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The UK’s relationship with Tanzania is deep-rooted and multi-faceted. According to the UK Government, its mission is:

We develop and maintain relations between the United Kingdom and Tanzania. We deal with a wide range of political, commercial, security and economic questions of interest to the UK and Tanzania. We support British nationals in Tanzania, both in the mainland and Zanzibar.

The Department for International Development (DFID) provides further insight into the UK view of the relationship between the two countries:

The Tanzanian economy has grown at around 7% per year for the last 15 years. But 25 million Tanzanians still live on less than $1.90 a day 800,000 young Tanzanians enter the job market every year with few job opportunities. While most children go to school and the quality of education is improving, education outcomes in Tanzania remain very poor: only 7% of students reach the international benchmark in reading fluency and 8% reach the benchmark for addition and subtraction skills. With the UK as the largest provider of Foreign Direct Investment in Tanzania, our work to strengthen the economy will create further investment opportunities for British business. At the same time, a stronger economy will help to manage the stability, migration and security risks associated with a large, young and disillusioned population.

To find out how the UK will respond to the opportunities and challenges, what is being achieved for the UK and who we are working with please read the full country profile for Tanzania.

DFID’s planned budget for 2019/20 is £153 million, with spending heavily focused on: education; water, sanitation and hygiene; and economic development.

In recent years, human rights groups have expressed concern that Tanzania is moving in a more authoritarian direction under President John Magufuli, who was elected in 2015. His nickname is the ‘Bulldozer’. Human Rights Watch said in its 2019 Annual Report:

Since the election of President John Magufuli in December 2015, Tanzania has witnessed a marked decline in respect for free expression, association and assembly. Rhetorical Attacks on rights by authorities are increasingly accompanied by implementation of repressive laws and the harassment and arrest of journalists, opposition members and critics. Self-censorship and fear of reprisals have stifled criticism. Women and girls, particularly young mothers seeking to study, continue to face discriminatory policies. 

In August 2019, the UK High Commission and US Embassy, which are based in the capital of Tanzania, Dodoma, issued a statement expressing concern about the “steady erosion of due process in Tanzania, as evidenced by the ever more frequent resort to lengthy pre-trial detentions and shifting charges by its justice system.” The statement continued: We are particularly concerned about a recent case – the irregular handling of the arrest, detention, and indictment of investigative journalist Erick Kabendera, including the fact that he was denied access to a lawyer in the early stages of his detention, contrary to the Criminal Procedures Act.” Kabendera remains in detention. On 1 October, Amnesty International accused the authorities of “targetted harassment” after a court hearing of his case was delayed for a sixth time. He has reportedly been denied medical treatment while in detention.

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