For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.
Area: Mainland--945,000 sq. km. (378,000 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than New Mexico and Texas combined. Zanzibar--1,658 sq. km. (640 sq. mi.).
Cities: Capital--Dar es Salaam (executive), Dodoma (legislative), Major metropolises--Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya, Mtwara, Stonetown in Zanzibar.
Climate: Varies from tropical to arid to temperate.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Tanzanian(s); Zanzibari(s).
Population: Mainland--41.8 million (2010 est.). Zanzibar--1.2 million (est.).
Religions: Muslim 35.0%, Christian 63.0%, other (traditional, Sikh, Hindu, Baha'i) 2.0%.
Language: Official--Kiswahili and English; national--Kiswahili.
Education: Attendance--73.2% mainland (primary), 71.4% Zanzibar. Literacy--females 67.0% mainland, 76.8% Zanzibar; males 79.9% mainland, 86.0% Zanzibar.
Health: Infant mortality rate--68/1,000. Life expectancy--52.4 years (2010 est.).
Work force: Agriculture--80.0%; industry, commerce, government--20.0%.
Independence: Tanganyika 1961, Zanzibar 1963. Union formed in April 1964.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state and commander in chief), vice president, and prime minister. Legislative--unicameral National Assembly (for the Union), House of Representatives (for Zanzibar only). Judicial--Mainland: Court of Appeals, High Courts, Resident Magistrate Courts, district courts, and primary courts; Zanzibar: High Court, people's district courts, kadhis court (Islamic courts).
Political parties: 1. Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), 2. The Civic United Front (CUF), 3. Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), 4. Union for Multiparty Democracy (UMD), 5. National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR-Mageuzi), 6. National League for Democracy (NLD), 7. National Reconstruction for Alliance (NRA), 8. Tanzania Democratic Alliance Party (TADEA), 9. Tanzania Labour Party (TLP), 10. United Democratic Party (UDP), 11. Demokrasia Makini (MAKINI), 12. United Peoples' Democratic Party (UPDP), 13. Chama cha Haki na Ustawi (CHAUSTA), 14. The Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD), 15. Democratic Party (DP), 16. Progressive Party of Tanzania (PPT-Maendeleo), 17. Jahazi Asilia.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Administrative subdivisions: 26 regions (21 on mainland, 3 on Zanzibar, 2 on Pemba).
GDP (2009 est.): $22.4 billion.
Average growth rate (2009 est.): 4.9%.
Per capita income (2008): $440.
Natural resources: Hydroelectric potential, coal, iron, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel, diamonds, crude oil potential, forest products, wildlife, fisheries.
Agriculture (2009 est.): 26.6% of GDP. Products--coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco, cloves, sisal, cashew nuts, maize, livestock, sugar cane, paddy, wheat, pyrethrum.
Industry/manufacturing (2009 est.): 22.6% of GDP. Types--textiles, agro-processing, light manufacturing, construction, steel, aluminum, paints, cement, cooking oil, beer, mineral water and soft drinks.
Trade (2009 est.): Exports--$2.74 billion (merchandise exports): coffee, cotton, tea, sisal, cashew nuts, tobacco, cut flowers, seaweed, cloves, fish and fish products, minerals (diamonds, gold, and gemstones), manufactured goods, horticultural products; services (tourism services, communication, construction, insurance, financial, computer, information, government, royalties, personal and other businesses). Major markets--U.K., Germany, India, Japan, Italy, China, Bahrain, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia. Primary imports--petroleum, consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment, used clothing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals. Major suppliers--U.K., Germany, Japan, India, Italy, U.S., United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya.
Tanzania’s population is concentrated along the coast and isles, the fertile northern and southern highlands, and the lands bordering Lake Victoria. The relatively arid and less fertile central region is sparsely inhabited. So too is much of the fertile and well watered far west, including the shores of Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa (Malawi). About 80% of Tanzanians live in rural communities.
Zanzibar, population about one million (3% of Tanzania’s population), consists of two main islands and several small ones just off the Tanzanian coast. The two largest islands are Unguja (often referred to simply as Zanzibar) and Pemba. Zanzibaris, together with their socio-linguistic cousins in the Comoros Islands and the East Africa coast from modern-day southern Somalia to northern Mozambique, created Swahili culture and language, which reflect long and close associations with other parts of Africa and with the Arab world, Persia, and South Asia.
