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Tanzania fact file

May 2011

Tanzania fact file

Area: 365,000 square miles, including the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar.

Environment: The climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate in the highlands. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa (5,895 m).

Borders: Tanzania is bordered by Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. Also on its borders are three of the largest freshwater African lakes — Victoria (world’s second-largest), Tanganyika (world’s second deepest) and Nyasa.

Population: Over 40 million.

Life expectancy: 53 years.

Languages: Swahili (official), English (official), Arabic (Zanzibar), many local languages (many of which do not have a Bible).

Ethnic groups: African 99 per cent (mainly Bantu, consisting of more than 130 tribes); others (Asian, European and Arab) 1 per cent. Zanzibar’s population is Arab, African and mixed Arab/African.

Literacy: 69 per cent.

Capital: Dar es Salaam (3 million).

Economy: Tanzania is one of the world’s poorest economies. However, it does have mineral resources including gold. Gross domestic product grew between 2000-2008 due to high gold prices and tourism. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which provides 85 per cent of exports (including coffee, cashew nuts and cotton) and employs 60 per cent of the work force. Between 30-40 per cent of the population are below the poverty line.

Religions: Muslim 32 per cent (Zanzibar is almost totally Muslim); Catholic 25 per cent; Protestant 20 per cent; traditional ethnic 15 per cent; others, including Independent churches, 8 per cent (these figures are estimates).

History: Shortly after independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held since the 1970s.

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Tanzania