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International Development Status of Tanzania

Part I

Population Growth Rate Gross Domestic Product % Agriculture
Birth Rate Percentage of Labor in Agriculture
Population under age 15 Gross National Income
Infant mortality rate Human Development Index
Life expectancy Percent of population living in urban areas
Literacy Rate Percent of Population with access to the internet
Gross Domestic Product per capita Death Rate


Tanzania Population Pyramid:

Part II

Variable Underdeveloped Developed Almost Developed Developed
Population Growth Rate(%) >3 2.1-3 1–2 <1
Birth Rate(per 1000) >45 31-45 20-30 <20
Population under Age 15 >40% 31-40% 20-30% <20%
Infant Mortality Rate(per 1000 births) >100 51-100 10-50 <10
Life Expectancy <55 55-64 65-70 >70
Literacy Rate <70% 70-79% 80-90% >90%
G.D.P.(dollars per capita) <200 200-1,900 2,000-15,000 >15,000
G.D.P. %Agriculture >40% 21-40% 10-20% <10%
% of Labor in Agriculture >30% 21-30% 10-20% <10%



IDSR Essay


Tanzania is an East African country located on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It borders Uganda and Kenya to the north, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia to the south; and additionally the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda to the east. Given Tanzania’s geographic location, it functions as a both a Great Lakes region state and a coastal, southern African state. The Great Lakes region is focused around Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. This massive body of water has acted as a transport artery for the peoples of the region for thousands of years, serving the development of a comparatively consistent socio-cultural and linguistic identity. However, whereas the United Republic of Tanzania derives abundant from this sector its geographics, it is also a thoroughly coastal power. The country’s main population center falls on what’s referred to as the Swahili coast. This opportunity opened the country to foreign interaction with Arab traders and other foreign settlers for hundreds of years before British settlement.

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From around Millennium CE the region was inhabited by Bantu speaking peoples who migrated from the west and north. The coastal port of Kilwa was established around 800 CE by Arab traders, and Persians similarly settled Pemba and Zanzibar. By 1200 CE the distinctive mixture of Arabs, Persians and Africans had developed into Swahili culture. Vasco da Gama sailed up the coast in 1498, and also the coastal zone shortly fell below the management of the Portuguese. By the first 1700s Zanzibar had become the core for the Omani Arab slave trade. In the middle of the 1800s, the German Carl Peters began exploring the region, and by 1891 the colony of German East Africa had been created. Following its campaign to end the slave trade in the region, in 1890 Britain made Zanzibar a protectorate. Not long after World War I, the once known German East Africa was established as a British mandate and renamed Tanganyika.

The Tanganyika African National Union, TANU, was created to oppose British rule in the year 1954, achieved internal autonomy in 1958, and independence on December 9, 1961. TANU’s leader Julius Nyerere became prime minister, and then, once a republic was declared on December 9, 1962, he was proclaimed the president of Tanzania. Nyerere then introduced ujamaa, a form of African socialism based on cooperative agriculture. On December 10, 1963 Zanzibar gained independence and on April 26, 1964 Zanzibar integrated with Tanganyika forming the United Republic of Tanzania.

Economic Development

Tanzania is ranked as the tenth largest economy in Eastern Africa and over the past few decades has been able to sustain a relatively high Economic growth percentage averaging from 6-7% a year compared to its economic growth percentage in 2010-11, which averaged to an overall 1.78% ( cite data ). With the increase of the economic growth the annual gross domestic product has reached an average rate of  an of 6.8% since 2017. Thus, placing Tanzania on the second stage also known as the preconditions for take off stage of Rostow’s Model , due to Tanzania’s economic advantage in its diverse economy and exploitable natural resources. In addition to this, gas findings within the country have allowed the country to become a world-class mineral producer and a key agricultural player in Eastern Africa. However, the corruption of the Tanzanian government may inhibit growth by dissuading more foreign engagement. Even with the continuity of economic growth, Tanzania’s annual population growth of 3.1% continues to contribute to the high poverty rate and about 46% of its population to experience extreme poverty. Agriculture is the foundation of Tanzania’s economy, about 44% of its land is agricultural and the citizens tend to be highly dependent on agriculture based on the fact that 66.9% of Tanzania’s population works in agriculture (Cite data). This allows the economy to grow, even with the contribution rate of agriculture to the GDP only being 23.4%, which is relatively low since it makes up about 85% of the exports in the country. Even though agriculture is beneficial to the economy of the country, mass amounts of people resorting to subsistence agricultural practices tend to struggle rather than benefit from the situation, leaving them financially unstable and making it difficult for families to support themselves.

