International business in Tanzania

Tanzania is an Eastern African country just between Kenya and Mozambique and is considered as the 13th largest country in the whole African continent and the 31st largest in the world. It was renamed as the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964 when the two states of Tanganyika and Zanzibar were merged upon independence from Britain. Since then, the country has adopted the unitary presidential democratic republic political structure, where the country’s president serves both as the head of state and the head of government, and also of a multi-party system.

Tanzania is known for its rich wildlife and abundant natural resources. It is also widely famous for Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest peak on the African continent.

What are Tanzania’s vital data points?

Population (million) 55.5
GDP (billion USD) 47
GDP per capita (USD) 970
GDP per capita PPP (USD) 3080
Purchasing power per dollar, compared to the USA 260%
Surface area (sq km) 947, 300
% of population living in urban areas 31%
% of GDP added by agriculture – industry – services 31% – 25% – 44%
Ease of doing business index (1 = best, 189 = lowest) 131

Table 1. Economic parameters of Tanzania

Doing business in Tanzania

When it comes to having the business strategy, Tanzanians highly value personal relationships, since the country’s culture is known for being relationship-driven. There will be a certain emphasis on getting to know those who they will be doing business with because friendship and mutual trust are essential. Moreover, respect is expected to be given most to those who are older and who hold higher positions, since there is a high value placed on seniority.

Business in Tanzania is very conservative and hierarchical. Also, since the government employed the strategy of moving towards an open and market-driven economy to include the active participation of private sectors, it is important for those who want to establish business relationships in the country to establish a network with other business people from various agencies such as the local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, and other similar organizations.

What are Tanzania’s key business sectors?

Meanwhile, the economy in Tanzania is steadily growing at 6-7% annually. Key business sectors in the country include agriculture and mineral production. Agriculture is considered the main economic activity as about 80% of households depend on the said sector and accounts for 27% of the country’s GDP. Mineral production, on the other hand, is the Tanzania’s largest source of economic growth as it contributes to half of the country’s total exports. Other products that contribute to Tanzania’s economic growth are simple consumer good such as food and beverages, tobacco, and textiles, which are considered the most reliable source of government revenue.

What are Tanzania’s top export commodities?

  • Gold
  • Coffee
  • Cashewnuts
  • Manufacturers
  • Cotton

What are Tanzania’s top export countries? (Percentage of total exports)

  • India (21%)
  • China (9.9%)
  • Japan (5.3%)
  • Germany (4.7%)

Tanzanian National Holidays

Name Holiday
1 January New Year’s Day
3 January* Mawlid Day
12 January Zanzibar Revolution Day
3 April Good Friday
6 April Easter Monday
7 April Karume Day
26 April Union Day
1 May Labour Day
7 July Saba Saba Day
17-18 July* Eid-ul-Fitr
8 August Nane Nane Day
23 September* Eid al-Adha
14 October Nyerere Day
9 December Independence Day
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day

Table 2. Official public holidays in Tanzania (* – depends on moon sighting)

Tanzania has various public and national holidays that directly affect businesses, so it is a must for anyone who wishes to visit the country for business purposes to know about these dates. Businesses are open from 08:00-17:30 on weekdays and 08:30-12:30 on Saturdays, but on Sundays shops and offices are usually closed.

This entry in Africa & ME was updated on May 20, 2021 by specialist.