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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #48 of 54: Swaziland | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #50 of 54: Togo »

August 13, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #49 of 54: Tanzania

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Tanzania

Formal Name: Republic of Tanzania.

Term for Nationals: Tanzanians.

Capital: Dodoma. Population: 180, 000. (Official Capital.)

Independence Achieved: December 9, 1961, from Britain.

Major Cities: Dar-es Salaam (De Factor Capital. Population: 2, 347, 000), and Zanzibar, Population: 362,166.


Tanzania is located in East Africa. Mozambique, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Indian Ocean bound Tanzania. The total land area of Tanzania is 364,900 square miles. The topography of Tanzania varies, with Coastal lowlands of sixteen to sixty kilometers in dept and the mid section composed of the East African plateau. Two branches of the Great Rift Valley border Tanzania in the east and west. Mount Kilimanjaro at 5, 895 meters is the highest point in the country. Most of Tanzania is dry and has sparse rainfall. Temperature tends to range from 50.F to 87.F.


Tanzania is estimated to have a population of 36,977,000. Urban population is about 10 percent. The population centers are Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar town.

Ethnic Groups:

Up to 120 ethnic groups live in Tanzania. The largest ethnic group is Sukuma with about 13 % of the population.

Languages: Each ethnic group speaks its own language but most of the people also speak Swahili. English is the official language.


About 35% of Tanzanians are Christians, the rest of the population is evenly divided between Muslim and indigenous religions adherents.

Education: literacy rate is estimated at 78.2%.


Tanzania is mainly an agricultural economy, with agriculture employing over 90% of the labor force. Under president Julius Nyerere, the economy was planned and socialistic. The economy is gradually being privatized. GDP estimate: $22.5 billion; Per Capita GDP: $630. Monetary Unit: Shilling (TZS).

History and Government:

Tanzania is composed of two former independent states, Tangayika and Zanzibar. The country is divided into twenty-five regions, twenty on the mainland and five on the island of Zanzibar. Each of these administrative divisions has its own governments. At the national level are a president, legislature and independent judiciary. The president tends to be the most powerful of the three branches of government.


Germany colonized Tanganyika in the 1880s. Germany was defeated during the First World War and Tanganyika was given to Brittan as a mandated territory by the League of Nations. At the end of the Second World War, the United Nations continued that mandate, now called trust territory.

Britain gave Tanganyika independence in 1961. In 1964 Tanganyika united with Zanzibar and changed its name to Tanzania.

Julius Nyerere was elected the country’s first president and he tried to practice what he called African socialism and sent the economy south. Nyerere was easily the best intentioned man on earth but nations are not ruled with good intentions only, but with economic and political realism.

Through it all, the country has managed to keep some form of democracy going. There is a president, a legislature and an independent judiciary. It seems that elections aren’t as rigged, as elsewhere in Africa. Nyerere quit when he had his fill of Ujama and was replaced by his vice president, the former president of Zanzibar. The later has held elections and handed power to a new president.

Tanzania is divided into 26 regions, 21 on the mainland and 5 on the Islands; and further subdivided divided into ninety nine local government areas with their councils.

The Tanzanian economy is still recovering from the shambles that Nyerere’s Ujama socialism produced. The country is now beginning to utilize the market economy to explore her natural resources and attract tourists, build good hotels and roads that tourist would like, and explore its natural gas, and reported gold. Of course, Tanzania needs to develop her agriculture, from subsistence to mechanized, for it is obvious that subsistence farming, primitive farming cannot produce the kind of food needed by a burgeoning population, especially in the urban areas.

Posted by Administrator at August 13, 2006 12:13 PM


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