Tanzania Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Tanzania Basic Information


  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

The United Republic of Tanzania is a semi-unitary state; the mainland part is unitary, the connection with Zanzibar gives the state both federal elements. The Zanzibar archipelago has its own government, which has powers in all matters not affecting the central government, and has its own parliament.

The country uses a presidential system, where the president (or currently the president) is the head of state and also manages the government. The President and Vice President of Tanzania are elected on a joint list of candidates by direct popular vote for five-year terms. In the event of the President’s death, the Vice-President takes his place; according to the constitution, the new vice president is nominated by the strongest party in the parliament. (This situation occurred in March 2021 following the sudden death of President John Magufuli.) Check cancermatters to learn more about Tanzania political system.

Executive power is exercised by the government. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who also becomes the Chairman of the Government Deputies Club in the Parliament; the appointment of the Prime Minister must be approved by Parliament. According to the Tanzanian constitution, the Prime Minister is directly subordinate to the President in the performance of his duties. The president selects his cabinet from members of parliament. The constitution also allows him to appoint 10 non-elected deputies who can also become members of the cabinet.

All legislative power relating to mainland Tanzania and the affairs of the entire United Republic of Tanzania is vested in the National Assembly, which is unicameral and has 384 members.

The party system is dominated by Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, Revolutionary Party); after the elections in 2020, it has 287 deputies in the parliament. It is the longest-ruling party in sub-Saharan Africa. Until 1992, the CCM was the only permitted political party. As of this year, the Tanzanian political system is formally based on a pluralistic democracy; however, according to official election results, opposition parties always remain far behind the ruling CCM.

The Zanzibar Parliament (House of Representatives) has 76 MPs, 69 of whom represent the CCM party.

Samia Suluhu Hassan, a former vice-president who took over after the death of President John Magufuli in March 2021, has been the CCM president and president since March 2021. The CCM party is also represented by Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi.

The composition of the government

President HE Samia Suluhu Hassan

Vice President HE Philip Mpango

Prime Minister HE Kassim Majaliwa

Minister of Agriculture Adolf Faustine Mkenda

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Faustine Engelbert Ndugulile

Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs Palamagamba John Aidan Mwaluko Kabudi

Minister for Defense and National Service Elias John Kwandikwa

Minister for Education, Science and Technology Joyce Lazaro Ndalichako

Minister for Energy Medard Matogolo Kalemani

Minister for Finance and Planning Member Lameck Nchemba

Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Liberata Mulamula

Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly, and Children Dorothy Onesphoro Gwajima

Minister for Industry and Trade Geoffrey Idelphonce Mwambe

Minister for Information, Culture, Arts, and Sports Innocent Lugha Bashungwa

Minister for Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements Development William Vangimembe Lukuvi

Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mashimba Mashauri Ndaki

Minister for Minerals Doto Mashaka Biteko

Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Damas Daniel Ndumbaro

Minister for Water and Irrigation Jumaa Hamidu Aweso

Minister for Works and Transport Leonard Chamuriho

Minister of Home Affairs George Boniface Taguluvala Simbachawene

Foreign policy of the country

Throughout President Magufuli’s reign (from 2015 until his sudden death in March 2021, just months after his re-election), foreign policy was largely a sideline for Tanzania. This contrasted strongly with the policies of previous presidents (four in total since independence), who built Tanzania’s image as a regional leader, an enthusiastic supporter of regional and African cooperation, and a mediator of a number of conflicts. J. Magufuli purposefully avoided trips abroad, and visits to TZ were also very sporadic. The first two foreign trips of the newly elected president were to important regional partners, Uganda and Kenya. Check prozipcodes for Tanzania defense and foreign policy.

Tanzania is a clear exception within the whole of Africa when it comes to conflicts with its neighbors. The biggest current security risk for TZ is the strengthening of the Islamist movement in northern Mozambique (Cabo Delgado province), whose attacks on the local population have a noticeable cross-border impact in the form of a large number of refugees.

Tanzania is a member of several important regional groupings – the African Union (AU), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The EAC even has its administrative headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania (just like the International Residual Mechanism, the successor to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda). However, Magufuli’s administration’s demonstrative distrust of any form of multilateral cooperation contributed to a certain freezing of integration processes within the grouping, including the key agreement between the EAC and the EU (EPA).

Tanzania has been regularly criticized in recent years for its approach to political plurality (practically non-existent), repression of journalists and all sectors of civil society, corruption, bureaucracy and over-regulated state economic policy. Shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rejection of international cooperation in combating the disease, or total denial of its existence in the country. After the new president took office, the approach of TZ is starting to change slowly, but the results will have to wait for some time.

The approach to the pandemic also had an adverse impact on traditionally problematic relations with TZ’s most important trading partner – Kenya. The common border has been repeatedly blocked due to numerous disagreements, disrupting the vital flow of goods. Relations improved significantly after the inauguration of President Samia Suluha Hassan in 2021.

Good relations exist between TZ and Uganda, which has its roots in the history of the struggle for independence and immediately after, when TZ always stood on the side of the current Ugandan leader Y. Museveni.

One of the few regional leaders who had good relations with Magufuli was Rwandan President P. Kagame. For Rwanda, the TZ is strategically important as a transport corridor, today around 80% of Rwandan trade exchange passes through the TZ, after the expected completion of the standard gauge railway project from the port of Dar es-Salaam to the shores of Lake Victoria and further to RW and Congo, this share would could even increase.

Especially from a transport point of view, the relationship with Zambia is also important for TZ, from which a substantial part of Zambia’s mineral wealth flows to Tanzanian ports, mainly via the railway, which was built in the 1970s with the help of a Chinese loan.

China is the most important partner among the world powers for the TZ, not only because of the historical ties from the time after independence, but also because the western states of the TZ have in recent years – pointing to serious shortcomings in the field of democracy and good governance – largely ignored the TZ. Nevertheless, President Magufuli tried to prevent the Chinese influence from getting out of his control (as it has happened to many other African countries) and sought as much diversification as possible in large economic projects.

Tanzania is one of the few countries with which the otherwise rather isolated former regime in Burundi was able to communicate. However, a problematic chapter in the relationship between the two countries is the large number of Burundian refugees on Tanzanian territory, for whose orderly and voluntary return so far, even after the inauguration of President Ndayishmye, no solution has been found.


Age structure of the population:

  • 0-14 years: 43.5% (males: 8,763,471, females: 8,719,198)
  • 15-64 years: 53.7% (men: 10,638,666, women: 10,947,190)
  • 65 years and over: 2.8% (men: 502,368, women: 642,269)

Density per km2: 4inhabitants

Share of economically active population: 45%

  • Average annual population growth: 2.0%

Nationality composition:

  • The mainland population is 99% African (of which 95% are from the Bantu ethnic group, consisting of more than 130 black tribes – the main ones being the Sukum, Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi and Chagga)
  • other population is 1% (consists of Asians, Europeans and Arabs)
  • Zanzibar – the majority of the population is of Swahili origin, significant minorities: Indians and Arabs

Religious composition


  • Christianity 30% · Islam 35% · Animism 35%


  • Islam over 99%