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GDP (2009): GDP PPP was $13.8 billion.
Average growth rate: 3.4 in 2009
Per capita income: $1800
Natural resources: Hydroelectric potential, coal, iron, gemstone, gold, natural gas, nickel, diamonds.
Agriculture (48% of GDP): Products--coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco, cloves, sisal, cashew nuts, maize.
Industry (8.3% of GDP): Types--textiles, agribusiness, light manufacturing, oil refining, construction.
Trade: Exports--coffee, cotton, tea, sisal, diamonds, cashew nuts, tobacco, flowers, seaweed, fish, and cloves. Major markets--U.K., Germany, India, Japan, Italy, and the Far East. Primary imports--petroleum, consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment,, chemicals, pharmaceuticals. Major suppliers--U.K., Germany, Japan, India, Italy, U.S., United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya.
Budget: Income .............. $1.22 Billion
Expenditure ... $1.2 Billion
Natural Resources: Hydropower, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel.
Major Industries: primarily agricultural processing (sugar, beer, cigarettes, sisal twine), diamond and gold mining, oil refining, shoes, cement, textiles, wood products, fertilizer, salt .
Tanzania profile - Timeline
1498 - Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama visits Tanzanian coast.
1506 - Portuguese succeed in controlling most of the East African coast.
1699 - Portuguese ousted from Zanzibar by Omani Arabs.
1884 - German Colonisation Society begins to acquire territory on the mainland.
1886 - Britain and Germany sign an agreement allowing Germany to set up a sphere of influence over mainland Tanzania, except for a narrow piece of territory along the coast which stays under the authority of the sultan of Zanzibar, while Britain enjoys a protectorate over Zanzibar.
1905-06 - Indigenous Maji Maji revolt suppressed by German troops.
Nyerere argued that urbanization, which had been brought about by European colonialism and was economically driven by wage labor, had disrupted the traditional pre-colonial rural African society. He believed that it was possible for his government to recreate precolonial traditions in Tanzania and, in turn, re-establish a traditional level of mutual respect and return the people to settled, moral ways of life. The main way to do that, he said, was to move people out of the urban cities like the capital Dar es Salaam and into newly created villages dotting the rural countryside.
The idea for collective rural agriculture seemed like a sound idea—Nyerere's government could afford to provide equipment, facilities, and material to a rural population if they were brought together in "nucleated" settlements, each of around 250 families. Establishing new groups of rural populations also made the distribution of fertilizer and seed easier, and it would be possible to provide a good level of education to the population as well. Villagization was seen as a way to overcome the problems of "tribalization"—a plague which beset other newly independent African countries that drove people to separate into tribes based on ancient identities.
Nyerere set out his policy in the Arusha Declaration of Feb. 5, 1967. The process started slowly and was voluntary at first, but by the end of the 1960s, there were only 800 or so collective settlements. In the 1970s, Nyerere's reign became more oppressive, as he began to force people to leave the cities and move to the collective villages. By the end of the 1970s, there were over 2,500 of these villages: but things weren't going well in them.
Almost immediately after President John F. Kennedy established USAID by executive order under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, USAID began work in the newly independent Tanganyika. A new nation with enormous potential, Tanganyika partnered with USAID to build human capacity in the public service sector. To achieve this, education became a high priority, with USAID helping establish the Morogoro Agricultural College (now Sokoine University of Agriculture), the Institute of Public Administration, and teacher training colleges in both Iringa and Dar es Salaam.
In 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar unified to create the country now known as Tanzania. While focusing primarily on education, USAID also invested in community development, conservation, and infrastructure projects in order to transport food and water to rural areas. Most notably, in 1966 on behalf of USAID, the Stanford Research Institute studied the potential of a Tanzania-Zambia highway. Food assistance also began in this decade when, in 1962, Catholic Relief Services began administering the Food for Peace program (created under U.S. Public Law 480) as a response to food shortages.
