Tanzania Overview

Tanzania is located in eastern Africa, below the equator. The mainland of Tanzania is also called Tanganyika and, together with the part of Zanzibar, which includes the islands of Unguja and Pemba in the Indian Ocean, forms the United Republic of Tanzania.

Country overview

Tanzania is a good two and a half times the size of Germany. The predominant type of vegetation is dry savannah. Most people make a living from agriculture – for them, the high variability of precipitation is one of the greatest challenges in securing their livelihood.


Since 1995 the president and parliament in Tanzania have been democratically elected every 5 years. The term of office of the President is limited to a maximum of 10 years. The former unity party CCM is still popular in the vast majority of the population. At most, she sees herself being seriously challenged by the opposition in Zanzibar.


… have long been shaped by the ‘Ujamaa politics’. This ‘African socialism’ has promoted the national identity and conflict-free cohesion of the many ethnic groups. However, the planned economy had a devastating effect on economic development. In the mid-1980’s, Nyerere paved the way for economic and political liberalization.


Swahili as the common language of all Tanzanians has contributed to a largely peaceful coexistence of the approximately 154 ethnic groups. Conflicts between Christians and Muslims are rare. However, the opposition CUF party is particularly popular among the Muslim population, which encourages a politically motivated polarization of the religious communities.

Everyday life

Here you will find useful information about traveling and living in Tanzania, what you can do for your health and safety, how and where you can change money and much more.

Official name: United Republic of Tanzania

Area: 945,000 km²

Residents: 56.3 million (2018)

Growth of population: 3% per year (2018)

Capital: Dodoma

Official languages: Swahili, English

Regional languages: more than 100

With a total area of 945,000 km², Tanzania is a good two and a half times the size of Germany. The East African country lies below the equator on the Indian Ocean. In the north it shares borders with Kenya and Uganda, some of which run through Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. In the northwest, Tanzania borders on Rwanda and Burundi. The border with the DR Congo runs in the west through Lake Tanganyika, the deepest lake in Africa. According to a2zgov, Tanzania borders Zambia and Malawi in the southwest and Mozambique in the south. The exact course of the border between Tanzania and Malawi is disputed due to border disputes over Lake Nyasa and Lake Malawi.

Basic data

In addition to the mainland (Tanganyika), the United Republic of Tanzania also includes the semi-autonomous part of Zanzibar and consists of a total of 30 regions, which in turn are divided into districts. The capital is Dodoma, but the economic center and current seat of government is Dar es Salaam. The acting president Magufuli, however, strive to 2020 the seat of government of Dar es Salaam to Dodoma to relocate.

Zanzibar is also called the ‘Carnation Island’ because it was here that most of the world’s clove production was obtained. Zanzibar has its own parliament and president. Since the introduction of the multi-party system, there have been significant conflicts on the Zanzibar islands of Unguja and Pemba.

In the 1990’s, political pluralism was accompanied by economic liberalization. After Tanzania woke up from the planned economy ‘general anesthesia’, the economic data have improved: Inflation has been reduced drastically and economic growth rates have been above 5% for years. Even if the successes are put into perspective by the population growth (3%) and the challenges may still seem overwhelming: The basic statistical data of the World Bank, the United Nations and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that Tanzania is on the right track is located.

The UNDP uses a holistic approach to classifying countries with regard to their level of development with the Human Development Index (HDI). In addition to the standard of living, it also takes other important parameters into account, such as average school years and life expectancy.

Tanzania’s position (currently 159 out of 189) in the HDI ranking of countries is worse than its position in the GDP ranking (81 out of 193). Anyone who knows the situation of the people in Tanzania will confirm that an overly pessimistic classification of the living conditions in Tanzania (compared to other African countries) is hardly justified. According to the ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index ‘, however, 55.4% of the population in Tanzania live in extreme poverty – other developing countries have made faster progress than Tanzania in combating poverty in recent years. The HDI for Tanzania worsened somewhat last year – but it is higher than for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Since 2000 the life expectancy, after having previously fallen sharply, mainly due to AIDS, rose by 8 years to 65 years, and per capita income at purchasing power parity even more than doubled in the same period.

With regard to inequality between the sexes, Tanzania can point to a positive trend, but with currently 0.539 the country is far below on the Gender Inequality Index (130th out of 160 countries).

Tanzania's cityscape

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