Economic and Political Overview

flag Tanzania Tanzania: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response


Economic Indicators

Tanzania has achieved remarkable progress in economic growth over the past two decades, with an average annual GDP growth rate surpassing 5%, thanks to a high level of exports in natural resources, developments in the tertiary sector (telecommunications, transportation, finance, tourism), and the establishment of a liberalization program. Fitch forecasts real GDP growth to increase to 5.0% in 2023 and 5.5% in 2024, up from 4.7% in 2022, driven by heightened activity in agriculture, mining, and tourism, along with infrastructure investments. Over the long term, growth will further benefit from the development of offshore gas fields and LNG production.

In the first half of 2023, external pressures escalated due to reduced FX inflows, a higher import bill, debt amortization, and a tightly managed exchange rate, leading to FX shortages and a premium exceeding 10% of the official exchange rate. The government anticipates the FY24 budget to achieve its 2.8% of GDP target, down from 4.3% in FY23, through revenue mobilization measures and spending controls. However, Fitch projects the FY24 deficit to slightly surpass the target, reaching 3.1% of GDP. Central government debt/GDP remains moderate (45% of GDP in FY23), with a projected moderate increase to 46.4% in FY25. The significant portion of concessional debt supports debt sustainability, with nearly two-thirds of public debt denominated in foreign currency, of which 70% is concessional, as of end-FY23. Inflation is projected to stay within the Bank of Tanzania's (BoT) 3%-5% target range in 2023-2024, aided by lower food inflation due to fertilizer subsidies. However, the proposed increase in public sector wages in FY24 could exert upward pressure on inflation. Tanzania's three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement, with total access of SDR 795.58 million (equivalent to about USD 1,046.4 million), was approved on July 18, 2022. The arrangement is geared towards supporting economic recovery, maintaining macro-financial stability, and fostering sustainable and inclusive growth. Key reforms focus on bolstering fiscal space for essential social spending and productive public investment, improving the monetary policy framework and financial sector oversight, and advancing structural reforms. Tanzania’s priorities include enhancing social safety nets and improving transparency, public resource management and administration. The government has adopted an ambitious development plan (Tanzania Development Vision 2025) focused on supporting the private sector, industrialization, and the creation of jobs. It aims to improve the business climate by upgrading infrastructure, facilitating access to finance, and advancing the level of education. Zanzibar also revealed a five-year USD 2 billion plan to diversify away from the tourism industry (Focus Economics).

The poverty rate, which was as high as 60% in 2007, was estimated at 26.4% as per the World Bank’s latest estimates. Poverty and income inequality remain high despite high economic growth. The country also has a high HIV/AIDS rate and many people lack access to basic services (water, electricity, and healthcare). Additionally, the quality of primary health care has been negatively affected by a range of factors, including a shortage and poor distribution of health workers, poor access to essential medicines, and poor infrastructure. According to World Bank data, the unemployment rate was 2.6% in 2022 (latest data available), while the country’s GDP per capita (PPP) was estimated at USD 3,099.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 74.1379.4579.6186.1393.74
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,2051,2541,2201,2821,355
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 44.946.346.144.443.0
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -4.14-4.21-3.33-3.07-2.90
Current Account (in % of GDP) -5.6-5.3-4.2-3.6-3.1

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Tanzania has a vast natural resource wealth, with significant reserves of gold, diamond, iron, coal, nickel, tanzanite, uranium, tin, phosphates, gemstones, and natural gas. Even though only about 15.2% of the land is arable, agriculture is the backbone of the Tanzanian economy: it employs around two-thirds of the workforce and accounts for 24.6% of the country's GDP, although the sector's contribution to the economy has been declining gradually (World Bank, latest data available). Tanzania's main crops are tobacco, coffee, cashew nuts, tea, cloves, cotton, and sisal plant. Due to its diverse climatic and geographic zones, Tanzania has one of the widest crop varieties in Africa. Livestock production, especially cattle and sheep, is another important component of the primary sector. Agriculture is also a main source of exports; however, its real value has declined by up to 85% over the last 30 years.

