Tanzania Country Brief

he name Tanzania is coinage of Tanganyika, the mainland, and Zanzibar, the nearby archipelago in the Indian Ocean which united to become the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964. The Country has a surface area of 947,300 square kilometers making it the 13th largest county in Africa and the second largest in East Africa after Ethiopia. It slightly larger than the U.S. state of California. It borders Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south; and the Indian Ocean to the east.

Tanzania's population of approximately 50 million (as of 2017) is the second largest in East Africa, after Ethiopia's. Dar es Salaam, the most populous city, contains approximately 2.7 million people and accounts for most commercial activity. Swahili (or Kiswahili) and English are the two official languages of Tanzania. A large number of local languages are also spoken. In Zanzibar, Arabic is commonly used. Agriculture remains the mainstay of Tanzania's economy, accounting for one-quarter of gross domestic product (GDP) and approximately 80 percent of employment. Tanzania is endowed with mineral and natural resources, including gold, diamonds, and several other precious and semiprecious stones. The blue gemstone tanzanite is found only in Tanzania. Tanzania accounted for almost two percent of world gold production as of 2006. The Country has the second largest economy in the East African Community and the twelfth largest in Africa Tanzania is home to some of Africa's most famous national parks. The country is endowed with a variety of tourism assets, including seven United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage sites and numerous wildlife parks, beach resorts, coral reefs, and spectacular scenic mountain views. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. The most popular tourist destinations are Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Zanzibar Beaches, Stone Town and Lake Manyara National Park.

The East African nation is estimated to have 125 ethnic groups, each of which has its own distinct ways of life and it’s the most linguistically diverse country in the region with more than 100 different languages spoken. All four of Africa’s language families namely Bantu, Cushitic, Nilotic, and Khoisan are spoken in Tanzania. The six largest ethnic groups are the Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Chagga, Haya, Hadza and Maasai.

The Country has many historical sites including, Engaruka Ruins, Ismila Stone Age Site, Kaole Ruins, Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings ,Mikindani ,Olduvai Gorge, Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings, Tanzania Museums, Amboni Caves, Changuu Island [prison Island], Kidichi Persian Baths, Mangapwani Slave Chambers, Maruhubi Palace Ruins, Mbweni Palace Ruins, Stone Town, The House of Wonders and The Old Arab Fort

Tanzania's fauna is notable both for sheer numbers and variety, with representatives of 430 species and subspecies among the country's more than four million wild animals. These include zebras, elephants, wildebeests, buffaloes, hippos, giraffes, antelopes, dik-diks, gazelles, elands and kudus.

The leading cash crops are Coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, tobacco, sisal and pyrethrum, tea, cloves, horticultural crops, oil seeds, spices and flowers.

The country has a multi-party system with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, which translates to the Revolutionary State Party, dominating politics of the country. The executive Authority is vested in the President and a Cabinet of Ministers while legislative power is vested in the parliament.