Tanzania Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources, energy and environment

Tanzania is rich in metals, gems and a variety of minerals. In particular, there are large assets of gold and natural gas. Gold is the country’s most important export commodity, while natural gas is used for domestic electricity generation. Extensive logging is a serious environmental problem.

Gold has been mined in Tanzania for a long time, but the extraction took off seriously when the large gold mine Bulyanhulu in the north was opened in 2001. Nowadays almost all the gold is mined in five major mines near Lake Victoria.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Tanzania with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

Investments in the mining industry mainly come from foreign mining companies, such as Canadian and South African. In 2014, the government renegotiated the agreements with the foreign companies to increase the state’s revenue from the mines. Previously, the fees and taxes for the companies were lower.

In addition to gold, diamonds and gems such as rubies, sapphires and the country’s unique blue gemstone tanzanite are mined. In addition, coal, copper, silver, iron, tin, nickel, lead, cobalt, salt, phosphates, limestone and more are mined. There are also uranium deposits in the country that have not yet been extracted.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, TZ stands for Tanzania. Visit itypeusa for more information about Tanzania.

Too little electricity generation

Oil exploration has been going off the coast of Tanzania for decades, but no deposits that are profitable to extract have not been made. In the 2010s, however, large quantities of natural gas were found. The gas is used to generate electricity for its own market, which has reduced the country’s high costs for oil imports and the electricity supply has become more stable.

In the long term, Tanzania also hopes to be able to export natural gas. A gas pipeline runs from the town of Mtwara in the south to Dar es Salaam, and a decision has also been made to build a pipeline to neighboring Uganda.

The natural gas has meant that more Tanzanians now have access to electricity, but the shortcomings are still large. One third of the population had access to electricity at the end of the 2010, significantly more in cities than in rural areas. Around half of the electricity produced is extracted from natural gas, while a third is generated in hydropower plants. The rest comes from coal and imported oil.

The economic growth means that electricity demand is increasing rapidly and the industry is often hit by electricity outages due to an outdated and overloaded power grid, and sometimes due to drought and water shortages. The energy sector also suffers from widespread corruption.

In the villages, wood and charcoal are the most common sources of energy. For lighting, villagers mainly use kerosene lamps and candles.

Environmental problems

The need for firewood causes too much forest to be cut down in several places. In addition, tropical woods are commercially harvested, not infrequently illegally. The government has regulated deforestation, but corruption among local officials means that deforestation continues.

Researchers established in 2010 that Lake Tanganyika is now warmer than in 1,500 years, probably due to climate change. Surface water temperature has been measured to 26 degrees, which inhibits biological activity in the lake and in the long run makes life for fish and other species difficult.


Energy use per person

479 kg of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

100 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

11 562 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.2 ton (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

85.7 percent (2015)



Suggestions for stricter penalties for invigorating items

The Government proposes a sharply increased fine for publishing invigorating articles, from the equivalent of SEK 50 to around SEK 20,000.


Supporters of Ponda Issa Ponda’s release

The 50 followers of Muslim leader Ponda Issa Ponda who were imprisoned in March 2013 are released early (see March 2013).

Newspapers receive a publishing license revoked

Two privately owned newspapers receive the publishing licenses revoked for 14 and 90 days, respectively, for having “published articles intended to cause people to lose confidence in government institutions and thus threaten peace and national security”.


Priest is subjected to acid attack

A Catholic priest is subjected to an acid attack when he leaves an Internet cafe in Zanzibar’s capital. It is the fifth acid attack on the island in less than a year. It is interpreted as an expression of the increased contradictions between Christians and Muslims in Zanzibar. Police arrest 15 people suspected of involvement in the attacks and seize large amounts of acid. According to police, some of those arrested are in contact with the Somali extreme Islamist movement al-Shabaab.

The UN criticizes Tanzania

The UN criticizes Tanzania for having sent back between 20,000 and 30,000 Burundian refugees to their homeland in the past month, thus creating a “dramatic” humanitarian situation.


Acid attack against British volunteers

Two young British volunteer workers are subjected to an acid attack in the old part of Zanzibar’s capital.

Ponda Issa Ponda gets shot

Radical Muslim leader Ponda Issa Ponda (see March 2013) is shot dead when his followers try to stop the police from arresting him.


Obama visits Tanzania

US President Barack Obama visits Tanzania.


Riot in Mtwara

Riot breaks out in Mtwara in southern Tanzania after the government decided to build a gas pipeline from the city to Dar es Salaam, where the gas will be processed. The residents of Mtwara want the gas plant to be located in their town. A woman is killed in the violence.

Two dead in terrorist acts against church

Two people are killed and some 30 are injured when an explosive charge explodes in a newly built Catholic church in Arusha. The attack is carried out during the inaugural fair and is described by President Kikwete as a terrorist act. The Vatican’s ambassador is among the guests but escapes unharmed. Nine people are arrested, three of whom are citizens of the United Arab Emirates, one is Saudi and five are Tanzanians. The four Arabs are released after a few days.

Muslim leader sentenced to prison

Contested Muslim leader Ponda Issa Ponda is sentenced to one year of conditional imprisonment for attacks carried out against churches in Dar es Salaam in October 2012. Ponda Issa Ponda and around 50 co-accused are simultaneously acquitted of charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, theft and violence of violence (see March 2013).


Protesters are sentenced to prison

About 50 supporters of incarcerated Muslim leader Ponda Issa Ponda are sentenced to one year in prison each after a month earlier demonstrating in Dar es Salaam with the demand that Ponda Issa Ponda be released.

The President of China visits Tanzania

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Tanzania. The two countries conclude a series of trade agreements, including the upgrading of Tanzanian hospitals and ports.


Priest is shot dead at Zanzibar

A Catholic priest is shot to death outside his church in Zanzibar. Another church on the island is set on fire.

Tanzania Energy and Environment Facts

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