Industry accounts for 27.7% of GDP and employs around 8% of the workforce. Manufacturing makes up more than half of the secondary sector, followed by processing (around 40%) and assembling industries (less than 5%). The manufacturing sector is largely centred on the processing of agricultural products and is estimated to account for 8% of GDP. Tanzania is rich in minerals such as gold, diamonds, tanzanite, and other precious stones. The mining sector is a significant contributor to the country's economy, accounting for approximately 4% of GDP. The construction sector has been progressively contributing to the national economy, with increasing infrastructure and real estate projects. Tanzania has vast potential for hydroelectric power and natural gas, which can be used to produce electricity. The energy sector is growing, and the government is investing in projects to increase the country's energy production. According to the latest data by the National Bureau of Statistics, in the first three quarters of 2023, industrial production decreased by 5% at constant prices compared to the same period one year earlier.

Services account for 30.7% of GDP and employ 26% of the total workforce. Transport and storage, financial and insurance activities, and information and communication are the fastest-growing sectors. Tourism is another important component of the tertiary sector as Tanzania has one of the richest and most diverse wildlife in Africa. It contributes to around 10% of the GDP and 10% of employment. Tourism and trade were particularly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; nevertheless, Tanzania has received over 1.8 million tourists between 2021 and 2023, earning revenue of about USD 3.37 billion (official governmental figures). Moreover, the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) forecast that the share of tourism in the country’s GDP will reach 19.5% in 2025/26. As of March 2024, Tanzania has a total of 48 licensed banks, comprising 35 commercial banks, 5 community banks, 4 microfinance banks, 2 mortgage banks, and 2 development banks. Their combined total assets surged by 17.3% to TZS 46,159.5 billion in 2022 from TZS 39,346.3 billion in 2021 (data Invest Tanzania).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 64.3 7.2 28.5
Value Added (in % of GDP) 24.3 27.7 30.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.3 4.3 5.5

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


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Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Tanzanian Shilling (TZS) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 61.2564.6466.7164.8058.31

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Tanzania is relatively open to foreign trade, with trade accounting for 35% of its GDP according to the World Bank's latest data available. The country's trade policy aims to create competitive local industries and diversify its export sector to stimulate economic growth. Tanzania is a member of several regional and international trade agreements, including the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The country has also implemented measures to facilitate international trade, including the single window system for trade documentation and the establishment of trade facilitation committees. In 2022, gold was the leading export item, constituting 41.5% of the total, followed by coconuts (3.4%), copper ores (2.8%), and vegetables (2.7%). On the import side, petroleum oils (23.3%), tractors (2.5%), and medicaments (2.3%) were among the top imports, as per Comtrade data.

According to Comtrade data, China (25.2%), the United Arab Emirates (15.9%), India (12.5%), Saudi Arabia (3.9%), and South Africa (3.5%) were Tanzania's main suppliers in 2022. In the same year, India (17.3%), South Africa (13.6%), the United Arab Emirates (11.2%), Kenya (5.6%), and Switzerland (5.3%) were the primary export destinations. Tanzania maintains low customs duties (with a trade-weighted tariff rate of 8.9%) and few trade restrictions, making it accessible for international trade. However, trade barriers, mainly logistical and non-tariff in nature, persist. For instance, congestion at the Dar es Salaam port, the main entry and exit point for merchandise, presents a significant challenge due to inadequate infrastructural investments. Poorly maintained roads and railways further hinder trade, despite government initiatives to improve infrastructure. Challenges also exist in obtaining construction permits, registering land, and tax payments.

