|General background: Shortly after independence,
Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of
Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995
with the first democratic elections held in the country
since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and
popular opposition have led to two contentious elections
since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international
observers' claims of voting irregularities.
Area comparative: Slightly larger than twice
the size of California.
from tropical along coast to temperate in highlands.
Terrain: Plains along coast; central plateau;
highlands in north, south
Ethnic groups: Mainland - native African 99%
(of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130
tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European,
and Arab); Zanzibar - Arab, native African, mixed
Arab and native African
Religions: Mainland - Christian 30%, Muslim
35%, indigenous beliefs 35%; Zanzibar - more than
Language: Kiswahili or Swahili (official),
Kiunguju (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official,
primary language of commerce, administration, and
higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar),
many local languages
note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue
of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby
coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure
and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources,
including Arabic and English, and it has become the
lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first
language of most people is one of the local languages.
Government type: Republic
Capital: Dar-es-Salaam; note - legislative
offices have been transferred to Dodoma, which is
planned as the new national capital; the National
Assembly now meets there on regular basis.
Legal system: Based on English common law;
judicial review of legislative acts limited to matters
of interpretation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ
Economic overview: Tanzania is one of the
poorest countries in the world. The economy is heavily
dependent on agriculture, which accounts for half
of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of
the work force. Topography and climatic conditions,
however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the
land area. Industry is mainly limited to processing
agricultural products and light consumer goods. The
World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and bilateral
donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's
deteriorated economic infrastructure. Growth in 1991-2001
featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial
increase in output of minerals, led by gold. Natural
gas exploration in the Rufiji Delta looks promising
and production could start by 2002. Recent banking
reforms have helped increase private sector growth
and investment. Continued donor support and solid
macroeconomic policies should support steady real
GDP growth of 5% in 2002 and 2003.
Communication/Telephone system: Fair system operating
below capacity and being modernized for better service;
VSAT (very small aperture terminal) system under construction.
Places of interest: Tanzania offers some of
the best wildlife spotting opportunities on the continent.
Wildebeest, monkey, antelope, lion, cheetah, crocodile,
gazelle, flamingo - you name it. With its famous parks
such as the Serengeti, Mt Kilimanjaro, or the wonderful
crater of Ngorongoroone, home of some of the largest,
wildest animal populations in the world.