Tanzanians are proud of their strong sense of national identity and commitment to Swahili as the national language. There are roughly 120 ethnic communities in the country representing several of Africa’s main socio-linguistic groups.
Consensus scientific opinion places human origins in the Great Rift Valley, which dominates the landscape of much of East Africa. Northern Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge has provided rich evidence of the area's prehistory, including fossil remains of some of humanity's earliest ancestors.
Interior Tanzania’s great cultural and linguistic diversity is due to the various histories of migrations from elsewhere in the region. In some instances groups of migrants separated, leading to different cultural developments. In other cases various groups merged, creating new cultural identities and languages. Most Tanzanians are aware of their cultural origins and the traditional histories of the ethnic community with which they identify. The peoples of the interior traded with coastal communities, which in turn traded with all the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. Long standing patterns of political organization, economic production, and trade were disrupted by the violent escalation of the Arab-led slave and ivory trades in the 18th and 19th centuries. Bagamoyo on the coast and Zanzibar town were major slave ports serving markets for slave labor mostly in the Arab world. These societies, already severely stressed by the violence of the slave trade, came under further pressure once European explorers (mostly military, some missionary) opened the way to European conquest (first by semi-private European companies, later by European states) from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century.
Coastal and island Tanzania organized into city-states around 1,500 years ago. The Swahili city-states traded with the peoples of the interior and the peoples of the Indian Ocean and beyond (including China). Many merchants from these trading partner nations (principally from inland Africa, the Arab world, Persia and India) established themselves in these coastal and island communities, which became cosmopolitan in flavor.
The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama explored the East African coast in 1498 on his voyage to India. By 1506, the Portuguese claimed control over the entire coast. This control was nominal, however, because the Portuguese did not settle the area (except for a few forts) or explore the interior. Instead, they violently enforced a monopoly on Indian Ocean trade, denying the Swahili city-states their main means of livelihood. The Portuguese also demanded tribute, bombarding and looting communities that refused to pay protection money. The coastal peoples rose up against the Portuguese in the late 1700s. Their resistance was assisted by one of their main trading partners, the Omani Arabs. By the early 19th century the Portuguese were forced out of coastal East Africa north of the Ruvuma River and the Omanis moved in.
Based in Zanzibar, the Omani Sultanate maintained close trade and diplomatic relations with the major trading powers, including the United States as of 1837. They also maintained close relations with some states in the interior with whom they were partners in the ivory and slave trades. European exploration of the interior began soon after the Omanis had consolidated their control of the coast and Zanzibar. Two German missionaries reached Mt. Kilimanjaro in the 1840s. British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke crossed the interior to Lake Tanganyika in 1857, with Speke going on to Lake Victoria. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary-explorer who crusaded against the slave trade, established his last mission at Ujiji, where he was "found" by Henry Morton Stanley, an American journalist-explorer, who had been commissioned by the New York Herald to locate him.
The Omani Sultanate, which had been heavily engaged in selling African slaves principally to the Arab world, outlawed the slave trade in 1876. British influence over the Sultanate steadily increased in the 1880s until Zanzibar formally became a British Protectorate in 1890.
German colonial interests were first advanced in 1884. Karl Peters, who formed the Society for German Colonization, concluded a series of agreements of dubious validity with "leaders" of questionable standing purporting to accept German "protection" for their inland African states. Prince Otto von Bismarck's government backed Peters in the subsequent establishment of the German East Africa Company. In 1886 and 1890, Anglo-German agreements were negotiated that delineated the British and German spheres of influence in the interior of East Africa and along the coastal strip previously claimed by the Omani sultan of Zanzibar. In 1891, the German Government took over direct administration of the territory from the German East Africa Company and appointed a governor with headquarters at Dar es Salaam.
German rule, which featured "hut taxes" and conscript labor to fund administration and infrastructure that benefitted German settlers at the great disadvantage of African communities, provoked African resistance. The Maji Maji rebellion of 1905-07 united the peoples of the Southern Highlands in a struggle to expel the German administration. The German military killed 120,000 Africans in suppressing the rebellion.
German colonial domination of Tanganyika ended after World War I when control of most of the territory passed to the United Kingdom under a League of Nations mandate. After World War II, Tanganyika became a UN trust territory under British control. Subsequent years witnessed Tanganyika moving gradually toward self-government and independence.
