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At more than ten times the size of Ireland, a population of 60 million people and 126 spoken languages, Tanzania is a large diverse country. The Tanzanian economy has grown considerably during the last two decades and in 2020 it graduated from low-income country to lower-middle-income country status.

Tanzania’s rich resource base and relative socio-political stability have attracted investments and have been key to driving the country’s economic growth. Efforts by the Government to increase access to social services have contributed to improved health and education outcomes.

However, despite this progress, inequality and rapid population growth mean that not everyone has benefited; fourteen million Tanzanians still live below the national poverty line, defined at the point where people are unable to meet their basic needs. Poor health and malnutrition affect a significant proportion of the population.

Ireland is working closely with the Tanzanian government, the European Union, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations to help poor people, in particular women and children, to earn enough to sustain and feed their families, improve their nutrition and live longer, healthier lives.

  • Overview
  • Background
  • Our Work
  • Results


Tanzania at a glance


59.7 million

Proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day:


Ranking on 2011 UN Human Development Index:

163 out of 188 countries

Partner country since:



A large map of Tanzania

Ireland and Tanzania

Ireland has provided development assistance to Tanzania since 1975 and launched its aid programme in 1979 with the opening of a Development Cooperation Office in Dar es Salaam. Since then, we have worked with a variety of partner organisations including government institutions, the European Union, UN agencies, international research institutions, civil society organisations, Irish institutions and donor agencies to contribute to Tanzania’s national development goals and to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.

We have set out our objectives in our 2017-21 Tanzania Country Strategy Paper, which has a significant emphasis on building government systems and a focus on partnership, and interventions that deliver results for the poor and vulnerable. The programme thus seeks to improve the lives and livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable, with a deliberate focus on poor women and girls. A new strategy for 2022-26 is currently being developed.

As well as providing assistance through our bilateral aid programme, we support the work of local and international aid agencies and missionary organisations in Tanzania through our civil society funding schemes.

We also support a number of research and learning partnerships between higher education institutions in Ireland and Tanzania.



Since gaining its independence in 1961, Tanzania has mostly enjoyed good relations with its neighbours and has been active in promoting efforts to resolve conflict in the region.

Based on Tanzania’s Constitution, Presidential, parliamentary and local government elections are every five years. Tanzania has made sustained efforts to promote participation of women in parliament. In March 2021, Samia Suluhu Hassan became Tanzania’s first woman president.

Sunflower Producers & members of Mnyororo Producers Group, Chunya District, Mbeya Region


Growth in Tanzania’s economy has come from manufacturing, mining, services, construction and tourism. However, the economy was affected by COVID-19, with tourism, which accounts for 17% of GDP, the worst affected sector. 

Agriculture and fishing is the largest economic sector accounting for one third of GDP and employing two thirds of Tanzanians, but has experienced much lower growth.  The majority of crop production takes place on smallholder, subsistence farms largely using hand tools. Most farm produce is sold in raw form with little value addition. Two thirds of households are involved in agricultural activities.

Tanzania has abundant land, water resources and rich soils. However, agricultural incomes are stagnant due to a lack of infrastructure, particularly in irrigation, storage and transport, which hampers farmers’ ability to produce sufficient food and get it to market. 

Tanzania is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which is undermining ecosystems, water, agriculture and food security. Climate related migration is on the rise increasing tensions between communities on land and water usage. Inequalities increase the impacts of environmental and climate change challenges for women and girls, especially those depending on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Human Development

Tanzania is ranked 163 out of 189 on the 2020 United Nation’s Human Development Index (Ireland is ranked second). Child mortality rates have fallen and over 95% of children are vaccinated against the major childhood diseases. Sustained progress has been recorded on the prevention of HIV and malaria. However, the nutritional status of children is of concern with 32% of children under five considered to be stunted or too short for their age.   

An estimated 28.2% of the population live below the national poverty line of approximately $1.00 a day (at 2005 purchasing power parities). When using the international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day the proportion jumps more than 20 percentage points to 49.4%, this means that a large number of households are hovering just above the national poverty line and are vulnerable to falling into poverty.

