Tanzania has been an independent republic since 1961. Located in East Africa on the Indian Ocean, Tanzania acts as a gateway to many of its landlocked neighbors. Tanzania is a largely rural country with populous urban centers, such as the capital, Dar es Salaam. Much of the economy relies on agriculture and services, including those associated with tourism.
In 2011 it was estimated that 26.7 percent of the population, nearly 50 million people, lived in urban areas. While Tanzania remains largely rural, urbanization is occurring rapidly. Based on a 2012 census, Dar es Salaam has a population of 4.3 million. With a projected growth rate of 5.6 percent annually, current population estimates are now at 4.5 million. At this level of continued growth, the city could find that its population will double in a ten-year period.
Rapid urbanization has created significant challenges in Dar es Salaam, a coastal city extremely vulnerable to climate change. With 70 percent of the population living in unplanned settlements, local governments have an incredibly difficult time providing services to ever-growing communities. High levels of informality have also resulted in an increase of residents living in areas vulnerable to flooding and the associated health effects of severe storms.
ICMA’s recent involvement in Tanzania is through ICMA’s CityLinks program. Dar es Salaam has been partnered with Durban, South Africa, to learn how local governments can identify and address key vulnerabilities in light of climate change and better adapt to the realities of climate change.