Although one of the poorest countries in the world, Tanzania is emerging as one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, and there are opportunities for those looking to live and work there.
Expats moving to Tanzania are likely to do so as part of a corporate relocation within their existing company or go there to take up a position within the NGO sector. Expat salaries are unlikely to reach the levels of other African hardship destinations, such as Nigeria or Angola, but expats working in Tanzania are likely to enjoy a rewarding cultural experience in a friendly and welcoming environment.
Job market in Tanzania
Agriculture is the backbone of Tanzania's economy, employing around 65 percent of the population, which has continued to decline recently. Tourism is another major economic sector, while mining is also an important contributor to the Tanzanian economy. Manufacturing and services, although small, are also key sources of employment in the country.
The IT sector in Tanzania is growing as the country is going through a digital transformation; expats may also find employment in this sector. While Dar es Salaam, as the home of the country's largest seaport, is the most important centre of economic activity in Tanzania, other major areas that attract foreigners include Arusha and the capital, Dodoma. Teaching English is another option for those seeking employment in this East African country.
Finding a job in Tanzania
It is recommended that expats move to Tanzania with a job offer already in hand. Expats will need a work permit to legally live and work in Tanzania, and employers may sponsor them. Expats may be able to find job opportunities in Tanzania online and should also consider consulting local recruitment agencies.
Although it's not essential to speak Swahili, learning at least a few key phrases of the local language will go a long way in the job-hunting process and will also earn expats the respect of the locals.
Work culture in Tanzania
Although the working environment in Tanzania is generally a friendly one, expats may take a while to adjust to the cultural changes.
Business structures are hierarchical, and status is revered. Decisions are therefore made from the top down, and subordinates hesitate to question their manager's authority. This may take some getting used to for those moving from a more egalitarian society. Decision-making can also be a drawn-out process, as Tanzanians are not direct in their communication style, preferring not to give an outright yes or no to a question. Therefore, expats need to learn to exercise patience when working in Tanzania.
Although Swahili is the official language, English is the dominant language of business in Tanzania, especially in the main cities. Arabic is also commonly spoken in the predominantly Islamic archipelago of Zanzibar.
Networking and building meaningful relationships are also crucial to successfully doing business in Tanzania. It's also essential to remain respectful and courteous to business associates to avoid causing anyone to 'lose face'.
►Learn more about the work culture in Doing Business in Tanzania
Are you an expat living in Tanzania?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Tanzania. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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