Since, the second half of the 1980s, bold decisions were made to undertake economic reforms and put the macro-economic frame back on track. The economy has been transformed from state controlled to market based. The private sector has become the engine of growth and measures are steadily being taken to enhance its role and participation. Public Private Partnership has been acknowledged as a critical factor in promoting growth and development. For almost a decade now, Tanzania has been enjoying macro-economic stability. GDP growth has been impressive at an average of 6.6 per cent. For five years (2004 – 2008) growth reached an average of 7.1 per cent. Unfortunately, due to the global economic slowdown, in 2009, growth declined to 5 per cent. Growth is bounced back to 6.8 per cent in June 2012. The main sectors are agriculture, tourism, fishing, forestry and beekeeping, mining, manufacturing and the energy industries.
Agriculture – plays an important economic role as it employs 75% of the population. The raising of livestock takes place in those areas with low rainfall as they have no tsetse flies. The main cash crops include coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, sisal, tobacco, tea, coconuts, cloves, fruit, flowers and vegetables.
Tourism – Tanzania’s spectacular tourist attractions include: the majestic spice Islands of Zanzibar – the ultimate paradise on the Indian Ocean; Mount Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa with a snow cap despite being very close to the Equator; the Olduvai Gorge – the Cradle of Mankind; the Ngorongoro Crater – the 7th natural wonder of the World; the Serengeti National Park – world renown for the largest concentration of wildlife and the spectacular wildebeest migration – there is nothing like it on this planet, the Selous Game Reserve – the largest game reserve in Africa; Lake Tanganyika – the deepest lake in Africa; and Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. All these endowments offer opportunities for leisure and investment in hotels, camps, water sports, hunting and tour operation.
Fishing – The Indian Indian Ocean and Lake Tanganyika have proved to be plentiful in fish, fueling the domestic fishing industry, while Lake Victoria is the source of all the Nile perch exported to the outside world.
Forestry and Beekeeping – Non-reserved forest-land (1,903.8 km2), forest/woodlands with national parks etc. (200 km2), and Gazetted forest reserves (1,251.7 km2).
Mining has attracted international interest with a large amount of resources invested in exploration for gold, base metals and diamonds, as well as tanzanite and various other gemstones, natural gas, iron ore, coal, phosphates, soda ash and salt. Companies from Australia, South Africa and Canada have invested in the gold sector as Tanzania is becoming one of Africa’s major producers.
Energy– Tanzania has many energy resources which include natural gas, biomass, hydropower, geothermal, coal, solar and wind power. Government is promoting the expansion of the industry. This is part of an active policy by the government to replace imported petroleum products with locally produced products.
Investment – The Tanzanian government has sought to attract foreign investment with the Investment Act of 1997 forming part of this process. It led to the creation of the Tanzania Investment Centre which identifies possible investment opportunities and aids the potential investor in navigating any procedural barriers that might exist. Tanzania established its own stock exchange in 1998 called the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
Trade – Coffee is the country’s main export product, while sisal and tea also earn significant amounts of foreign currency. Manufactured goods, cotton, cashew nuts, minerals and tobacco products are exported mainly to India, the UK, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium. The country imports products such as consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment, oil and industrial raw materials. These products are supplied by South Africa, Japan, the USA, India, Brazil and China among others. Tanzania enjoys trade cooperation with the East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The country also enjoys access to export markets through different preferential arrangements such as AGOA with the USA, EBA with the European Union – as well as with China through FOCAC, India through Indo-Africa Partnership and Japan through TICAD.
Tanzania has a tropical type of climate and is divided into four main climatic zones notably: the hot humid coastal plain; the semi-arid zone of the central plateau; the high-moist lake regions; and the temperate highland areas. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10ºc and 20ºc during cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country has temperatures usually not falling lower than 20ºc. The hottest period spreads between November and February (25ºc – 31ºc) whereas the coldest period is often between May and August (15ºc – 20ºc).
The climate of the islands of Zanzibar is tropical and humid. Average maximum temperature is about 30۫۫۫۫ºC recorded during the hot season November to March, while average minimum temperature is 21ºC, recorded during the cool season of June to October. Humidity rate is high ranging from 50’s to 80’s and slightly higher in Pemba than Unguja.
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