Poverty is more severe in rural areas, where two thirds of the population live, and highest among households, including pastoralists, that depend on agriculture for their livelihood. These households are particularly vulnerable to drought, disease or food price fluctuations and are a focus of Ireland’s aid programme in Tanzania.

Our Work

Ireland has a long and enduring partnership with Tanzania. It is grounded in a shared history of colonialism and years of people-to-people links, political exchanges and cooperation in development.

Ireland invests in gender equality, women’s empowerment, health, agriculture, livestock production, nutrition, social protection, climate action and good governance in Tanzania.

More sustainable livelihoods for poor women and youth

Ireland recognises that productive economic activities are critical to breaking the cycle of poverty, through increasing incomes, better opportunities for decent employment and engagement in social protection.

Since those most excluded from the Tanzanian economy are women and young people, Ireland places a particular focus on women’s economic empowerment and youth employment. We are committed to strengthening the capacity of Tanzanian research institutions in the area of socio-economic transformation and to ensure that the policy and political dialogue on economic growth is influenced by good evidence on what works effectively.

Improving sexual and reproductive health and nutrition for women and children

Ireland works to improve reproductive health and nutrition for women and girls through linking efforts on health, nutrition and gender equality. This contributes to our work on safer and healthier lives for women and children.  Our support is focused on improving primary health care, access to services, and community partnership in service delivery. Ireland also supports community nutrition programmes.

Refugees in Tanzania

The Great Lakes region is volatile and is likely to remain so. Tanzania has historically been a country of refuge for people seeking international protection from across the region. There are currently over a quarter of a million refugees in Tanzania, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ireland supports livelihoods, nutrition, primary health care and gender based violence services for refugees and host communities in Kigoma in north west Tanzania.

A doctor in Tanzania giving a woman and child some medicine.

Key Results

  • 43% increase in incomes for 130,000 smallholder farmers in the sunflower value chain.
  • Vocational training provided to 1020 youth (35% women) and livelihood training to 2265 adolescents.
  • 5,335 lower-level health facilities supported across Tanzania. The percentage of primary healthcare facilities with continuous availability of 10 tracer medicines increased from 69% to 94% (Q2 2020).
  • Contribution to increased percentage of women aged 15-49 using contraception (27 to 42%).
  • Contribution to 23% increase in the number of Gender-based violence cases reported to the Tanzania Police Force (2016 to 2019).
  • 3 effective challenges by a civil society partner to policies and laws that infringed access to justice.
  • 891 community health workers trained to support local communities in 6 districts.
  • Nine maternity wards established in 3 refugee-housing districts in one of the poorest border regions, all of which are powered by solar energy.

A man and woman in Tanzania milling grain using a wooden machine.

How we spend our budget

We work in partnership with the Government of Tanzania, the European Union, other donors, civil society organisations and multi-lateral institutions to deliver our programme.

In 2021, Ireland’s bilateral official development cooperation budget for Tanzania was €20.9m. For more detailed information, see our Annual Report Annexes over time available in our repository Ireland’s Development Assistance Annual Reports.


How we have helped

Irish Aid has played its part in the progress made by Tanzania. With our support:

  • 100,000 specialist consultations provided to people living with disabilities through Irish Aid support in 2015.
  • With support from Irish Aid 10,000 people with disabilities benefited from corrective surgery in 2014.
  • Approximately 7,000 smallholder cocoa farmers have increased their income through sales of better quality cocoa to fermentaries and chocolate manufacturers as a result of training and technical expertise provided by our partners;
  • 4940 people (1,334 women) gained employment in the sunflower value chain in 2014 with Irish Aid support;
  • 97% of infants under one year of age nationwide have been vaccinated against measles as a result of improved local health service delivery supported by us through channelling funding to the local level;
  • Through the support of Irish Aid all hospitals and 18 health centres in Shinyanga region have established systems to record all incidences of violence against women presenting at those facilities

Read More

Irish Aid’s Tanzania Country Strategy Paper 2017-2021 sets out how we respond to the changing development environment in Tanzania.