The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1973 sought to refocus aid in an effort to improve the lives of the poorest majority. For Tanzania, this was the rural farming population (roughly 90 percent of the population). The 1970s were marked by an increased focus on large-scale agricultural projects with the goal of increasing small farm outputs. Programs included increasing credit available to farmers and bolstering the extension service within the Ministry of Agriculture, including seed multiplication and distribution. In 1973, the Tanzania-Zambia Highway was completed, linking Tanzania to international markets and increasing accessibility to its own southwestern region. The mission sought to strengthen rural health centers and train health care workers family planning and maternal health programs also emerged during this decade.
Building on successes from the previous decade, the 1980s began with USAID supporting policies that met Tanzania’s goal of decentralization. USAID worked to empower rural areas to govern themselves effectively in order to maximize agricultural advances of the time.
Despite progress, a foreign exchange crisis loomed over Tanzania. In 1982, in response to non-repayment of loans, the United States invoked the Brooke Amendment of the Foreign Assistance Act, which restricts assistance to any country in default for more than six months on loans made under the act. As a result, no new funds were allocated to the mission, resulting in a phase-out plan over a four-year time period. Through negotiations and debt restructuring, the Brooke Amendment was lifted in 1987, breathing new life into the program.
In the late 1980s, rural road construction remained a core objective, along with HIV/AIDS as rates climbed as high as 40 percent in certain sectors of the Tanzanian population. USAID supported the development of the National AIDS Control Program and began to distribute and promote the use of condoms.
In the mid-1990s, USAID launched Participation in Environmental Resource Management to assist Tanzania’s Wildlife Division in creating plans to protect natural resources. In order to safeguard publicly-used resources at the village level, USAID partnered with the Peace Corps to install trained volunteers across the country. Democracy and governance also became a core objective for the first time, and in 1995 USAID provided election observers to ensure fair voting practices. Additionally, the mission assisted in revenue collection and helped Tanzania recover lost income from tax evasion.
In the 2000s, health initiatives characterized USAID’s biggest accomplishments in the new millennium. In 2003, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief was created, a program that funds 95 percent of USAID’s HIV/AIDS programming in Tanzania. As the largest HIV/AIDS donor in Tanzania, USAID’s program emphasizes treatment and prevention, counseling and testing, protection of vulnerable populations, tuberculosis, and male circumcision.
The President’s Malaria Initiative started in Tanzania in 2005. By working with the National Malaria Control Program, the Zanzibar Malaria Control Program, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USAID protected millions of Tanzanians annually through indoor residual spraying and distributed over five million mosquito nets since 2006. This contributed to a 28 percent decrease in child mortality in the second half of the 2000s. The malaria infection rate in Zanzibar is now less than 1 percent, and is at the pre-elimination stage.
Today, Tanzania remains a key development partner of the United States in sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2011, the Feed the Future initiative has worked to reduce poverty and improve nutrition by supporting Tanzania’s agricultural sector—a major cornerstone of the economy. Since that time, Feed the Future interventions have benefited 450,000 people, and have supported better access to markets, training, and modern technology among smallholder farmers and the private sector. As USAID moves ahead, Tanzania remains a focus for additional presidential initiatives, including Power Africa and Let Girls Learn.
The History of African Development
The History of African Development – published by the African Economic History Network (AEHN) – aims to draw experts in the field of African History, Economics and African Development Studies together around an open access textbook. The textbook is primarily intended for teachers/lecturers and undergraduate students, at African universities, but also for an interested wider public audience. The AEHN is reaching out to all scholars willing to contribute a concise chapter (c. 5,000 words). The chapters describe and explain various aspects of historical African development trajectories in plain English language. All chapters include a list of suggested readings, data sources and study questions to test student’s comprehension. By offering this book in an open-source environment, the AEHN seeks to facilitate a wider diffusion of the knowledge that is generated within our academic network and support capacity building among a new generation of African historians and development practitioners worldwide.
The book is used in teaching at numerous African universities, including: African School of Economics (Benin), University of Ghana, American University of Nigeria, Mountains of the Moon University (Uganda), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), University of Malawi, University of Zimbabwe etc. Also, Lund University’s online Diploma course on “African Development – from the past to the present” has been based on AEHN’s Textbook.
If you are willing to offer a chapter contribution, please contact one of the editors.
Citation: Frankema, Ewout, Hillbom, Ellen, Kufakurinani, Ushehwedu and Meier zu Selhausen, Felix (Eds.) (ongoing). The History of African Development. An Online Textbook for a New Generation of African Students and Teachers. African Economic History Network.
