Getting Started in Tanzania

Market Overview

Tanzania has achieved high growth rates based on its vast natural resource wealth and tourism. GDP growth in 2009-14 averaged an impressive 6-7% per year. In 2014, the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revised the national accounts using 2007 as a base year, revealing a more sizable economy with a 31.4% larger 2013 GDP than previously calculated. Growth has been driven primarily by transportation, communication, agriculture, manufacturing, electricity, wholesale and retail trade, real estate, and business services. The economy depends on agriculture, which accounts for more than one-quarter of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs about 80% of the work force. The World Bank, IMF, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania’s aging infrastructure, including rail and port that provide important trade links. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment.

Tanzania has largely completed its transition to a market economy, though the government retains a presence in sectors such as telecommunications, banking, energy, and mining. Resources include diamonds, gemstones, gold, coal, iron, nickel, forest product, domesticated livestock, wildlife, fisheries and marine resources, natural gas and possibly oil. Primary exports in terms of value include gold and tobacco, while key imports are capital and consumer goods.

Tanzania’s main trading partners are China, India, the European Union (EU) and neighboring Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC) countries. Tanzania’s exports to the United States are dominated by agricultural commodities, minerals and textiles, while imports from the United States include wheat, agricultural and transport equipment, chemicals, used clothes and machinery.

Basic Economic Statistics (2013/2014 figures):

  • Real GDP growth in 2014: 7.0%*
  • Nominal GDP – 2013 (current) $33.23 billion*
  • GDP per capita – 2013: $695
  • Consumer price inflation: Declined from 9.8% in March 2013 to 4.3% in March 2015.The core rate, which is the rate without energy and food prices, declined from 6% in March 2013 to 2.5% in March 2015.*
  • Total Exports: $4,413 million for 2013*
  • Total Imports: $12,525 million for 2013*
  • Exports to the USA: $70 million*
  • Imports from the USA: $420 million*
  • Exchange rate: Tanzanian shilling depreciated against $ from TZS 1,708 on December 31, 2014 to TZS 2,015 on May 1, 2015.*
  • Average lending rate on short term loan: 13.66 percent (April 2015)
  • Population Total: 47.4 million (2015 projection)

For more information about doing business in Tanzania, see below: