POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
While Swahili and English are the official languages, the people of Tanzania speak various dialects according to their location and background.
While most of the population of Tanzania lives in the countryside, 3 million live in Dar Es Salaam, which is also home to most government offices, although the official capital is Dodoma.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Tanzania is the fourth-poorest country on earth. Access to medicine is limited and more than 40 per cent of the population is classified as malnourished.
Fifty-one per cent of the population lives on less than $1 US per day. Accessing fresh water often requires a half-hour trek. Most schools lack basics like books, desks, teachers and classrooms.
Despite the adoption of a constitutional parliamentary system in 1961, Tanzania operated on a one-party state as of 1977. From that time until 1992, all parties except Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) were outlawed. Currently, numerous political parties exist, but none challenge the power and influence of the CCM.
Tanzania is heavily dependent on foriegn aid. In 1986, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) negotiated a Structural Adjustment Fund, in 1990, followed by the Economic and Social Action Program (ESAP). Since then, Tanzania has been subjected to privatization, the elimination of many import restrictions and the “liberalization” of the banking sector and foreign exchange markets.
Due to apparent slow implementation of policy reforms, including lack of progress in liberalizing the gold sector and inadequate mobilization of domestic resources, IMF credit was withheld in January 1994. The funding only returned in 1996.
Today, Tanzania’s total external debt is $6.4 billion US. It spends 40 per cent of its GDP on interest payments on external debt.
TANZANIA AND GOLD
Africa hosts approximately 40 per cent of the world’s gold reserves. There are more than 100 gold exploration corporations presently operating in Tanzania. Since 1994 the government has granted more than 1,000 prospecting licenses to foreign exploration companies.
The area around Lake Victoria is home to numerous gold fields, including Bulyanhulu and several other fields owned by Canadian companies. In May of 2002, several miners were burried alive in a goldfield near Bulyanhulu, operated by a South African gold company.
As early as 1976, peasant or “artisanal” miners were digging rudimentary shafts and pits in Bulyanhulu to mine gold.
There are at least 10 million ounces of gold on the Bulyanhulu claim. According to Barrick’s recent statements to the media, the cost of extracting that gold is $130 US per ounce. With current prices of $300 per ounce, that means the profit on the mine could be more than $1 billion.
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