Ewout Frankema, Ellen Hillbom, Ushehwedu Kufakurinani and Felix Meier zu Selhausen
President: Samia Suluhu Hassan
Vice-President Hassan took over in March 2021 on the death of President John Magufuli.Mr Magufuli had caused international concern over his campaign against the independent media and other issues, including gay rights and his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government said he died of heart problems, although the opposition has alleged his death was Covid-related.
Samia Suhulu Hassan was elected as Mr Magufuli's running mate in 2015 and again in 2020. A contrasting figure to her abrasive and impetuous predecessor, she is due to serve out the remainder of his five-year term.
Laws encourage self-censorship while threats and attacks against journalists hinder critical reporting, according to US-based Freedom House.
That has not stopped the country's media scene from developing: once small and largely state-controlled, the media industry has grown rapidly following the advent of the multi-party era in the mid-1990s.
Television was a latecomer, with state TV launched only in 2001.
Tanzania Economy - History
In order to understand Tanzania’s political, social, and economic situation before colonization, it is important to understand the history behind the two regions that make up modern-day Tanzania.
The United Republic of Tanzania was established in 1964 as a result of the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, both of which had recently gained their independence from British colonial rule. Zanzibar, an island port just off the coast of Tanganyika, had been under British control since 1890. The British had been given the “trusteeship” of Tanganyika by the League of Nations in 1920 after Germany was defeated in World War I. Before the war, from 1894 to 1914, Tanganyika, along with two smaller regions, was controlled by Germany and known as German East Africa.
Zanzibar and the coast of what is now called Tanzania had been in contact with traders from the Persian Gulf since about the 10th century. Persian settlers had intermingled and intermarried with Bantu-speaking Africans, resulting in the Swahili culture and language that still exists in coastal Tanzania. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the coast was controlled intermittently by the Portuguese, who established trading posts, including at Kilwa. At the end of the 17th century, Africans, with the help of Persians from Oman, expelled the Portuguese from most of the Tanzanian coast.2 At first the Omanis exercised mainly “nominal overlordship” in the area, but in about 1800 they took control of Kilwa and then Zanzibar and began administering the area more tightly.3 Zanzibar became an international trading center and the Sultan established diplomatic relations with the US, England and France.4 However, the Omanis’ control was limited to Zanzibar and the coast and focused on making sure trade was directed to them in Zanzibar.5
During the period that the Omanis ruled Zanzibar and the coast, new caravan routes were established, moving goods between the various coastal towns and the East African interior.6 Initially, slave trade dominated, but by about 1850, as slave trading slowed down in response to decreasing demand and anti-slavery activity, trading in other products became more important. These products included ivory for piano keys, billiard balls, jewelry and furniture, and palm oil for making soap, candles, and lubricating oil for machinery. In exchange, Africans acquired cloth, salt and guns.7 The Omanis also established plantations on Zanzibar, using large numbers of slaves to produce cloves for the world market.8
For the most part, the Omanis did not venture into the interior of East Africa. The trade routes from the coast to the interior were controlled by African tribes.9 Therefore, although the coastal area of East Africa was open to overseas travelers, subject to Islamic influence, and controlled by the Omanis until the late 1800s, the interior was almost entirely separate and cut off from outside forces.10 Essentially all of the tribes in the Tanzanian interior were descendents of the Bantus who had moved into the area, with traditional economies based on hunting, farming, and animal herding.11 The tribes formed a variety of different types of communities. There were many small communities which maintained order without rulers, laws or military forces, and instead used customs and family relationships to keep order.12 In the fertile highland areas bordering Lake Nyasa , Lake Tanganyika and the other great lakes, large organized states developed that were ruled by kings but also included other important figures such as queen mothers, heads of clans, and lower-level chiefs who balanced the power of the kings.13
Unlike the coast , which had been introduced to writing by the Persians, the people of the Tanzanian interior did not have a system of writing.14 Therefore, much of the information known about the interior was reported and often misinterpreted by early European explorers such as James Hanning Speke. Speke had traveled to the Lake Nyasa region and met with an important king, King Mutesa of the Buganda. Speke later wrote a book about his travels in which he was very critical of Mutesa and complained about the formalities of Mutesa’s court: “The farce continued, and how to manage these haughty, capricious blacks puzzled my brains considerably. A later explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, also met Mutesa and disagreed with Speke’s criticisms. Stanley wrote that Mutesa was “intelligent in questions and remarks beyond anything I expected to meet in Africa…[T]hat he should have obtained supremacy over a great region into which moneyed soldiers from Cairo and Zanzibar flocked…[was] sufficient to win my favorable judgment. As Stanley’s description made clear, great societies were in existence in the interior of East Africa in the 1800s, most Europeans just didn’t know about them.
