demonstrated and went on strike. In the Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders, Tanzania was ranked 62 out of 175 states in 2009.

In Tanzania, around 25 percent of the population lives in cities. In the period 2005-2010, the urbanization rate was 4.2 percent annually. Tanzania hosts more than 500,000 refugees, more than any other African country. These come mainly from Burundi and Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

Tanzania is ranked 12th out of the 53 African countries in the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s measurement of African governance, which measures the government’s service offerings to the population from both state and non-state actors. Although Tanzania is ranked in the top third of this index, the country is still one of the world’s poorest. In the UN Human Development Index (HDI) for 2009, Tanzania is ranked 151 out of the 182 countries represented. In 2005, Tanzania was number 159, and critical voices believe Tanzania lacks an effective poverty reduction plan.

Life expectancy at birth in 2009 was estimated at 52 years. As one of the few countries in Africa, Tanzania has succeeded in significantly reducing child mortality for children under five over the past 10-15 years, and it could become Africa’s only country to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals 4 to reduce child mortality by 2015. More now attending school in Tanzania, thanks to the loss of tuition fees in primary school. But the quality of teaching is still low, and the number of students in higher and higher education is still very low.

Economic growth

According to DIGOPAUL, Tanzania still has good economic growth, although it declined in 2009 due to the recession in the world economy. The growth rate was 4.5 percent in 2009, compared with 7.1 percent the previous year. Agriculture is still the most important trade route in Tanzania. More than 80 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture, which accounts for 40 percent of GDP and accounts for 85 percent of total exports. In 2009, President Kikwete launched his new strategy “agriculture first!” The idea is to make farmers more business-oriented, through increased cooperation with the private sector, better markets and a separate agricultural bank. Tanzania produces, among other things, cashews, coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, tobacco, carnation, cereals and cassava. The service sector has grown rapidly in recent years and now accounts for 45.6 percent of GDP.

Country facts:

Area: 945 087 km2 (13th largest)

Population: 42.5 million

Population density per km2: 45

Urban population: 25 percent

Largest city: Dar es Salaam – approx. 2.9 million

GDP per capita: $ 496

Economic growth: 7.5 percent

HDI Position: 151