Tanzania, whose name derives from the 1964 merger of two countries; Tanganyika mainland and the island of Zanzibar is one of the group of countries often referred to as East Africa. These include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Prior to the merger, Tanganyika became independent from colonial rule by the British on December 9th 1961. After the merger the official name of the country became “The United Republic of Tanzania”.
Located along the Indian Ocean, Tanzania is economically vital to many landlocked countries for its ports of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanga and Lindi. Countries such as Zambia and Malawi depend on the port services in Tanzania for their imported and export goods. Similarly, the port of Mwanza located on the shores of Lake Victoria serves as a vital trade linkage for neighboring Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Geographically, Tanzania is the largest of the five countries, measuring 364, 900 square miles with a population of nearly 44 million people. It also features the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, as well as Lake Victoria, the largest tropical lake in the world and world’s second largest freshwater lake, second to lake Superior in North America.
Despite a great diversity in tribal culture, Tanzania enjoys a unique national unity through its commonly spoken language of Kiswahili, one that is taught in schools and used as the official medium for domestic trade, news broadcasting and government correspondence. Additionally, English remains widely spoken, taught in schools and officially used as medium for both domestic and international trade.
Over the years of its independence, Tanzania has cultivated great relations with its regional neighbors, ranging from academic programs, borders, culture, trade, and tourism. It is also evident that the collaborative efforts among the regional neighbors including Tanzania are and will continue to create and foster economic opportunities for the benefit of all inhabitants of East Africa.
The political spectrum of Tanzania has been that of remarkable phases unlike many other independent African countries thus, setting an example of democratic governance among its neighbors and the rest of Africa. As early as 1967, under the leadership of the country’s first president, the late Hon. Julius Nyerere, Tanzania boldly took the initiative to adapt the “Ujamaa”policy, a one party rule policy the likes of which are that of socialism. It was adapted with a vision of unifying the people and creating equitable distribution of wealth. Hence, radical measures were taken including the nationalization of housing, large scale business operations many of which were turned into parastatal organizations i.e. stand alone business entity under government umbrella.
After nearly two decades of great strife under “Ujamaa” policy, Tanzania was ready to turn the course and adapt yet another policy that was deemed efficient and more effective in the country’s economic growth. “Ujamaa”, as it turned out, had failed to deliver the expected results partly due to lack of proper skills in the management of resources.
The administrations that followed, beginning with the Hon. Ali Hassan Mwinyi who succeeded the late Hon. Julius Nyerere, have pursued a policy of free enterprise, allowing the private sector to operate business competitively with minimum government control. And, as of late, great emphasis is being placed on foreign capital investment particularly in the areas of tourism, construction of infrastructure and mining. So far, despite setbacks caused by global economic turmoil such as the sharp rise in oil prices, Tanzania is showing positive signs including an average economic growth rate of nearly 6% and a declining inflation rate.
The words of the country’s first president, the late Hon. Dr. Julius Nyerere remain true to this day: That the development of a nation depends on four fundamental prerequisites; land, people, good policy and good leadership. Of these four, Tanzania possesses good potentials in its land with its abundant resources and a rapidly growing population. It will be up to each administration that takes charge to steer the country towards prosperity with a good policy.
Tanzania Investment Centre
Unique Financial Services
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Cotecna Shipping and Customs Trade Solutions
Tanzania Tourist Board