1. “Tanzania.” Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. 4 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/
2. “Law: Anglophone Eastern Africa.” Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. 4 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/
3. Iliffe, John. Africans: The History of a Continent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Print. 181.
4. “Law: Anglophone Eastern Africa.” Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. 4 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/
5. Iliffe, John. Africans: The History of a Continent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Print. 181.
6. "Tanazina." The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. Columbia University Press, 2004. Questia Online Library. Web. 27 Feb. 2010. http://www.questia.com/library/encyclopedia/tanzania.jsp
7. “Africa in the Nineteenth Century, 1780-1914.” DISCovering World History. Online Edition. Gale, 2003. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. .
8. Iliffe, John. Africans: The History of a Continent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Print. 181.
9. Iliffe. Africans The History of a Continent. 181.
10. Wesseling, H L. Divide and Rule: The Partition of Africa, 1880-1914. Trans. Arnold J Pomerans. Westport: H.L. Wesseling, 1996. Print. 133.
11. "East Africa - An Overview." Africa.Upenn.edu. National Endowment for the Humanities, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. http://www.africa.upenn.edu/NEH/overview.html
12. “Law: Anglophone Eastern Africa.” Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. 4 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/History/
13. “Law: Anglophone Eastern Africa.”
14. Griffiths, Ieuan LL. The African Inheritance. New York: Routledge, 1995. Print. 15.
15. Hanning, John Speke. Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile. Mineola: Dover Publications, Inc., 1996. Print. 310.
16. Hugon, Anne. The Exploration of Africa From Cairo to the Cape. New York: Hary N. Abrams, Inc., 1993. Print. 139.
1 To the best of my knowledge, Gareth Austin is the only historian of Africa to have engaged with this literature: Austin, ‘The “reversal of fortune” thesis’. C. A. Bayly has commented on India and Africa, though primarily on the former: Indigenous and Colonial Origins of Comparative Economic Development: The Case of Colonial India and Africa (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4474, 2008).
2 Even so, some of the most notable thematic and regional studies were published more than twenty years ago: Patrick Manning, Slavery, Colonialism and Economic Growth in Dahomey, 1640–1960 (Cambridge, 1982) Manning, Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa, 1880–1985 (Cambridge, 1988) Paul E. Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (Cambridge, 1983) Fred Cooper, From Slaves to Squatters: Plantation Labour and Agriculture in Zanzibar and Coastal Kenya, 1890–1925 (New Haven, 1980) Cooper, On the Waterfront: Urban Disorder and the Transformation of Work in Colonial Mombasa (New Haven, 1987). John K. Thornton's Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, 1992) only just qualifies as an exception.
3 A. G. Hopkins, An Economic History of West Africa (London, 1973) Ralph A. Austen, African Economic History: Internal Development and External Dependency (London, 1987) Charles H. Feinstein, An Economic History of South Africa (Cambridge, 2005). Paul T. Zeleza's A Modern Economic History of Africa, vol. I: The Nineteenth Century (Dakar, 1993) summarizes much of the work undertaken during the previous two decades.
About the Author
Paul Tiyambe Zeleza is widely recognized as one the leading authorities on African economic history. His book, A Modern Economic History of Africa, won the 1994 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, the continent's most prestigious book award. In 1998 he recieved Special Commendation of the Noma Award for Manufacturing African Studies and Crises. He is also the recipient of Choice Outstanding Academic Title.
