The United Republic of Tanzania is a large country in Eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. Parts of the country are in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south; and by the Indian Ocean to the east. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is in northeaster Tanzania. Tanzania’s population of 51 million (2014) is diverse, composed of several ethnic, linguistic and religious groups.
Over 100 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa. Among the languages spoken in Tanzania are all four of Africa’s language families: Bantu, Cushitic, Nilotic, and Khoisan. Swahili and English are Tanzania’s official languages.
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. As of 2014, Tanzania’s gross domestic product was an estimated $43.8 billion. Tanzania has made little progress towards reducing extreme hunger and malnutrition. The 2010 Global Hunger Index ranks the situation as “alarming”. Children in rural areas suffer substantially higher rates of malnutrition and chronic hunger, although urban-rural disparities have narrowed as regards both stunting and underweight.
Approximately 68 percent of Tanzania’s 51 million citizens live below the poverty line of $1.25 a day and 16 percent of children under 5 are malnourished. The most prominent challenges Tanzania faces in poverty reduction are unsustainable harvesting of its natural resources, unchecked cultivation, climate change and water- source encroachment, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
There are very few resources for Tanzanians in terms of credit services, infrastructure or availability to improved agricultural technologies, which further exacerbates hunger and poverty in the country according to the UNDP. Tanzania ranks 159 out of 187 countries in poverty according to the United Nation’s Human Development Index (2014).