Furthermore, the economy of Tanzania being heavily dependent on agriculture could be the country’s downfall. The country’s overall reliance on agriculture makes the economy highly vulnerable to fluctuating commodity prices and weather shocks. About 35% of the country’s population are engaged in subsistence agriculture. Land is an essential asset in the country because it ensures food security and some of the main agricultural crops grown in the country include bananas, potatoes, cassava, beans, wheat, rice, millet, sorghum, and maize. The main cash crops in Tanzania include tobacco, cotton, tea, cashew nuts, sisal, and coffee. At one time Tanzania was the world’s largest producer of sisal until the 1960s. It produced around 230,00- tonnes per annum ( cite data). At the time sisal was considered the most important export commodity contributing up to 30% (Cite data) of the value of the exports in the country, and was the largest authorized employer after the government. But the major crop began to lose it’s value in the world market due to the introduction of heavily subsidized synthetics. This change in technology affected those who produced sisal and Tanzania’s economy drastically because of the low utilization of the crop and the reliance on large plantations that required large investments, the cost of labor and inputs lead to the declining of the value of their main crop. This past problem demonstrates how the country being dependent on one practice they’ve been able to perfect has caused them to struggle to achieve a stable and flourishing economy. Even with the country practicing efficient farming there’s still been a great challenge in the country as the majority of farmers lack finances to afford machinery and products that will sustain the land in use. Further pushing farmers and other Tanzanians to rely on subsistence farming causing farm sizes to consistently grow smaller, with an average plot size of about 2.5 hectares.

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Political Status and Stability

Tanzania’s is categorized as a ‘democratic, secular and unitary state’(cite source). Following the country’s independence from British rule in the year 1961, Julius Nyerere was chosen to be the country’s first president and was also known as the father of the nation, being leader of Tanzania for a total of 24 years. While taking responsibility for the country, Nyerere was known for his concept Ujamaa which was a policy that he created to restore the social and economic development of the country. Ujamaa is still seen as a legacy by the inhabitants of the country and continues to shape how the country progresses. Nyerere’s encouragement of a singular identity over the Tanzanian population included tribal affiliations and the use of Kiswahili to be prioritized over English within the government, education and culture, leaving a lasting influence on the country. Ever since gaining its independence, Tanzania went through a process of nation-building that has rooted a defined sense of identity greater than what most of the East African countries surrounding it have. Despite the ending of Nyeres presidency, Tanzania moved towards a more liberalized economy,creating a sense of identity allowing the country to last politically and culturally. Even with the centralization of the country’s political decisions, it’s very complicated by interests of  authority among groups within the ruling party. An arrangement between the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) factions, which is the ruling party in Tanzania, has influenced the culture of governance, even though fixated on democratically held elections. Thus, paving the way for elite groups, and allowing room for the inclusion of peers from the outside the high-ranked political circles. Therefore contributing to the regional integration and freedoms of the private sector.

Tanzania’s government disbursement continues to significantly depend on international aid, usually for development initiatives and public service delivery. Tanzania is one of the largest recipients of international aid within sub-Saharan Africa, mostly being aided by the United States, the World Bank and the EU. From the year 2007 to 2011, roughly one-third of government spending was financed by donor funds, even though this share dropped to around 20 percent from 2012 to 2014(Cite data). The tension between Tanzania’s donor dependency and its official calls for self-sufficiency, were inspired by the Arusha Declaration of 1967, which set out Nyerere’s vision of self-sufficient African socialism. Most recently this posture was shown to be evident in the national budget from 2015–16, which directly aimed for reducing the dependence on international aid. This allowed donors to focus on moving their focus towards targets to do with sectoral support, which basically aimed towards health and education, instead of unnecessary budget support. Hence, influencing the design and execution of policies relating to development, even as the majority of  government departments have chafed against condition-bound foreign financial aid tending to be interpreted as limiting the country’s self sufficiency. Furthermore, by  the UNCDF and USAID providing Tanzania with well needed funding, the continuity of financial flows and despite the time to time suspension throughout repeated corruption scandals, shows how important Tanzania is to the donors policy objectives (Cite source).