In 1954, Julius K. Nyerere, a school teacher who was then one of only two Tanganyikans educated abroad at the university level (University of Edinburgh, Scotland), organized a political party--the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU candidates were victorious in the Legislative Council elections of September 1958 and February 1959. In December 1959, the United Kingdom agreed to the establishment of internal self-government following general elections to be held in August 1960. Nyerere was named chief minister of the subsequent government.
In May 1961, Tanganyika became autonomous, and Nyerere became Prime Minister under a new constitution. Full independence was achieved on December 9, 1961. Julius Nyerere, then age 39, was elected President when Tanganyika became a republic within the Commonwealth a year after independence. Tanganyika was the first East African state to gain independence.
Zanzibar: Sultanate/British Protectorate to Independence, Revolution, and Union
Under the Sultanate, the Arab population comprised the ruling class and landed aristocracy. Arabs, primarily from Oman, seized large tracts of land on Unguja (except in the less fertile far north of the island) to set up highly profitable spice plantations. Dispossessed indigenous Zanzibaris (known as Shirazis) became agricultural workers, sharecroppers, or semi-serfs. The plantations were also worked by slaves or former slaves, originating from the mainland. There was also significant mainland migration to the islands, especially Unguja, to work menial jobs during the boom years of the spice trade. The Afro-Shirazi population of Unguja mostly resented their Omani and British rulers.
Shirazis from the northern tip of Unguja, the nearby island of Tumbatu, and Pemba enjoyed symbiotic commercial relations with the Arab new arrivals and their Sultanate. They were not dispossessed of their lands. They mostly prospered under the Omanis. Pemban and far northern Ungujan Shirazis tended to identify their interests with the Sultanate.
The British ruled Zanzibar on behalf of the Sultan, not on behalf of his subjects. Their policies explicitly favored Arabs and Asians over Shirazis and mainland Africans (in that order). A series of pre-independence elections revealed two camps: the anti-Sultanate, Africa-oriented, and secular Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) with a stronghold in the densely populated areas of Unguja; and the pro-Sultanate, Arab World-oriented, and explicitly Islamic Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ZNP) and its Pemban ally (the Zanzibar and Pemban People's Party - ZPPP), which was supported by most Arabs, Asians, far northern Ungujans, Pembans, and those who worked for the state. The ASP consistently received a larger share of the popular vote (though not by much), but the ZNP and its ally received more seats because they predominated in more constituencies. At independence, the British handed power to the two parties friendliest to the Sultanate and the status quo: the ZNP and ZPPP.
In January, 1964, one month after independence from Britain, Zanzibar (specifically Unguja) experienced a bloody uprising against the institutions of the Sultanate, the ZNP/ZPPP government, the Arab and Asian communities, and any Shirazis considered friendly to the state (such as ZNP members and Pembans). Although specific figures vary, several thousand Arabs were killed. Rape and other atrocities were widespread. Arabs were expelled or fled in large numbers. Asian shops were looted. Property was expropriated and re-distributed to ASP supporters. After a period of confusion, the ASP leadership and its allies assumed control under a "Supreme Revolutionary Council" and extended their control to Pemba (which had not participated in the uprising). Pemba was ruled by "Commissars" who used floggings, forced labor, and public humiliation to enforce their will over a hostile population. After a few months, the ASP leadership opted to accept an offer of union with Tanganyika (forming the nation of Tanzania), both to prevent a counter-revolution and to buttress the political position of the ASP leaders among other members of the Supreme Revolutionary Council. The Union Agreement (signed April 26, 1964) granted wide-ranging autonomy for Zanzibar. This date is observed in Tanzania as Union Day. It is Tanzania's official national day.
United Republic of Tanzania
The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar adopted the name "United Republic of Tanzania" on April 26, 1964. To form a sole ruling party in both parts of the union, Nyerere merged TANU (mainland) with the ASP (Zanzibar) to form the CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi-CCM, Revolutionary Party) in 1977. As the sole legal political party for all of Tanzania, CCM had the role of directing the population in all significant political and economic activities. In practice, Party and State were one. On February 5, 1977, the union of the two parties was ratified in a new constitution. The merger was reinforced by principles enunciated in the 1982 union constitution and reaffirmed in the constitution of 1984.
