aen francaisen espanol

IFRTD logo



tanzania_intro_map1.0 Introduction

The United Republic of Tanzania was born out of the union of two sovereign states of Tanganyika and Zanzibar with the country becoming a republic in 1964. Considered the largest country in East Africa,, Tanzania has a unitary state with 26 regions for the purposes of decentralisation of administration process.

Economically, the country is performing creditably in spite of structural difficulties. In the midst of the economic crisis, oil and food price hikes, the country has maintained an average growth rate of 7% between 2001 and 2008.


2.0 Country Snapshot

Total Land Area (Thousand sq. km)

947.3       (World Development indicators, 2009)*

Population (million)

43.7         (Population Data Sheet, 2008) 1

Urban Population (%)

  1. (Population Data Sheet, 2008)


Human Development Index Ranking

151          (Human Development Report, 2009)

Gender Development Rank

125         (Human Development Report, 2009)

GDP Growth (%)

7.5           (World Development indicators, 2009)

GDP per capita , Atlas Method ($)

440          (World Development indicators, 2009)

Population below national poverty line (%) 2


GDP Composition (2005)

Agriculture     46%
Industry         17%
Services         37%

(World Development indicators, 2009)

Rural Access Indictor 3


2 National strategy for growth and reduction of poverty, 2005


3.0 Transport and Development in Context

Tanzania has seen steady and impressive macroeconomic improvements in the economy since the early 2000 with growth rate averaging 7% over the period. This rate of growth has been achieved in the midst of drought and its attendant effects of reduced food and energy supply.  The country attained an average single-digit inflation of 5.8% between 2003 and 2007 with foreign reserves reaching about 9 months of imports (World Bank 4; NSGRP, 2005).  In spite of this feat and the reduction of the number of poor 5 by 2.9%, poverty is prevalent in the country with overwhelming proportion of the poor living in the rural areas. Attainment of the MDG now seems elusive even in the MDG areas that were deemed to have been within reach of the country.

Indicators of human development show an increasing disparity between the rural and the urban areas, a phenomenon mainly influenced by pattern of population, differential endowment in resources as well as the distribution of infrastructure. Long distances coupled with poor and unaffordable transport systems have been cited as major factors accounting for poor access to health and educational facilities in the rural areas with women and children being the worst affected. It is estimated that about 75% of the time of women are spent walking long distances to and from production centres (National Transport Policy, 2003:27). Available data indicate that only 38% of the rural population of has reliable access to transport with a mean distance of 5.4km to public transport services. This is in contrast to the mean distance of 0.5km in Dar es Salaam and 0.8km in other urban areas (Thum, 2004). With about 87% of the poor living in rural Tanzania, improvement in rural connectivity through the development of effective rural transport systems would unarguably have a significant effect in reducing the rural-urban divide and  poverty altogether.

The current development path of the country is guided by the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 which aims at achieving a per capita income of $2500 by 2025. As part of the steps towards this goal, the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty has been prepared with the objective of putting poverty reduction on the development agenda of the country. All other policies including the National Transport Policy (NTP) are aligned to this overarching framework of poverty reduction. In view of this and the recognition of the disproportionate share of poverty in the rural areas, the government of Tanzania has aimed at developing and providing reliable transport through infrastructure development and services that stimulate production in the rural areas and facilitate transport to major networks and market centres. The focus would be on the improvement of road transport which is the dominant form of transport in the rural areas.

Household and community participation in the planning, financing and maintenance of village level transport infrastructure (trails, tracks and narrow passages) is one of the policy directions and strategies meant to provide rural transport systems. In addition to increased investment, there are attempts to promote non-motorised means of transport services and improvement of rural transport infrastructure as part of the efforts at reducing the transport burden of women and other vulnerable groups. The government also aims to encourage private sector participation in the provision of competitive but affordable transport services in the rural areas. In the 2009/2010 budget statement, 11.5% of the total government infrastructure was allocated to infrastructural development including rural transport 6.

The challenges to the realisation of these objectives include the high cost but low quality of services due to the existence of backlog of infrastructure maintenance and rehabilitation. This coupled with inadequate institutional arrangements and laws have also contributed to creation of unfavourable climate for investment in the sector.  The responses to these challenges have been institutional reforms and creation of strategic planning framework to increase coordination between and among the various structures in the sector.