He is currently Vice Chancellor and Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the United States International University-Africa, a position he assumed in January 2016. Prior to that, for twenty-five years he held senior administrative and academic positions at six universities in Canada and the United States. A renowned public intellectual, he has authored hundreds of essays and more than two dozen books, including works of fiction. He is a member of numerous editorial boards and the governing boards of several university associations, and is a much sought-after international speaker.
Tanzania History Facts and Timeline
Situated on the coast of East Africa, Tanzania has only been in existence in its current form since 1964, when it gained independence following a long period of European colonial rule. However, it is one of the oldest inhabited regions on earth.
It is most famous for its breathtaking sights such as Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti National Park, yet increasing numbers of tourists are taking an interest in the rich and colourful history of Tanzania.
Its prehistory dates back more than two million years, evidenced by fossilised remains belonging to pre-human species.
Travellers interested in Tanzania's Stone Age history flock to the Isimila Gorge, where the ancient rock art is believed to date back 30,000 years. Some of the oldest evidence of Homo Sapien and its predecessor, Homo Erectus, has been found in the Great African Rift Valley at the Olduvai Gorge, within site of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Hunter-gatherer peoples, such as the Khoisan, inhabited the region for thousands of years, before the technologically-advanced Bantu arrived in great numbers. Traders from India and the Persian Gulf also began coming to Tanzania from the first millennium AD, bringing Islam to the country's shores. As early as the 8th century AD, Islam was preached on the Swahili Coast.
The earliest Tanzania cultures were also renowned for their iron and steel forging abilities. Around 2,000 years ago, the Haya people produced an innovative blast-furnace which allowed them to manufacture carbon steel.
The oldest Islamic ruins in Tanzania date back to a time between the 13th and 16th centuries. Visitors staying in the capital Dar es Salaam can make the short journey to the Kaole ruins, an archaeological site which is home to the oldest mosque in East Africa. It also hosts Chinese artefacts which evidence the ancient trade routes between Tanzania and the Far East.
One of the earliest notable immigrants from the Middle East was the Sultan of Muscat and Oman, who claimed the coast as his own and set up the island of Zanzibar as a hub for the Arab slave trade. This is perhaps one of the saddest episodes in Tanzania history, since well over half of the Arab-Swahili population of Zanzibar became slaves.
Modern-day visitors to Zanzibar can learn about the slave trade by visiting the former Slave Market and seeing its dungeon-like chambers. Zanzibar's main city, Stone Town, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, littered with ancient architecture such as the Old Fort, built by the Omani in the 17th century.
In 1964, the Sultan of Zanzibar was overthrown by local revolutionaries and the majority Arab government disbanded. The final death toll from this bloody coup is unknown, but it is widely believed that it could be as many as 20,000 people. The revolution was led by the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP), which later based itself in the former sultan's residence, the House of Wonders. Nowadays, tourists can visit the House of Wonders and learn about Zanzibar and Swahili culture.
German Colonial Rule
Tanzania was conquered by Imperial Germany during the latter years of the 19th century, with the exception of Zanzibar, which remained under Arab control. The country was part of the wider German East Africa Empire, which also included Burundi and Rwanda. Tanzania came under increasing attention from Britain at this time, which had colonial ambitions of its own.
The Germans spent much of WWI engaged in guerrilla warfare against the British, led by General Paul Emil von-Lettow Vorbeck. Following the end of WWI, however, the League of Nations ceded many of the former German territories to the British. As such, the country became a British Mandate and the German role in the history of Tanzania came to a close.
The transition to independence was a relatively smooth one for Tanzania, avoiding the bloodshed which affected some of its African neighbours. Julius Nyerere was a key figure in the fight for independence. He worked closely with the British and even became prime minister under a British administration in 1960. By 1961, British rule had ended and Tanganyika became an independent state, renaming itself.
Following the Zanzibar Revolution in 1963, Zanzibar merged with Tanganyika the following year to become the Tanzania that we know today. However, Zanzibar still remains a semi-autonomous authority. Tanzania's fight for independence is well-covered by the National Museum, located in the capital Dar es Salaam.
Over the years, the country has followed a path similar to other newly independent African former colonies, that is to say, stunted economic growth and slow development at the hands of disappointing governments and one-party state politics. Tourism certainly helps to boost the economy, while the 21st century has been one of growth so far, with the country realigning itself with the investment of China rather than the political doctrine.