Over the past decade, despite rapid population growth, Tanzania has achieved relatively strong economic growth and declining poverty rates. The country remains a lower middle-income country despite the global pandemic-induced contraction of GDP per capita in 2020. Much of the country’s development success over the decade was predicated on its strategic maritime location, rich and diverse natural resources, and socio-political stability, as well as its rapidly growing tourism. With an area of 947,000 square kilometers, Tanzania has a population of about 61.5 million, of which about a third live in urban areas. Tanzania’s 2021 GDP was $67.8 billion, while its per capita income in 2021 was about $1,136.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in on March 19, 2021, as the United Republic of Tanzania’s sixth, and first woman, president. Her policies and programs reflect an evolving social and economic context, but the broad policy objectives remain guided by the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 and its supporting five-year development plans.
The government has revived proactive engagement with multilateral and bilateral development partners in the region and worldwide and has implemented a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, including a COVID-19 National Vaccine Deployment Plan. The government has taken steps to re-open the civic and media space, and embarked on important investments in public services delivery, particularly in health and education, while enhancing accountability and transparency within the public service. It has also reaffirmed the private sector as an engine of economic growth by addressing major constraints on private investment.
Economic activity in Tanzania is recovering, with the 2022 real GDP growth rate projected to reach 4-5% (2021 at 4.3%, up from 2% in 2020). The accommodation and restaurants, mining, ICT, transport, and electricity sectors are driving the recovery. High-frequency indicators suggest that while economic activities were expanding, they have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. Leading indicators such as cement production, electricity generation, private-sector credit, goods and services exports, nonfuel goods imports, telecommunications, and tourist arrivals have continued to increase (June 2022), though activity in most sectors remains below pre-pandemic levels. Driven by higher energy and food prices, inflation has increased but remains manageable at 4.5% (July 2022).
As in mainland Tanzania, official data for Zanzibar shows that economic activity is recovering. Real GDP grew by 5.1% in 2021, following significant slowdown to 1.3% in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism-dominated services sector which accounts for nearly 50% of Zanzibar’s GDP.
Women and girls’ empowerment is a key lever to unlock economic opportunity and growth in Tanzania. Reflecting this, the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 outlines steps to enhance human capital with a strong focus on women’s empowerment and gender equality. Women continue to face a range of obstacles which are highlighted, along with promising opportunities for advancement, in a report recently commissioned by The World Bank: Gender Assessment for Tanzania 2022. Issues of women’s economic empowerment are also intrinsically linked with women and girls’ freedom from gender-based violence. The World Bank commissioned Gender-based Violence (GBV) Assessment 2022 highlights the successes, gaps, and opportunities to comprehensively address GBV policies and programming in Tanzania. The recent adoption of the National Plans of Actions (NPAs) to end violence against women and children in Tanzania and Zanzibar demonstrates strong government commitment to addressing the issue and provides a framework for battling GBV and violence against children.
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2022