The United Republic of Tanzania is a union of two sovereign states: the Republic of Tanganyika and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar. A treaty of Union was concluded on April 22, 1964, resulting in one United Republic. In mainland Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika), decentralization has ebbed and flowed through several phases, intertwined with political upheavals. The first phase (1967-72) involved a process of re-centralization of power in which local governments were abolished and replaced with centrally coordinated planning via deconcentrated administration. The second phase (during the 1980s) saw the re-establishment of elected local government authorities after the rapid decline in essential services under the earlier phase. The third phase (from 1996 onwards) has been to promote the autonomy of local governments to enhance their effectiveness under the Decentralization by Devolution (D-by-D) principle. Despite the government’s formal policy in support of devolution over the past quarter century, local government authorities in Tanzania retain many centralized elements in their institutional setup (e.g., limited administrative autonomy and a reliance on earmarked grant resources from the center).

Subnational government structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessment

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Tanzania 2023 (Excel)

Selected resources

Tanzania Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

The Local Government System in Tanzania (Commonwealth Local Government Forum)

Local government country profile: Tanzania (UN Women)

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Last updated: December 29, 2023