By Lester Jolly
The economy is mostly based on agriculture, which accounts for more than half of the GDP, provides 75% (approximately) of exports, and employs approximately 75% of the workforce. Topography and climate, though, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. The nation has many natural resources including minerals, natural gas, and tourism.
Tanzania is the third-largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana. The country is also known for Tanzanite, a type of precious gemstone that is found only in Tanzania. The mineral sector started to pick-up slowly in the late 90s; major discoveries are announced regularly. However, the mineral sector has yet to start contributing significantly to the overall Tanzanian economy, and industry is still mainly limited to processing agricultural products and light consumer goods.
The structure of the Formal Education and Training System in Tanzania constitutes 2 years of pre-primary education, 7 years of primary education, 4 years of Junior Secondary (ordinary Level), 2 years of Senior Secondary (Advanced Level) and up to 3 or more years of Tertiary Education. Specifically, the education system has three levels, namely: Basic, Secondary and Tertiary Levels. Basic or first level education includes pre-primary, primary and non-formal adult education. Secondary or second level education has Ordinary and Advanced level of secondary schooling while Tertiary or third level includes programs and courses offered by non-higher and higher education institutions.
The literacy rate in Tanzania is estimated to be 73%. Education is compulsory for seven years, until children reach age 15, but most children do not attend school until this age, and some do not attend at all. In 2000, 57% of children ages 5–14 years were attending school. As of 2006, 87.2% of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5.
Arab traders first began to colonize the area in 700. Portuguese explorers reached the coastal regions in 1500 and held some control until the 17th century, when the sultan of Oman took power. With what are now Burundi and Rwanda, Tanganyika became the colony of German East Africa in 1885. After World War I, it was administered by Britain under a League of Nations mandate and later as a UN trust territory.
Although not mentioned in old histories until the 12th century, Zanzibar was always believed to have had connections with southern Arabia. The Portuguese made it one of their tributaries in 1503 and later established a trading post, but they were driven from Oman by Arabs in 1698. Zanzibar was declared independent of Oman in 1861 and, in 1890, it became a British protectorate.
Tanzania is governed under the constitution of 1977 as amended. The president, who is head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. Political parties besides the ruling Party of the Revolution were permitted starting in 1993 and the first multiparty elections were held in 1995. The unicameral legislature consists of the 357-seat National Assembly or Bunge; 239 members are popularly elected, 102 are women who are indirectly elected on a proportional basis, 10 appointed by the president, 5 are members of the Zanzibar's legislature (Zanzibar has its own president and House of Representatives, for dealing with matters internal to Zanzibar), and 1 is the attorney general. All legislators serve five-year terms. Administratively, Tanzania is divided into 26 regions.
Tanzania's president currently is Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (who has been born October 7, 1950 and is the 4th President of Tanzania since December 2005). The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government's leader in the Parliament. The president selects his cabinet from among Parliament members. The