Tanzania faces a chronic trade deficit due to a capital-intensive growth model that relies heavily on oil and capital goods imports. In 2022, merchandise exports amounted to USD 6.8 billion, while imports reached USD 14.2 billion, resulting in a trade deficit. Service exports reached USD 4.7 billion, with imports at USD 2.4 billion. The World Bank estimated the country's trade deficit at 4.2% of GDP in 2022. Data from the Bank of Tanzania indicate a 16.6% increase in the export of goods and services to USD 13,976 million in 2023, driven primarily by tourism receipts, gold, and traditional exports. Non-traditional goods exports grew by 4.3% to USD 6,320.4 million, with significant growth in gold exports. Service receipts increased due to growth in travel and transport receipts. Imports of goods and services decreased in 2023, mainly attributed to a decline in the import bill for white petroleum products.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 9,4528,43910,02414,21913,817
Exports of Goods (million USD) 5,0056,0616,3916,8257,292
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,7821,3191,6072,4652,333
Exports of Services (million USD) 4,2812,1843,1184,7626,268
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.4-7.69.623.7n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 19.0-
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 17.014.515.819.6n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 16.013.514.115.4n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -3,415-1,517n/an/an/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -917-626n/an/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
India 21.4%
South Africa 15.4%
United Arab Emirates 9.4%
Switzerland 6.4%
China 5.9%
See More Countries 41.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 27.5%
India 12.9%
United Arab Emirates 9.4%
Saudi Arabia 6.1%
Japan 4.3%
See More Countries 39.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

7.3 bn USD of products exported in 2023
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 42.0%
Unmanufactured tobacco; tobacco refuseUnmanufactured tobacco; tobacco refuse 4.7%
Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or...Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or not skinned or split 3.8%
Other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or...Other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or not broken (excl. edible nuts, olives, soya beans, groundnuts, copra, linseed, rape or colza seeds and sunflower seeds) 3.2%
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated;...Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 3.2%
See More Products 43.1%
15.1 bn USD of products imported in 2023
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 19.9%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 3.1%
Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709)Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709) 2.8%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.5%
Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel,...Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, of a width >= 600 mm, hot-rolled, not clad, plated or coated 2.4%
See More Products 69.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Finance and Planning
Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade
Ministry of Energy
Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism
Statistical Office
National Bureau of Statistics
Central Bank
Central Bank of Tanzania
Stock Exchange
Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Tanserve - Search Engine and Directory
Economic Portals
Tanzania Development Gateway - Business Portal

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Samia Suluhu Hassan (since 19 March 2021)
Prime Minister: Kassim Majaliwa (since 20 November 2015)
Next Election Dates
General election: October 2025
Main Political Parties
The main parties represented in the Parliament are:

- Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Party of the Revolution): African nationalism, social conservatism, it is the dominant ruling party, holding 365 seats out of 395
- Party for Democracy and Progress (Chadema): centre-right, it is the second-largest political party
- Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT–Wazalendo): left-wing, it is the third-largest political party
- Civic United Front (CUF): centre, liberal.
Type of State
Presidential republic.
Executive Power
Executive power is exercised by the government. The President of Tanzania is both chief of state and head of the executive power. The President is elected in a national election every five years in which they must win more than 50% of the votes. The Cabinet consists of the President, the Prime Minister, the Vice-President and ministers appointed by the President among National Assembly members. The President also has the right to nominate 10 non-elected members of Parliament, who are eligible to become cabinet members.
Legislative Power
Legislative power is vested in the Parliament; however, the President exercises the authority to assent to bills in order to complete the enactment process before they become law. The National Assembly and the President make up the Parliament. The National Assembly, or Bunge, is formed of 393 members who serve a 5-year term: 264 elected from single-member districts by first-past-the-post, 113 elected from women-only lists by party-list proportional representation, 5 elected indirectly by the Zanzibar House of Representatives, Attorney General and 10 members appointed by the President. The National Assembly deals with both Union and non-Union matters that are not in the scope of the Zanzibar Government. The Zanzibar House of Representatives is the unicameral legislature of the islands of Zanzibar.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Tanzania please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.


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Latest Update: May 2024