Dar es Salaam aerial city scape


This research report reviews and analyses Tanzania’s planning and urban development policy documents for the last twenty years, identifying the key ideas and policies that have shaped the delivery of public services, paying particular attention to education and healthcare.

This report also presents city profiles for two of Tanzania’s cities: Dar es Salaam and Ifakara.

This report is written by the Ifakara Health Institute.

Key messages

The percentage of urbanisation in Tanzania has increased six-fold since the 1960s, rising from 5% to 33% in 2017 . Forecasts suggest this growth will continue. By 2045 there will be more urban residents compared to rural, with the urban population reaching 55.4% in 2050. In comparison to neighbouring East African countries, Tanzania’s urbanisation process is occurring faster and with a steeper incline.

However, such rapid growth has raised questions on what kind of urban areas are emerging and how prepared, or adaptable, these spaces are.

Migration and natural population increase are identified as the key causes of urbanisation in Tanzania. The 2012 Census showed a higher growth percentage per annum in urban areas (5%) compared to the total population (3%), with Dar es Salaam leading growth at 7% per annum. The data analysis also emphasises the importance of the growth of small towns, and migration patterns to/from small towns.

Urban space in Tanzania shows limited urban planning. This report shows, the lack of planning is historical, but where found limitations emerge in how planning is conceptualised, conducted, and implemented. Urban plans are prioritised for large cities, and there is no attempt to create a national urban plan recognising, and strengthening, the connections across rural-urban space.