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Country analysis

Tanzania


Food insecurity has been a continuous problem in Tanzania for the past three decades, mainly resulting from poverty, climate change, and insufficient access to essential resources, such as water and cultivable land. The majority of individuals living in rural areas depend on subsistence agriculture, and they face difficulties in producing sufficient food given various climate shocks, such as droughts and floods. An estimated 839,000 people (9% of a population of 8.7 million people in 28 analysed districts) are expected to experience acute food insecurity – i.e. Crisis (IPC 3 Phase) – over the March–May 2023 period.

Tanzania was also hosting more than 247,000 refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo as at 28 February 2023. The majority of them are sheltering in Nduta and Nyarugusu camps in Kigoma region, northwestern Tanzania.

For some host communities, the presence of refugees has created economic competition, especially in the agricultural sector, where most refugees are engaged. As refugees are paid less than workers from the host community, the economic opportunities of some Tanzanian nationals (especially casual labourers) are being affected. As a result, the Government has been limiting refugees’ engagement in some economic activities, such as in agricultural production, since the 1990s.

(IPC 30/12/2022, Xinhua 03/03/2022, UNCHR accessed 14/03/2022, UNCHR accessed 23/03/2023, UNHCR/WB 30/04/2018)

Food insecurity has been a continuous problem in Tanzania for the past three decades, mainly resulting from poverty, climate change, and insufficient access to essential resources, such as water and cultivable land. The majority of individuals living in rural areas depend on subsistence agriculture, and they face difficulties in producing sufficient food given various climate shocks, such as droughts and floods. An estimated 839,000 people (9% of a population of 8.7 million people in 28 analysed districts) are expected to experience acute food insecurity – i.e. Crisis (IPC 3 Phase) – over the March–May 2023 period.

Tanzania was also hosting more than 247,000 refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo as at 28 February 2023. The majority of them are sheltering in Nduta and Nyarugusu camps in Kigoma region, northwestern Tanzania.

For some host communities, the presence of refugees has created economic competition, especially in the agricultural sector, where most refugees are engaged. As refugees are paid less than workers from the host community, the economic opportunities of some Tanzanian nationals (especially casual labourers) are being affected. As a result, the Government has been limiting refugees’ engagement in some economic activities, such as in agricultural production, since the 1990s.

(IPC 30/12/2022, Xinhua 03/03/2022, UNCHR accessed 14/03/2022, UNCHR accessed 23/03/2023, UNHCR/WB 30/04/2018)

Latest updates on country situation

21 October 2023

In July 2023, the Ministry of Health in Tanzania confirmed a cholera outbreak in three regions: Arusha, Kigoma, and Mara. As at 8 October, there were 268 reported cholera cases, including nine deaths, putting the case fatality ratio at 3.3%. Most cases (61%) were recorded in Mara region, followed by Arusha (24%) and Kigoma (14%). The rainy season runs from November–April, which could heighten the risk of the disease spreading. (WHO 20/10/2023, FEWS NET accessed 24/10/2023)

26 September 2023

Since January 2023 until 19 September, 13,300 people fled from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to Tanzania because of clashes between armed groups and government forces. These people have been relocated to Nyarugusu refugee camp, which hosts nearly 150,000 people. Limited resources are hindering the provision of humanitarian assistance in the camp. (UNHCR 20/09/2023, MPI 24/08/2023)

17 July 2023

As at 30 June 2023, Tanzania was hosting more than 255,400 refugees and asylum seekers mainly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. About 84% of the refugees and asylum seekers, the majority of whom were children (55%), lived in camps in Katavi, western Kigoma, and Tabora regions, including about 132,000 people in Nyarugusu camp in Kigoma, near the Burundian border. Most refugees and asylum seekers lack adequate access to livelihood opportunities and face challenges in accessing food and nutrition. (UNHCR 17/07/2023, FAO 13/07/2023)

03 April 2023

Between 5–14 March 2023, over 2,600 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fled to Tanzania to escape clashes between the March 23 Movement and the Congolese army in Kivu region. Many, including women, children, and the elderly, sought refuge in Nyarugusu camp in Kigoma, which is already overcrowded as it houses 130,000 refugees, three times its original capacity. More refugees are expected to arrive in Tanzania as a result of this conflict, intensifying the urgent need for essentials such as food, WASH facilities, shelter, and healthcare. (ECHO 03/04/2023, The East African 16/03/2023, The Citizen 15/03/2023)

current crises
in Tanzania


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

TZA001 - Country level

Last updated 30/11/2023


Drivers

Displacement
Drought

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.7 Medium

Access constraints

2.0

TZA003 - Food security in North-East

Last updated 30/11/2023


Drivers

Drought

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.6 Medium

Access constraints

2.0

REG012 - Southern Africa Regional Food Security Crisis

Last updated 30/11/2023


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

3.9 High

Access constraints

4.0

TZA002 - Refugees

Last updated 30/11/2023


Drivers

Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.5 Medium

Access constraints

2.0

Analysis products
on Tanzania

Tanzania: Refugee influx from the Democratic Republic of Congo

30 March 2023

Tanzania: Refugee influx from the Democratic Republic of Congo

DOCUMENT / PDF / 268 KB

More than 2,600 refugees and asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) entered Tanzania between 5–14 March to flee from the escalation of clashes between the March 23 Movement (M23) and the Congolese army in Kivu region. The immediate needs reported are food, WASH, shelter, and healthcare. 

Mixed migration
Tanzania: Displacement from Burundi

18 March 2016

Tanzania: Displacement from Burundi

DOCUMENT / PDF / 487 KB

Political tensions in Burundi escalated after the President announced his intention to run for a third term in April. Violent protests in the capital have killed 20 and injured 200. On 13 May, leaders of the army attempted a coup, which failed after two days of violent clashes. The situation remains tense and people are fleeing the country. 

Displacement
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