Located on the East African coast Tanzania borders Kenya to the north and Mozambique to the south with the idyllic tropical island of Zanzibar just off its eastern coast. Tanzania is home to some of the earliest settlements of man and some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. From the crisp, snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the wild planes of the Serengeti national park and the white sandy beaches and crystal waters of the Indian Ocean.
Politics and Economy
Under British rule until 1961, Tanzania was formed in 1964 when the former mainland Tanganyika merged with the previously independent Zanzibar. Though a multi-party parliamentary democracy, the country remains a one party dominant state. In 2011 the Global Peace Index declared that Tanzania was the most peaceful country among the five members of the East Africa Community.
Tanzania remains one of the world’s poorest countries and its economy is based largely on agriculture (which accounts for 85% of the country’s exports and employs 80% of the workforce) Tourism also plays a major part in the country’s economy, and is largely responsible for the country’s continued economic growth, as is the Gold production industry.
Tanzania’s varied landscape is one of the main reasons for the country’s popularity as a tourist destination. Tanzania is famously home to Mt Kilimanjaro in its north-eastern, mountainous region. The mountain stands at 5985 metres above sea-level, making it the tallest in Africa and attracting thousands of visitors each year. In western Tanzania lie the Serengeti and Masaai Mara National Parks, in which each year visitors marvel at the migrations of up to one and a half million Wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of Zebras and Thomson’s Gazelles as they migrate over 1,800 miles in search of rain ripened grass.
Dodoma is the country’s capital and the seat of the national Parliament, and sits in the centre of the country. The country’s former capital Dar es Salaam rests on the eastern coast, and as the country’s largest and richest city, is regarded as the commercial capital of Tanzania.
The source of the Nile and largest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria sits west of the Serengeti and is just one of the several lakes in Tanzania. Lake Tanganyika is the largest freshwater lake in the world, and to the southeast there is Lake Malawi, which is the third largest lake in the continent.
HIV/ AIDS Prevalence and Poverty
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the greatest plights of modern Africa. The WHO (World Health Organisation) estimate that there are 34 million people worldwide living with HIV/ AIDS, and that 69% of these people are living in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Tanzania UNICEF claims that the HIV prevalence amongst Tanzanian adults (aged 15 – 49) is 5.6% (With 6.6% prevalence in women and 4.6% in men) promisingly the prevalence rate has reduced from 2003, where it was calculated at 7%.
One of the greatest driving forces behind the spread of HIV/ AIDS in Tanzania, as with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, is a lack of understanding of how the disease is transmitted. Social factors also are as a driving force behind the epidemic and include poverty and transactional sex with increasing numbers of commercial sex workers, men’s irresponsible sexual behaviour due to cultural patterns and political gender inequalities including violence against women.