The United Republic of Tanzania (Tanzania) is the second largest economy in the East African Community and the twelfth largest in Africa.

Land

Tanzania covers an area of 947,300 square kilometres inclusive of landmass and three large fresh water lakes namely Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa which form boundaries with neighbouring countries.

Climate

Tanzania has a tropical climate but regional variations due to topography. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling lower than 20 °C (68 °F). The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C or 77.0–87.8 °F) while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C or 59–68 °F).

Language

Swahili is the main language spoken which unifies all Tanzanians. The language of the law (common law) is English.

Population

The population is estimated at 50,142,938 in 2016 and the average age is 17.6 years.

Gross Domestic Product

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Tanzania was worth 45.63 billion US dollars in 2015. The GDP value of Tanzania represents 0.07 percent of the world economy. GDP in Tanzania averaged 17.22 USD billion from 1988 until 2015, reaching an all-time high of 48.20 USD billion in 2014 and a record low of 4.26 USD billion in 1990. GDP from manufacturing in Tanzania increased to 861240 TZS million in the second quarter of 2016 from 388 million USD (859988 TZS million) in the first quarter of 2016. GDP from manufacturing in Tanzania averaged 273 million USD (604519.78 TZS million) from 2005 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 389 million USD (861240.00 TZS million) in the second quarter of 2016 and a record low of 169 million USD (373896.00 TZS million) in the first quarter of 2005.

Unemployment rate

The labour force is approximately 24 million people, with a participation rate of close to 90 percent over the last decade. However, it is clear that these employment statistics hide a high degree of underemployment and people stuck in unproductive activity and informality. For example, about 90 percent of the employed population is self-employed mostly in the informal sector with less than a tenth of the population in wage work.

Political stability

Tanzania is a democracy with multi-party electoral system. The president of Tanzania is the head of state and head of the government and is elected every 5 years and mandated to serve a maximum of two terms. The government of United Republic of Tanzania is formed by the union of Tanganyika called ‘Mainland Tanzania’ and Zanzibar Islands of Unguja and Pemba. The country operates as one state with two governments, namely the Union Government and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.

Labour Costs

Table 1: Average labour wage in textile and garment factories in Tanzania

Sector
per hourper dayper weekper month[1]
Trade, Industries
and Commerce
TZS
USD
589.8
0.27
4,423.40
2
26,540
12
115,000
52

As wages in garment and textile producing countries continue to rise, investors are looking for new economies which offer more competitive rates. Wages in Tanzania are far lower than those in large garment-producing South East Asian countries.


In term of skilled labour in a survey for Tanzania competitiveness 83% of industrial firms said it was easy to find a suitable low-skilled workforce, and 66% of firms said it was easy to find suitable medium-skilled workers[2]. In the World Bank’s Africa Competitiveness Report 2013, only 6.7% of firms in Tanzania said an ‘inadequately educated workforce’ was a problem for their firms – below the Sub-Saharan African average[3]. With improving education and training institutions, skill levels are set to rise in Tanzania.

[1] Salaries are normally paid monthly.

[2] UNIDO Tanzania Competitiveness Report 2012

[3] World Banks Africa Competitiveness Report 2013