Shortly after achieving independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities.
Kilimanjaro is highest point in Africa; bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest
note:estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)
Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
note:Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources including Arabic and English; it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages
26 April 1964; Tanganyika became independent 9 December 1961 (from UK-administered UN trusteeship); Zanzibar became independent 19 December 1963 (from UK); Tanganyika united with Zanzibar 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; renamed United Republic of Tanzania 29 October 1964
president and vice president elected on the same ballot by popular vote for five-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 31 October 2010 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president
Jakaya KIKWETE elected president; percent of vote - Jakaya KIKWETE 61.2%, Wilbrod SLAA 26.3%, Ibrahim LIPUMBA 8.1%, other 4.5%
unicameral National Assembly or Bunge (274 seats; 232 members elected by popular vote, 37 allocated to women nominated by the president, 5 to members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives; members serve five-year terms); note - in addition to enacting laws that apply to the entire United Republic of Tanzania, the Assembly enacts laws that apply only to the mainland; Zanzibar has its own House of Representatives to make laws especially for Zanzibar (the Zanzibar House of Representatives has 50 seats; members elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms)
last held on 14 December 2005 (next to be held on 31 October 2010)
National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CCM 206, CUF 19, CHADEMA 5, other 2, women appointed by the president 37, Zanzibar representatives 5 Zanzibar House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CCM 30, CUF 19; 1 seat was nullified with a rerun to take place soon
Permanent Commission of Enquiry (official ombudsman); Court of Appeal (consists of a chief justice and four judges); High Court (consists of a Jaji Kiongozi and 29 judges appointed by the president; holds regular sessions in all regions); District Courts; Primary Courts (limited jurisdiction and appeals can be made to the higher courts)
Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party of Democracy and Development) or CHADEMA [Bob MAKANI]; Chama Cha Mapinduzi or CCM (Revolutionary Party) [Jakaya Mrisho KIKWETE]; Civic United Front or CUF [Ibrahim LIPUMBA]; Democratic Party [Christopher MTIKLA] (unregistered); Tanzania Labor Party or TLP [Augustine Lyatonga MREME]; United Democratic Party or UDP [John CHEYO]
divided diagonally by a yellow-edged black band from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is blue; the banner combines colors found on the flags of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; green represents the natural vegetation of the country, gold its rich mineral deposits, black the native Swahili people, and blue the country's many lakes and rivers, as well as the Indian Ocean
Tanzania is in the bottom 10% of the world's economies in terms of per capita income. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than one-fourth of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to about 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the IMF, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's aging economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty. Long-term growth through 2005 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals led by gold. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported a positive growth rate, despite the world recession.
general assessment: telecommunications services are inadequate; system operating below capacity and being modernized for better service; small aperture terminal (VSAT) system under construction
fixed-line telephone network inadequate with less than 1 connection per 100 persons; mobile-cellular service, aided by multiple providers, is increasing rapidly; trunk service provided by open-wire, microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, and fiber-optic cable; some links being made digital
country code - 255; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean)
a state-owned TV station and multiple privately-owned TV stations; state-owned national radio station supplemented by more than 40 privately-owned radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007)
the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Indian Ocean are high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen
Tanzania still hosts more than a half-million refugees, more than any other African country, mainly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite the international community's efforts at repatriation; disputes with Malawi over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant
targeted by traffickers moving hashish, Afghan heroin, and South American cocaine transported down the East African coastline, through airports, or overland through Central Africa; Zanzibar likely used by traffickers for drug smuggling; traffickers in the past have recruited Tanzanian couriers to move drugs through Iran into East Asia.