Republic of Tanzania
October 28-29

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Area 945,037 sq.km. Comprising mainland Tanganyika and the offshore islands of Zanzibar and Pemba (2,460 sq.km.).

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 33,517,014 +2.29% 35 per sq. km.
2010 42,235,298 +2.33% 45 per sq. km.
2025 57,918,322 +1.98% 61 per sq. km.

Capital Dar-es-Salaam 3,000,000. Growth from 700,000 in 1990. Capital designate: Dodoma 250,000. Urbanites 25%.


Indigenous ethnic groups 160+. Widespread promotion and use of Swahili has obscured some tribal divisions.

Bantu peoples 92.4%. 125 peoples, largest: Sukuma 3.2 mill.; Chagga(3) 1.56m; Gogo 1.37m; Haya 1.37m; Nyamwezi 1.2m; Makonde 1.14m; Ha 990,000; Hehe 860,000; Ruguru 692,000; Swahili-Shirazi 672,000; Bena 670,000; Kami 670,000; Shambala 664,000; Zaramo 627,000; Nyakyusa 550,000; Makhuwa 550,000; Yao 492,000; Mwera 469,000; Zigula 460,000; Hutu 440,000; Asu 431,000; Rangi 300,000.

Nilotic 2.9%. 8 peoples: Maasai(4) 526,000; Luo 280,000; Tatooga/Barabaig 200,000.

Cushitic 2%. 7 peoples: Iraqw 462,000; Somali 50,000.

Khoisan 0.4%. 7 peoples: Sandawe 80,000; the original San (Bushmen) inhabitants of central and southern Africa.

Other 2.3%. South Asian (predominantly Gujarati) 360,000; Arab 200,000; Chinese 15,000.

Refugees. Mainly Burundi and Rwanda Hutu. Also Somalis, Congolese, etc.

Literacy 68%. Official languages Swahili, English; 2% speak only Swahili and no local African language. All languages 135. Languages with Scriptures 17Bi 17NT 15por 10w.i.p.


Agricultural subsistence economy yet with much potential for development. The disastrous experimentation with socialism after independence led to nationalization of many businesses and collectivization of rural communities. The results were a bloated bureaucracy, deterioration of industry and the infrastructure, serious reduction in living standards and drying up of international investment. During the 1990s the economy opened up resulting in steady improvement, but the reliance on foreign aid hampers entrepreneurial initiative. AIDS has become a serious problem. HDI 0.421; 156th/174. Public debt 92% of GNP. Income/person $210 (0.7% of USA).


Tanganyika gained independence from Britain in 1961, Zanzibar in 1963. The two countries united as a one-party federal socialist republic in 1964, though Zanzibar has retained a considerable degree of autonomy. The one-party system ended in 1992 and a multi-party democracy was instituted. For 35 years Tanzania has been an ‘island of peace’ in a troubled region. There are recurring differences between the Mainland and Zanzibar which threaten the bonds between them.


There is religious freedom, and equal rights and opportunities for both Muslims and Christians to worship and propagate their faiths.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 51.42 17,234,449 +3.9%
Muslim 31.80 10,658,410 +2.4%
Traditional ethnic 15.15 5,077,828 -2.5%
Hindu 0.90 301,653 +4.7%
Baha'i 0.40 134,068 +2.3%
non-Religious/other 0.30 100,551 +2.3%
Sikh 0.03 10,055 +2.3%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 46 16.86 5,650 +3.6%
Independent 41 2.23 749 +2.8%
Anglican 1 7.91 2,650 +10.6%
Catholic 1 24.76 8,300 +2.4%
Orthodox 1 0.04 13 +2.1%
Marginal 2 0.07 23 +5.2%
Unaffiliated   3.73 1,249 n.a.
Doubly affiliated   -4.18 -1,400 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 800 4,486,486 8,300,000
Anglican A 8,000 1,086,066 2,650,000
Evangelical Lutheran P 6,500 1,000,000 2,500,000
Pentecostal Chs Assoc. P 1,600 320,000 650,000
Africa Inland P 500 180,000 540,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 964 207,893 460,000
Assemblies of God P 1,689 300,000 450,000
New Apostolic I 1,125 225,000 450,000
Moravian P 380 280,000 430,000
Baptist Convention P 1,238 97,955 190,000
Mennonite [2] P 340 43,000 95,000
Ch of God (Cleveland) P 325 30,000 70,000
Pentecostal Holiness P 100 33,000 65,000
Pentecostal AoG P 800 33,000 55,000
Full Gospel Bible Fell I 30 16,000 35,000
Foursquare Gospel P 250 15,000 28,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 188 8,408 23,000
Pente Evang Fell (Elim) P 160 7,000 16,000
Christian Brethren P 95 3,500 9,000
Free Methodist P 4 1,000 2,000
Other denoms [71]   2,005 149,500 367,000
Doubly affiliated     -583,000 -1,400,000
Total Christians [92]   27,100 7,939,500 15,985,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.