Culture and Social Development

Due to Tanzania’s diverse population it consists of more than 120 different indigenous African peoples, most of whom are today clustered into larger groupings. Because of the results of rural-to-urban migration, modernization, and politicization, some of the smallest ethnic groups are gradually disappearing. Tanzania consists of two official languages, Swahili and English. The swahili language is used nationally, and is a composite of several Bantu dialects and Arabic that originated along the East African coast and on the island of Zanzibar. Since swahili has become the lingua franca of the country, it is spoken by the the majority of the country. Since its gain of independence, the government and other national institutions have promoted the use of Swahili through literature, local drama, and poetry. Swahili is additionally used as the medium of instruction within the initial seven years of primary education. English is also a medium of instruction, but it’s usually used at higher levels of education and times of professionalism such as in government offices. In addition to Swahili, most African Tanzanians tend to speak their native or traditional language of their ethnic group. Roughly one-third of the population is Muslim and a majority of them are are Sunni, also the Shīʿite population of Tanzania includes an Ismāili community under the influence of the spiritual leadership of the Aga Khan. In addition to this one-third of Tanzanians practice Christianity, which in Tanzania includes Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Baptist sects. As for the remainder of the population, it is considered that a small portion of the population have kept a firm grasp of their traditional beliefs.

Over time, Tanzania has focused on placing a special emphasis on education, and drastic improvements have been made in the population’s access to a primary education. Today, Tanzania is one amongst the few low-income countries that are near to achieving universal primary education. Progress has conjointly been created in efforts to cut back inequalities between girls and boys in access to education and within the struggle against HIV/AIDS, malaria and several other diseases. In the health sector, general success has been achieved in extending access to basic health services, and the results can be seen in the increasing number of children who survive. There have been declines in both infant mortality rate (the official child mortality rate) as well as in mortality for children under five years of age. However, there continues to  be major challenges in reducing maternal mortality. Public spending on education has increased substantially in recent years, whereas health expenditures have declined, both in absolute value and as a share of the national budget. Across all social sectors, there are major and sustained needs to increase the quality of services offered. The massive growth of coverage and also the arrangement to reach a mass majority everybody with education and health services, has reduced the standard of services across the board. Recent studies show comprehensive and persistent quality problems in both primary and secondary education, the consequence being that the students leave school with entirely inadequate skills. The quality of primary health care has been negatively affected by a range of factors, including shortage and poor distribution of health workers, poor access to essential medicines and poor infrastructure. This situation is further affected by the rapidly growing population. One of the signs that the quality of healthcare services is inadequate is seen in the fact that there has been only a very slight increase in the proportion of women, who give birth at a public health institution. In 2004, 47% of Tanzania’s women gave birth in public health clinics. Six years later in 2010, the proportion had increased to only 50%.

Over the past years, the government of Tanzania has managed to reduce the proportion of unfilled health worker positions from 65% in 2007 to 41% in 2011 (0). This is a significant improvement, but it is still just over half the positions which are occupied. Access to social services continues to be unequally distributed. For both health and education, there are significant disparities in access to services and in the distribution of public expenditures to different groups in society. This concerns differences between rich and poor, where one lives in the country and differences between rural and urban areas. More than half of all Tanzania’s physicians work in Dar es Salaam. It is therefore not surprising to see that the proportion of women who choose to deliver their babies in health clinics is also three times greater than in the rest of the country. This shows how important it is to have strong focus on improving the quality and equal access for the population to social services. These factors that have been somewhat overlooked by the MDGs focus on achieving as many targets as possible. Unlike many African countries, Tanzania does not have one single politically or culturally dominant ethnic group, although those groups that were subject to Christian missionary influence and Western education during the colonial period are better represented in the government administration and cash economy.


.Over the years of the structure of Tanzania has gone through development that has affected it politically and economically with impressive improvements in social welfare in recent years. However, the country continues to face considerable development challenges, in essential areas such as economic distribution, population growth, corruption and a stronger division between party and state. At the same time, new opportunities are arising which have the potential to become decisive for the necessary changes and reforms. Overall the country Tanzania has a long ways to go to become a prospering developed country, based on its previous improvement this should be an easy task. Tanzania’s rates of poverty occurring within the country could be diminished with the help of organizations that give those in impoverished areas with opportunities that give them a chance to receive a higher education giving them the ability to obtain a higher paying job, advancing the economy with the establishment of diverse occupations. Also the increasing availability of healthcare has given to citizens of Tanzania has allowed them to have the chance of reaching a  stabilized population.


Work cited

●       https://www.usaid.gov/tanzania/economic-growth-and-trade

●       https://tradingeconomics.com/tanzania/gdp-growth-annual

●       https://www.itnewsafrica.com/2018/07/top-10-wealthiest-african-countries-according-to-gdp/

●       https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/tanzania/overview

●       file:///H:/downloads/REVIVAL%20OF%20SISAL%20INDUSTRY.pdf

●       https://www.usaid.gov/tanzania



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