Economy & Industry
A steadily growing economy
In the 21st century, Tanzania’s economy has been growing steadily, mostly at rates of 6% or 7% each year.
Gold is a key resource and the country’s most valuable export; high gold prices worldwide have helped to boost Tanzania’s economy. Other sources of natural wealth include gemstones such as tanzanite – see Tanzanite, diamonds and tin.
Offshore exploration has also discovered natural gas and oil, which could bring the country new revenue.
Tanzania has three major ports on the Indian Ocean, so its coastline plays a vital role for industry. And the country acts as a trading corridor for its landlocked neighbours. Minerals and other goods travel through Tanzania to be shipped out from the ports. However, road and rail links across many areas remain poor and the country’s infrastructure requires investment.
Tanzania's long coastline is of key importance for the country. Its sandy beaches and coral reefs are one of the main draws for tourists, who bring in foreign revenue.
Visitors are also attracted by the large wildlife parks. Some come to Tanzania from neighbouring Kenya, where the safari industry has long been successful – see Kenya Tourism & Communications.
Agriculture and fishing
With many sources of fresh water and fertile land, agriculture is still the main activity of the domestic economy. Small-scale farmers grow food for their own families and sell any surplus for cash – see Climate & Agriculture.
Agriculture also remains a key earner of foreign revenue. Crops grown for export include cashews, tea and tobacco. Zanzibar produces a significant portion of the world’s cloves.
Many manufacturing businesses are involved in the processing of Tanzania’s agricultural produce.
Fishing is another key food sector. It’s mostly carried out using traditional small-scale methods, though prawns are fished commercially along the coast.
Despite the country’s growing economy, Tanzania has one of the lowest rates of income per head, with many people relying on the food they grow to exist – see Poverty & Healthcare.