Tanzanian Country Overview

The United Republic of Tanzania (referred to here as Tanzania) is made up of the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, and the mainland of Tanzania. Tanzania’s landscapes and climates can be grouped into several zones:

• the hot and humid coastal zone near the Indian Ocean;
• the hot dry central plateau zone, with altitudes around 1,000-1,200 m;
• the semi-temperate mountainous areas around Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Southern Highlands in the south-central and south-western part of the country.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Tanzania’s economy. In 1999, the agricultural sector accounted for 45% of the GDP. More than 80% of the employed population work in agriculture, mainly at a subsistence level. Ninety-three percent of farmers work small-holdings with an average cultivated area of less than 2 hectares. Over 50% of persons living in rural areas of Tanzania are poor, many of them under the ‘one dollar a day’ level commonly used to define poverty.

Total area of the country is 945,087 km2. According to July 2000 estimate - total population of the country 35,306,000; annual population growth rate 2.57%. According to 1998 statistics the life expectancy at birth is 47.9 years; 35.4% of total population is not expected to survive to age 40; GDP per capital – 480 US dollars.
The mineral sector of Tanzania is becoming a more significant part of the economy with the opening of several new gold mines. Large-scale diamond and gold mining as well as small-scale mining operations play a major role in Tanzania’s mineral development. Gold production from the small-scale mining sector alone provided some 76% of Tanzania’s total mineral export in 1992, when small-scale miners sold 4.5 tonnes of gold worth US $40.4 million to the Bank of Tanzania. The International Labour Organization (1999) estimated the number of people employed in small-scale and artisanal mining in Tanzania at 450,000-600,000.