4 Tanzania country brief obtained from

5 Those below the national basic needs poverty line

4.0 Overview of the Transport Sector

Road 7

Road Category

Paved (km)

Unpaved (km)

Total (km)

Trunk Roads




Regional Roads




District Roads




Feeder Roads




Urban Roads








Railways*          Total Length:                        3 689 km
                           1.067-m Gauge:                    969 km
                           1.000-m Gauge:                    2 720 km


Airports*     Total: 125
                    Paved = 9              Unpaved = 116

Waterways and Merchant Marine*
                                                        Total: 9
                                                        Cargo 1,
                                                        Passenger/cargo 4,
                                                        Petroleum tanker 4

Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, and Lake Nyasa principal are avenues of commerce with neighboring countries; rivers not navigable (2007)

7 Source: as viewed on 04/06/2010
* CIA fact book ( viewed on 04/06/2010

5.0 Road Classification System

Roads in Tanzania are categorised into trunk, regional district, feeder and urban roads.

Trunk Roads are the primary national and international routes to regions, border posts and ports.

Regional Roads are the secondary routes which connect district centres in a region or from another important centre to a trunk road

District Roads are tertiary routes providing a linkage between district headquarters to ward centres; important centres within the district; and important centres to a higher class of road.

Feeder Roads are the village access roads linking important centres within a ward to the rest of the network.

Urban Roads are roads within the urban centres and are made of arterial roads, collector roads, local collector roads and access roads.


6.0 Institutional framework for the sector

In Tanzania, the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MoID) has the oversight responsibility for the management and development of the transport, construction and meteorological infrastructure. The ministry is the product of the amalgamation of the Ministry of Work and the Ministry of Transport and Communication in 2006. For more information visit

The Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) is one of the agencies under the MoID and has the responsibility for the management of trunk and regional road network of the Tanzania Mainland. Of the total road network of about 85 000km, TANROADS manages about 35% of them. Further information regarding this agency can be found on

District, urban and feeder roads are the responsibility of the President’s office for the Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG). It has the responsibility for the management development and maintenance of district, feeder and urban roads.

The Road Fund was inaugurated in August 1999. Furthermore, it was specified that the Road Fund was to be administered by a Board composed of a Chairman appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and eight members, four of which representing the private sector.


7.0 Relevant Rural Transport Programmes

Village Travel and Transport Programme (VTTP)

The VTTP has been developed in response to the rural isolation resulting from poor transport services. The recognition of the effects of inadequate access to basic services and opportunities in agriculture, health, education and financial services are the backbone of the VTTP. The overall objective therefore is to improve the rural transport in the country and consequently the livelihood of the rural population and poverty alleviation. It has been implemented on pilot basis in 7 with the support of NORAD, DANIDA, FINNIDA, SDC and the World Bank. Further information can be obtained at


The Tanzania Transport Sector Investment Programme (TSIP)

The TSIP is intended implement the NTP aspirations in line with the targets of the Tanzania’s Vision 2025, the NGRSP and the MDGs. The achievement of development in a way that enables the sector to contribute effectively to the growth of the national economy by complementing other sectors is the main objective of the TSIP. In essence, it is the engine of the NTP. This is to be implemented in two phases – 2006/2007 to 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 to 2016/2017.


8.0 Some Key Documents and Websites

National Transport Policy, 2003

This sets out the overarching direction for transport development in the country. It is available at  as viewed on 04/06/2010.

United Republic of Tanzania: Transport Sector Snapshot, by Cordula Thum (2004)

The aim of this report is to briefly review the transport sector in Tanzania, using the most recent sector data available. It is available at  as viewed on 12/05/2010

National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction, 2005

This document which is informed by the aspirations of the Tanzania’s Vision 2025 focuses on poverty alleviation and strives to encourage the participation of civil society, private sector and external partnership in the development. Full document can be obtained at as viewed on 23/05/2010

Brief summary of the Village Travel and Transport Programme  as viewed on 04/06/2010

Tanzania Transport Sector Report

Assessment of Non-Motorised Transport Program in Kenya and Tanzania by Scot Wilson (2002)


SSATP Poverty Reduction – Transport Strategy Review Process, Progress Report (2005) pg 45-49

Available at


Non Motorised Transport in African Cities – Lessons from experience in Kenya and Tanzania, 2005

Available at