Nyerere instituted social policies that proved successful in forging a strong Tanzanian national identity, which to this day takes priority in the hearts of the great majority of Tanzanians over ethnic, regional or linguistic identities. Observers are nearly unanimous in attributing Tanzania's unbroken record of political stability to Nyerere's social policies. Nyerere's economic policies were ruinous. They were gradually reversed after he left power, but many in the state bureaucracy remain opposed to modern, market economics.
President Nyerere stepped down from office and was succeeded as President by Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1985. Nyerere retained his position as Chairman of the ruling CCM party for five more years. He remained influential in Tanzanian politics until his death in October 1999. The current President, Jakaya Kikwete, was elected in December 2005 in a process widely described as generally free and fair. Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume, the son of Zanzibar's first president, was elected in 2000 and then re-elected in 2005. Both of Karume's elections were marked by violence and widespread irregularities.
Tanzania's president and National Assembly members are elected concurrently by direct popular vote for 5-year terms. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government's leader in the National Assembly. The president selects his cabinet from among National Assembly members. The constitution also empowers him to nominate 10 non-elected members of Parliament, who also are eligible to become cabinet members. Elections for president and all National Assembly seats were last held in December 2005. The next presidential and parliamentary elections will be on October 31, 2010.
The unicameral National Assembly has up to 325 members: the Attorney General, the Speaker, five members elected from and by the Zanzibar House of Representatives, 75 special women's seats apportioned among the political parties based on their election results, 231 constituent seats (including 50 from Zanzibar), and up to 10 members nominated by the president. The ruling party, CCM, holds about 80% of the seats in the Assembly. Laws passed by the National Assembly are valid for Zanzibar only in specifically designated union matters.
Under the Union Agreement, Zanzibar has extensive autonomy within Tanzania. Although Zanzibar accounts for only 3% of Tanzania's population, it is guaranteed over 20% of seats in the Union Parliament (plus an indeterminate number of appointed seats). Zanzibar has its own President, legislature and bureaucracy ("the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar" led by "the Revolutionary Council") that presides over all non-union matters. The Tanzanian Union Parliament legislates on all union matters (Foreign Affairs, Defense, Police, etc.) and non-union matters for the mainland. Thus Zanzibari members of the Tanzanian legislature have a say on non-union matters governing the mainland, but their mainland colleagues have no say on non-union issues concerning Zanzibar. Aside from Zanzibar, no other region of Tanzania has its own government.
There are currently 81 members in the House of Representatives in Zanzibar: 50 elected by the people, 10 appointed by the president of Zanzibar, five ex officio members, an attorney general appointed by the president, and 15 special seats allocated to women. Ostensibly, Zanzibar's House of Representatives can make laws for Zanzibar without the approval of the union government as long as it does not involve union-designated matters. The terms of office for Zanzibar's president and House of Representatives are five years. The semi-autonomous status of Zanzibar under the Union is frequently debated, both by mainlanders and by Zanzibaris.
Tanzania has a five-level judiciary combining the jurisdictions of tribal, Islamic, and British common law. Appeal is from the primary courts through the district courts, resident magistrate courts, to the high courts, and from the high courts to the Court of Appeals. District and resident court magistrates are appointed by the Chief Justice, except for judges of the High Court and Court of Appeals, who are appointed by the president. The Zanzibari court system parallels the legal system of the union. All cases tried in Zanzibari courts, except for those involving constitutional issues and Islamic law, can be appealed to the Court of Appeals of the union. A commercial court was established on the mainland in September 1999 as a division of the High Court.
For administrative purposes, Tanzania is divided into 26 regions--21 on the mainland, three on Unguja (Zanzibar), and two on Pemba (Zanzibar's second isle). District councils (also referred to as local government authorities) act at the most local level. There are 114 councils operating in 99 districts; 22 urban, 92 rural. The 22 urban units are classified further as city (Dar es Salaam and Mwanza), municipal (Arusha, Dodoma, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Morogoro, Shinyanga, Tabora, and Tanga), and town councils (the remaining 11 communities).
Principal Government Officials
Vice President--Ali Mohamed Shein
Prime Minister--Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda
President of Zanzibar--Amani Abeid Karume
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Bernard Membe
Ambassador to the United States--Ombeni Sefue
Tanzania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1232 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037 (tel. 202-939-6125).
