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State structure and administration

Tanzania Coat of ArmsTanzania Coat of ArmsPhoto: FischX CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The United Republic of Tanzania consists of the mainland and islands of Zanzibar, composed of the main island of Unguja, and Pemba and many other small islands.

The federation's head of state is the president, who can be elected for up to two five-year terms. He has a lot of power, because he appoints the prime minister, is commander in chief of the armed forces, has the right to veto the legislation, appoints some of the members of parliament and has the right to dissolve the parliament.

The 296 members of the Parliament or National Assembly (Bunge) are elected in part for five years by Tanzanians aged eighteen and older. 231 members are elected by the population, 49 places are reserved for women nominated by the president. Five seats are reserved for the Zanzibar House of Representatives, there is one attorney general, and up to 10 other members are nominated by the president. Although Dar es Salaam (Swahili: "House of Peace") is the undisputed economic, social and administrative center of Tanzania, Dodoma is formally the country's capital.

Zanzibar and Pemba have also had their own daily administration and an elected parliament since 1979, which are responsible for the internal affairs of the island. The House of Representatives consists of 50 directly elected members, to which nine women are added.

Since 1985, the two islands also have their own regional Constitution. The President of Zanzibar was also Vice President of Tanzania until 1996 and is also elected for a term of five years. In reality, Zanzibar has been governed by decree since 1964. For the current political situation see chapter history.

Administrative division

Administrative division Tanzania Administrative division Tanzania Photo: TUBS CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Tanzania is administratively divided into 26 regions (21 mainland; 5 Zanzibar), which are divided into 130 districts and are led by a regional commissioner.

Zanzibar and Pemba are divided into three and two regions respectively. A district is headed by a district commissioner appointed by the central government.

ArushaArusha36.486 km21.290.000
Dar es SalaamDar es Salaam1.393 km22.500.000
DodomaDodoma41.311 km21.700.000
IringaIringa56.864 km21.500.000
KageraBukoba28.388 km22.050.000
KigomaKigoma37.037 km21.700.000
KilimanjaroMoshi13.309 km21.400.000
LindiLindi66.046 km2790.000
ManyaraBabati45.820 km21.050.000
MaraMusoma19.566 km21.375.000
MbeyaMbeya60.350 km22.075.000
MorogoroMorogoro70.799 km21.800.000
MtwaraMtwara16.707 km21.150.000
MwanzaMwanza19.592 km23.000.000
Pemba 906 km2365.000
PwaniDar es Salaam32.407 km2890.000
RukwaSumbawanga68.635 km21.150.000
RuvumaSongea63.498 km21.120.000
ShinvangaShinvanga50.781 km22.800.000
SingidaSindiga49.341 km21.100.000
TaboraTabora76.151 km21.750.000
TangaTanga26.808 km21.650.000
ZanzibarZanzibar1.554 km2625.000


School kids TanzaniaSchool kids TanzaniaPhoto: Sanderflight in the public domain

Compulsory education has existed since 1970 and Tanzania was one of the countries in Africa with the lowest illiteracy rate. Since 1986, the illiteracy rate has been growing again, from 9.6% in 1986 to 27.2% in 1997. At present, less than 50% of children go to primary school, and one in ten pupils subsequently completes secondary school. In particular, many rural girls drop out of school early. The families there have little money and prefer education for their sons.

The Tanzanian government realizes that good education is one of the pillars for the development of the country. Education is therefore one of the spearheads and one of the (overly optimistic?) Goals was primary education for everyone in 2015. Under the impulse of the Basic Education Master Plan (BEMP), a start was made in 1997 on reforming primary education.

The structure of the Formal Education and Training System consists of two years of pre-school education, seven years of primary education, four years of 'junior secondary' and two years of 'senior secondary'. After that, one can pursue three or more years of higher education.

Many Catholic and Protestant organizations have founded schools and there are also private schools founded by parents. Tanzania has two universities: the University of Dar es Salaam, founded in 1961 and the University of Agriculture of Sokoine, founded in 1984.


Heale, J. / Tanzania
Marshall Cavendish


Vlugt, B. / Kenia, Tanzania, Zanzibar

Waard, P. de / Reishandboek Tanzania

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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