5,699 +6.4%


4,298 +4.8%
  Pentecostal 4.7 1,576 +4.4%

Missionaries from Tanzania
P,I,A 232 in 21 agencies, mainly within country.

Missionaries to Tanzania
P,I,A 1,272 in 110 agencies: USA 375, Germany 169, UK 117, Finland 80, Korea 78.

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Answers to Prayer

1 Peaceful change from the well-intentioned but disastrous socialist experiment to a more free, democratic society in 1992-1995.

2 The dramatic growth of Evangelicals in both Lutheran, Anglican and many Pentecostal denominations in the 1990s from 2.3 million (9.3%) in 1990 to 5.7 million (17.2%) in 2000, and the overall growth of Christians from 34% to 48%.

3 The move of the Holy spirit in many denominations resulting in vigorous outreach, bold faith and vision for advance. Many Muslims have been coming to Christ.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The delicate inter-communal balance and political stability of the country cannot be taken for granted. The Muslim community is increasingly polarized between moderates and Islamists; the latter pressing for political influence and privileges and resentful of the perceived advantages enjoyed by Christians. Pray that the government may be wise and even-handed, and that communal harmony and religious freedom may be maintained in both the mainland and Zanzibar.

2 The growth of the mainline Churches has been good but patchy. Revival movements in both the Lutheran and Anglican Churches have brought life to traditional congregations; most of the bishops are Evangelicals. However, there are problems that limit growth in numbers and spirituality.

a) There are extensive areas where the churches have stagnated and where many potentially open villages are unreached. There are too few evangelists and church planters.

b) Western cultural forms combined with African worship patterns of singing, choirs and collections leave little time for biblical teaching.

c) There is a critical lack of trained, mature leaders. Many pastors have to care for 20 or more congregations.

d) AIDS continues its frightening growth and rapidly rising death rate. It has now afflicted over 1.3 million (8.1% of the population) and left 1.1 million orphaned children. The social fabric and economic structure of the country is being deeply affected. Pray for church teaching programmes aimed at slowing the spread of the disease, and for counselling clinics and care structures for victims.

3 The Pentecostal movement has flourished with many denominations growing. A wide range of evangelistic literature, media and social ministries have impacted the nation. Most are international; indigenous movements have been less influential than in other African countries. Pray for continued growth, increased maturity and unity across the evangelical spectrum — essential in the face of rising Muslim militancy.

4 Leadership training needs to be given top priority in the churches. Training facilities and funding are limited. Pray for the 15 or so Bible schools and seminaries in the country. Many need upgrading to higher levels to prepare leaders for an increasingly literate population. More use is being made of short-term residential training courses, TEE and also cassette Bible schools for training local leaders.

5 Vision for the future has rapidly developed during the 1990s with national conferences focusing on reaching the least evangelized.

a) Excellent research on Tanzania’s peoples through Pioneer Bible Translators and others has shown the need. Over 100 peoples have many Christians, 11 have 10-25% Christian, 9 have 5-10% and 29 have less than 5% — many of these still unreached and with no church.

b) National congresses have been used of God to challenge the churches to work together and also send out missionaries. There are some serving cross-culturally in Zanzibar and on the coast. AIC has opened a missionary training college.

c) The AIC (daughter church of AIM) has set the goal of doubling their church population in the decade before their centenary year, 2008.

6 Ministry among young people has been particularly encouraging, but they face challenges of low employment prospects and increasing exposure to Western influences.

a) Schools are obliged to provide religious education, but there are 53 schools for every qualified RE teacher. Christian teachers can and do have a big impact. Pray for church programmes to equip teachers for this key role.

b) Scripture Union has had a major impact, but leadership and vision is the need. Pray for a fresh anointing of the Spirit and a new cutting edge. SU’s ‘Aid for AIDS’ programme, encouraging young people to be morally pure, is a key ministry.

c) TAFES(IFES) groups in universities and colleges are large and evangelistic. Many students are being converted, including Muslims. Lack of staff workers is a hindrance to better national coverage and coordination of outreach and discipling. Pray for the 35 groups and five staff workers.