Tanzania is scheduled to hold its fourth multi-party general elections in October 2010. Although one-party rule ended in 1992, CCM has remained the dominant political force. In the December 2005 general elections, President Kikwete received over 80% of the vote and CCM increased its absolute parliamentary majority--the opposition now holds only six elected seats on the mainland. The 2005 Union elections were generally regarded as free and fair.
October 2005 elections in Zanzibar saw the re-election of Amani Abeid Karume by 53% to 46% over CUF opponent Seif Sharif Hamad, in a poll widely deemed by international observers to have had serious irregularities, including violence and intimidation. However, there were administrative improvements in election management compared to 2000, when 23 people were killed in post-election violence. CUF's December 2009 recognition of the 2005 results as legitimate has raised hopes of reconciliation and possible power-sharing between the two parties. Recent agreements between the two parties to form a unity government after the October elections has reduced, but not eliminated, political tension. A referendum on the unity government is scheduled for July 2010.
Since 2005, Tanzania's Parliament, under the leadership of Speaker Samuel Sitta, has increasingly exercised its oversight role, although it remains generally respectful of executive authority. Parliament has been more open to opposition voices. Opposition members of Parliament chair the three committees that oversee the government's public accounts.
Significant measures have been taken to liberalize the Tanzanian economy along market lines and encourage both foreign and domestic private investment. Beginning in 1986, the Government of Tanzania embarked on an adjustment program to dismantle state economic controls and encourage more active participation of the private sector in the economy. The program included a comprehensive package of policies which reduced the budget deficit and improved monetary control, substantially depreciated the overvalued exchange rate, liberalized the trade regime, removed most price controls, eased restrictions on the marketing of food crops, freed interest rates, and initiated a restructuring of the financial sector.
In February 2007 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the final review of Tanzania's second Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement and approved a three-year Policy Support Instrument (PSI) as a successor to the PRGF. Tanzania had implemented a second three-year PRGF in August 2003. From April 2000 to June 2003, the Tanzanian Government successfully completed a previous three-year PRGF. The PRGF was the successor program to the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) Tanzania had from 1996-1999. Tanzania also embarked on a major restructuring of state-owned enterprises.
Overall, real GDP growth has averaged about 6% a year over the past seven years, higher than the annual average growth of less than 5% in the late 1990s, but not enough to significantly improve the lives of average Tanzanians. The economy remains overwhelmingly donor-dependent. Total debt service payments for 2008 were $65 million. Although the global financial crisis significantly affected the tourism industry, one of Tanzania's top foreign-exchange earners, 2009 saw economic growth of nearly 5%. High food prices since a spike in 2008 have contributed to a rise in inflation to over 10%, a substantial increase from more moderate inflation earlier in the decade.
Agriculture constitutes the most important sector of the economy, providing about 27% of GDP and 80% of employment. Cash crops, including coffee, tea, cotton, cashews, sisal, cloves, and pyrethrum, account for the vast majority of export earnings. While the volume of major crops--both cash and goods marketed through official channels--have increased in recent years, large amounts of produce never reach the market. Poor pricing and unreliable cash flow to farmers continue to frustrate the growth of the agricultural sector.
Accounting for about 22.6% of GDP, Tanzania's industrial sector is one of the smallest in Africa. The main industrial activities are dominated by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) specializing in food processing including dairy products, meat packing, preserving fruits and vegetables, production of textile and apparel, leather tanning, and plastics. A few larger factories manufacture cement, rolled steel, corrugated iron, aluminum sheets, cigarettes, beer and bottling beverages, fruit juices, and mineral water. Other factories produce raw materials, import substitutes, and processed agricultural products. Poor infrastructure in water and electricity supply systems continues to hinder factory production. In general, Tanzania's manufacturing sector targets primarily the domestic market with limited exports of manufactured goods. Most of the industry is concentrated in Dar es Salaam.
Despite Tanzania's unbroken record of political stability, an unattractive investment climate has discouraged foreign investment. Government steps to improve the business climate include redrawing tax codes, floating the exchange rate, licensing foreign banks, and creating an investment promotion center to cut red tape. The most common complaint of investors, both foreign and domestic, is arbitrary courts’ inability to enforce contracts and a hostile bureaucracy.
