Dar es Salaam (from Arabic: دار السلامDār as-Salām, "the house of peace"; formerly Mzizima) is the former capital and largest city in Tanzania. It is the largest city in East Africa by population, as well as a regionally important economic centre. Located on the Swahili coast, the city is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Until 1974, Dar es Salaam served as Tanzania’s capital city, at which point the capital city commenced transferring to Dodoma, which was officially completed in 1996. However, as of 2017, it continues to remain a focus of central government bureaucracy, although this is in the process of transferring to Dodoma. In addition, it is Tanzania's most prominent city in arts, fashion, media, music, film and television and a leading financial centre, with the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) being the country's first and most important stock exchange market. The city is the leading arrival and departure point for most tourists who visit Tanzania, including the national parks for safaris and the islands of Unguja and Pemba. Dar es Salaam is also the largest and most populous Swahili-speaking city in the world.

It is the capital of the co-extensive Dar es Salaam Region, which is one of Tanzania's 31 administrative regions and consists of five districts: Kinondoni in the north, Ilala in the centre, Ubungo, Temeke in the south and Kigamboni. The region had a population of 4,364,541 as of the official 2012 census.

Organisation reference

Region reference

Dar es Salaam

The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) is a public university. It is the oldest and biggest public university in Tanzania established on 1st July 1970, through parliament Act no. 12 of 1970. Prior to 1970, the university college, Dar es Salaam had started on 1st July 1961 as an affiliate college of the University of London.

The UDSM envisions at ‘becoming a reputable world-class university that is responsive to national, regional and global development needs through engagement in dynamic knowledge creation and application’. The mission of the university is stated as ‘the unrelenting pursuit of scholarly and strategic research, education, training and public service directed at attainment of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development of Tanzania and the rest of Africa’. The core functions of UDSM as reflected in the mission statement are:

  1. Teaching and Learning;
  2. Research and Innovation; and
  3. Knowledge Exchange.

The University offers various academic programmes leading to the award of certificates, diplomas, and degrees. It has a total of 4 Certificates, 3 Diplomas and 65 Undergraduate Degree Programmes offered in different academic units.  The number of students admitted at the University of Dar es Salaam has been increasing steadily, from 14 in 1961 to 21,502 (13,641 male and 7,861 female) undergraduate degree and non-degree in the 2011/2012 academic year. Female students constitute 36.5% of all undergraduate students at the University of Dar es Salaam. In research, the UDSM is envisioned to be a place of conducting interdisciplinary, multi/trans-disciplinary research by scholars, namely academic staff and students, through research institutes/centres that are formed by different research groups from diverse university departments or other institutions working on broadly defined research themes and/or in partnership with the private industry.


University of Dar es Salaam
University Rd
Dar es Salaam

-6.7841607, 39.2060943

Geographical context

Tanzania is a union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar which joined to form the United Republic of Tanzania. It is located between 1 degree South and 12 degrees South latitude and 30 degrees East and 40 degrees East. After the union, Zanzibar kept a semiautonomous state with its own president, national assembly and judiciary system. The country comprises a total area of 945,087 Sq. km consisting of land area of 883,749 sq. km (881,289 sq.km mainland and 2,460 sq.km Zanzibar), plus 59,050 sq. km inland water bodies (URT, 2002). It shares borders with eight countries namely Kenya and Uganda in the North

Social context

Based on the 2012 Population and Housing Census, the country was reported to have about 44,928,923 people: 43,625,354 from mainland Tanzania and 1,303,569 from Zanzibar with an annual average growth rate (2002 – 2012) of 2.7 (NBS 2014). The national average population growth rate, is cited as one of the fastest growing populations in the world (Wuyts and Kilama 2014). In particular, the country faces increase in its youth population, which started since 1980s. If not addressed, this increase may have negative consequences on areas such as delivery of social services, infrastructure development

Economic context

Agriculture is regarded as a pillar of the economy and accounts for almost half of the country’s gross domestic product. It employs almost two-thirds of working-age population – most of whom are subsistence farmers (Osorio, Percic, and Di Battista, 2014). The inadequate diversification of the economy and inadequate investment in irrigation has caused the agricultural sector to be highly exposed to the effects of climate change. Similarly, Tanzania faces slow pace of industrialisation, a shortage of skills and unsatisfactorily infrastructure (Economic Commission for Africa, 2015, p.1). In

Environmental issues

In terms of environment, Tanzania is highly endowed with natural resources such as gold/gemstones, fish, forests, wildlife, and biodiversity, therefore environment is key to the livelihood of the vast majority of Tanzanians (URT 2006).

Analysis by USAID (2012) highlighted some of the key environmental issues and challenges facing the region. These included land degradation that reduces the productivity of soil in many areas; unsatisfactory access to good quality water; urban and countryside environmental pollution including untreated solid and liquid wastes that are left in some cities that

Social issues

The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI), positions Tanzania into the bottom quartile of countries with the lowest level of human development, ranking at 159 out of 187 countries (UNDP 2014, ix).  It is one of the poorest countries of the world; with about 50% of the population living below poverty line (Mwamila, 2008). The country experienced a steady economic decline in the late 1970s and a financial crisis in the early 1980s. In 1986, the country formally adopted an economic recovery program (Muganda, 2014). 

Tanzania has a long history of progress in the social services provision, with

Economic issues

One of the critical challenges facing the country’s economy is the failure to promote a diversified economy. For example, while the manufacturing sector represents a powerful engine of structural change and modernisation of the economy, it contributes only 7.6% to the GDP and less than 1% to export. Instead, there is an excessive dependence on subsistence agriculture, which makes the economy vulnerable as these are small scale practices which are climate-dependent and unsustainable (Amani, 2005). Such practices also aggravate economic instabilities, and leads to failure in providing additional


As noted by Tanzanian Commission for Universities, TCU (2016), the country experiences a growing awareness and social demand for education at all levels, and higher education sector is particularly recognized as having a critical role to ensuring sustainable national development. However, the higher education sector in Tanzania has traditionally been a small in terms of student numbers. Until 1990s, university education was still largely viewed as a place for minorities, and some scholars estimate that less than 4% of pupils enrolled in primary education would eventually go to University

Organisation and management

As noted by Teffara & Altbach (2004), since, the majority of higher education institutions in region are public, there is a general tendency for governmental involvement in university affairs. The current governance structure in most of the Universities reflects this legacy. Traditionally, the President had been the ultimate authority as the chancellor. However, more recently, given the changes in the nature and structure of universities in the region, the President has been appointing Vice-Chancellors and others down the administrative line for public universities.

Teffara & Altbach (2004)

Main priorities of HEI in the region

The Tanzanian government considers universities as potential for rapid development (URT, 1999). The role of universities in development is consistent with Tanzania‘s Vision 2025 that clearly spells out the need to amass knowledge so that society can fight poverty, diseases and ignorance and foster economic growth. The Tanzanian vision 2025 envisages Tanzania becoming “a nation with high level education at all levels; a nation which produces the quantity and quality of educated people sufficiently equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to solve the society’s problems; meet the

Cultural issues

As for cultural challenges, within the African perspective, culture transcends arts, artefacts, literature, music, dance and other artistic paraphernalia. It entails the totality of a people's norms, ethos, values, beliefs, raison d'etre, codes of socially acceptable conducts, modes of life, religion, philosophy and ideology (Soetan, 2001). Some of the cultural challenges noted by Soetan (2001, p.5); (see also URT, 2007), include the dominance of traditional concepts that are not reflected in the  development discourse. There has also been a failure to use home-grown models that make use of


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Dar es Salaam