7 The unfinished task in Tanzania. Great growth among Christians must not obscure the real needs. The coast, Zanzibar and many of the peoples in the southern provinces are largely or almost entirely Muslim. Increased conversions from among Muslims still leave the great majority unreached. Pray specifically for:

a) Zanzibar which is famous for its cloves, but infamous as an Arab base for its centuries-long African slave trade.

i) On the two main islands, Zanzibar (450,000) and Pemba (330,000) are three distinct indigenous ethnic groups. Almost all are Muslim, though there are a few believers. Many others are spiritually seeking, but held back by fear.

ii) Areas of special need: Zanzibar Town, the east coast and the small Tumbatu Island are strongholds and spiritual oppression is intense.

iii) Christians have increased in numbers, boldness and unity during the 1990s. There are more than 10 congregations on Zanzibar Island and 4 on Pemba. Pray for their preservation and effectiveness as witnesses.

b) The Muslim peoples of the coastal regions live under the curse of the historic slave trade. Most have few Christians — in some very few. Major challenges by region: Tanga: Digo (88,000), Dhaiso (29,000) and Somali. Pwani/Dar-es-Salaam: Zigula (no known church), Kami, Rufiji (75,000), Ngendereko (110,000). Lindi: Machinga (36,000), Ndonde (15,000), Ngindo (220,000). Pray that Christians from other ethnic groups among them may be used of God to bless them with the gospel.

c) The Inland peoples yet to be effectively reached: the Datooga and Barabaig (200,000), are largely animist and the Rangi and Chasi (40,000) are Muslim.

d) The peoples on the Mozambique border. The Brethren from Germany have worked and prayed for a breakthrough among the Islamized Makonde and Yao, and are only now starting to see the beginnings of a harvest.

e) The South Asian community speaks a range of Indian languages, predominantly Gujarati, but also Hindi and Panjabi speakers are present. Most are Hindu or Muslim. There are relatively few Christians among them.

8 Missionaries continue to play a vital role with a wide range of ministries in outreach, church support, training and specialist ministries. Increasingly, nationals are replacing expatriates and the number of missionaries is falling. Major mission agencies are Lutherans (340, mainly Scandinavian and German), AIM (95), Anglicans (88 in CMS and Crosslinks), SBC (86), Swedish Free Mission (75), and Brethren (73, from Germany and Britain).

9 Christian support ministries:

a) Bible translation is now being tackled in earnest. It had been assumed that the widespread use of Swahili would have diminished the need. The three main agencies involved are The Bible Society, SIL and Pioneer Bible Translators. The latter have been used of God in mobilizing the Church for the unreached. There are 10 translation programmes under way, but a further 45 of a possible 79 languages definitely need translation teams.

b) Christian literature is vital for an increasingly literate nation, yet the poverty and difficulty of obtaining foreign currency to buy supplies hamper printing and distribution on a larger scale. Pray for more Tanzanians with the gifts and calling to write appropriate Christian articles and books. Pray also for the Central Tanganyika Press (Anglican), Africa Inland Press, Kanisa la Biblia Publishers (Bible commentaries and theological books), the extensive publishing and printing ministry of the Pentecostal Churches Association and for effective distribution of their products. SU, the Bible Society, the AIC and CLC have thriving Christian bookstores. The Gideons are active in placing New Testaments in schools.

c) Missionary flying is an essential service ministry to the Church and mission agencies because of the lack of good roads. MAF-Europe has its biggest operation in Tanzania — 10 aircraft (including one float plane on Lake Victoria) based at Dodoma and 7 satellite bases with 20 expatriate and 49 national workers. They are involved in moving Christian workers and maintaining medical programmes and outreach to the Maasai, Iraqw and Barabaig. Evangelism and the showing of the JESUS film at airstrips is one evangelistic spin-off! MAF have also developed ministry in e-mail support which is well used in rural areas.

d) Christian radio has greatly expanded. The Lutherans, Pentecostal Churches Association/IBRA and TWR have recording studios. IBRA has a daily listenership of over 5 million in Swahili and a good letter response. FEBA uses 16 local stations and its short-wave station in the Seychelles for daily programmes in Swahili (10 hrs/wk), Makonde and Yao. TWR broadcasts from Swaziland and Johannesburg, South Africa in English (28 hrs/wk), Swahili (14) and Yao (2). In 1993 Christians took on one of the three national TV channels. Pray for lasting fruit in lives to result.

e) The JESUS film is being widely used in 15 languages and a further 27 are in preparation.

f) GRN have recordings in 82 languages. Cassettes are widely used for evangelism, Scripture reading and teaching.

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