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Tanzania is a country on the east coast of Africa with a population of 40.4 million and official capital city of Dodoma and commercial capital of Dar es Salaam. Although it is one of the poorest countries in the world, its economy has been growing at an average of 5.8% a year between 2000 and 2006. Unlike other African countries, it has few exportable minerals. [1]

About 80% of the population is involved in farming or fishing at subsistence levels, with the tse-tse fly making the raising of animals difficult in many areas. [2]

The president is Benjamin W. Mkapa.


The BBC says of the country's media:

Tanzania's media scene, once small and largely state-controlled, developed rapidly following the advent of the multi-party era in the mid 1990s. Television was a latecomer: President Nyerere opposed it as a luxury which would widen the gap between rich and poor. State-run TV launched in 2001, several years after the first private station went on the air in 1994. TV viewing is eroding radio's traditional dominance.
News bulletins from international radio stations - including the BBC, Voice of America and Germany's Deutsche Welle - are carried by many stations.[1]

Arms trade

In 1999, African countries received £52 million in weapons in deals with [[United Kingdom|U.K.] companies according to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade. Such spending is seen as one of the main causes of poverty on the continent. In February 2002, Kamal Ahmed of The Observer wrote that the U.K. "was facing condemnation from protesters against the arms trade last night after new figures revealed that the value of arms sales to Africa will more than quadruple by next year. The figures will come as an embarrassment to Tony Blair, who is preparing to visit the continent this week. The Prime Minister has said he wants to 'heal the scars' of underdevelopment in the region.

"A £28m deal to supply Tanzania with a military air defence and traffic control system agreed this year and a £100m-a-year deal with South Africa to supply Hawk jets will inflate the figure. Small arms deals have also been signed with Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"This week, the Government will face fresh scrutiny over its arms policy when the Lords launches a concerted attack against the Export Control Bill, which the Government has said will cut illicit trade in arms. A series of amendments to be laid down by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will aim to close loopholes that critics say have left the Bill toothless. Government opponents say the Bill makes no reference to the need for sustainable development as part of any arms deal, despite European Union rules that say it should be taken into account. It was the lack of a development clause in the legislation that allowed the Tanzania air defence deal to go through, despite critics saying it was too highly advanced for such a poor nation." [3]

Oxfam International criticizes the arms trade saying that it diverts 'much needed resources away from areas such as health and education, as well as undermining the security and human rights of the population.'

It says 'that ultimately governments must agree to an international Arms Trade Treaty to control the arms trade and safeguard sustainable development and human rights. “Government failure to stick to their own promises on arms exports means that children are denied an education, AIDS sufferers are not getting treatment and thousands are dying needlessly.” said Barbara Stocking, Director of Oxfam Great Britain.

'In 2001, Tanzania spent US$40 million on the military Watchman radar system - according to experts, including the World Bank and IMF, this was vastly too expensive and inappropriate for its use. US$40 million could have provided healthcare for 3.5 million people in Tanzania.' [4]



Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Country profile: Tanzania, BBC, accessed March 2008.
  2. Tanzania, National Geographic, accessed March 2008.
  3. Kamal Ahmed, "British arms sales to Africa soar", The Observer, February 3, 2002.
  4. "Governments are sacrificing development goals for arms exports", Oxfam International, June 22, 2004.

External articles

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