Zanzibar's economy is based primarily on the production of cloves (90% grown on the island of Pemba), the principal foreign exchange earner. Exports have suffered with the downturn in the clove market. Tourism is a promising sector with a number of new hotels and resorts having been built in recent years. A prolonged electricity shortage from December 2009 to March 2010 delivered a blow to Zanzibar’s economy, severely affecting tourism and causing a rapid increase in commodity prices.
The Government of Zanzibar legalized foreign exchange bureaus on the islands before mainland Tanzania moved to do so. The effect was to increase the availability of consumer commodities. The government has also established a free port area, which provides the following benefits: contribution to economic diversification by providing a window for free trade as well as stimulating the establishment of support services; administration of a regime that imports, exports, and warehouses general merchandise; adequate storage facilities and other infrastructure to cater for effective operation of trade; and creation of an efficient management system for effective re-exportation of goods.
The island's manufacturing sector is limited mainly to import substitution industries, such as cigarettes, shoes, and processed agricultural products. In 1992, the government designated two export-producing zones and encouraged the development of offshore financial services. Zanzibar still imports much of its staple requirements, petroleum products, and manufactured articles.
After achieving independence, Tanzania's leadership emphasized supporting the efforts of other African nations to gain independence; supporting the struggle against the apartheid government of South Africa; championing some form of political union of African states; and promoting a non-aligned stance toward the Cold War antagonists. To these ends, Tanzania played an important role in regional and international organizations. Tanzania's first president, Julius Nyerere, was one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Additionally, Tanzania played an active role in the anti-apartheid front-line states, the G-77, and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In 1979, Nyerere ordered the Tanzanian military to invade neighboring Uganda to remove the notoriously brutal dictator Idi Amin from power. This they did. One of Africa's best-known elder statesmen, Nyerere was personally active in many of these organizations, and served as chairman of the OAU (1984-85) and chairman of the six front-line states. Nyerere's death, in October 1999, is solemnly observed each year.
Tanzania enjoys good relations with its neighbors in the region. Tanzania has long promoted efforts to resolve chronic conflicts, especially in the Great Lakes region. Tanzania helped to broker peace talks to end the conflict in Burundi. A comprehensive cease-fire was signed in Dar es Salaam on September 7, 2006. Tanzania also supports the Lusaka agreement concerning the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In March 1996, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya revived discussion of economic and regional cooperation. These talks culminated with the signing of an East African Cooperation Treaty in September 1999; a treaty establishing a customs union was signed in March 2004. The customs union went into effect January 1, 2005 and, in time, should lead to complete economic integration. On July 1, 2007 Rwanda and Burundi joined the East African Community (EAC) and the customs union as full members. Tanzania is the only country in East Africa which also is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). In January 2005, Tanzania became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, serving a two-year term that ended on December 31, 2006. President Kikwete was selected to chair the African Union for a one-year term from February 2008-2009. In March 2008, the Tanzanian military led an African Union-authorized force to restore government authority on one of the islands of the Comoros archipelago. In 2009 Tanzania granted citizenship to 170,000 Burundi refugees, an unprecedented measure much praised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the donor community.
The U.S. has provided development assistance to Tanzania since independence. Diplomatic coordination between the two countries was limited during the Cold War decades and security cooperation was even more severely limited. Security and diplomatic cooperation improved sharply after al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998. With the election of President Kikwete, the relationship is the closest it has ever been. In February 2008, President George W. Bush made an official four-day visit to Tanzania. President Kikwete, who has visited the U.S. repeatedly, made a reciprocal official visit to Washington in August 2008. In May 2009, President Kikwete became the first African president to be received by President Barack Obama at the White House.
The U.S. Government provides assistance to Tanzania to support programs in the areas of peace and security, democracy, health, education, economic growth, and natural resource management. Tanzania is a major recipient of funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI). In September 2008, Tanzania's $698 million Millennium Challenge Compact entered into force. The Peace Corps provides volunteers serving in education, health, and environment sectors.
Principal U.S. Officials
Ambassador--Alfonso E. Lenhardt
Deputy Chief of Mission--Larry E. André
Director, USAID--Robert Cunnane
Public Affairs Officer--Ilya Levin
Director, Peace Corps--Andrea Wojnar-Diagne
The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania is located on Old Bagamoyo Road, Dar es Salaam. The consulate on Zanzibar was closed in 1979.