That dollar amount results from a 79.7% acceleration from $3.8 billion five years earlier in 2018.
Year over year, the value of Tanzania’s globally exported products grew 6.8% compared to $6.4 billion during 2021.
The top 5 most valuable exports from Tanzania are unwrought gold, cashew or Brazil nuts and coconuts, copper ores and concentrates, dried shelled vegetables, then rice. Combined, those 5 major exports represent over half (53.2%) of Tanzania’s total exports by value for 2022.
Tanzania’s Main Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 77.5% worth of products exported from Tanzania were bought by importers in: India (17.3% of Tanzania’s global total), South Africa (13.6%), United Arab Emirates (11.2%), Kenya (5.6%), Switzerland (5.3%), mainland China (4.3%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (4.1%), Uganda (3.9%), Rwanda (3.8%), Burundi (3.1%), Singapore (2.7%) and Belgium (2.6%).
From a continental perspective, 45.8% of Tanzania’s exports by value was delivered to Asian countries while 38.7% was sold to importers in fellow African. Tanzania shipped another 14.1% worth of goods to buyers in Europe.
Smaller percentages went to customers in North America (1.2%), Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.08%), then Latin America (0.02%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Tanzania’s population of 61.5 million people, its total $6.82 billion worth of goods exported in 2022 translates to around $110 for each resident in the southeast African nation. That per-capita average is about the same as one year earlier.
Tanzania’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Tanzanian global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Tanzania.
- Gems, precious metals: US$3 billion (44% of total exports)
- Cereals: $287.2 million (4.2%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $262.2 million (3.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $258.9 million (3.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $256.4 million (3.8%)
- Oil seeds: $230.5 million (3.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $230.4 million (3.4%)
- Vegetables: $213.2 million (3.1%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $213.1 million (3.1%)
- Fish: $168.3 million (2.5%)
Tanzania’s top 10 export categories accounted for 75.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 273.8% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was ores, slag and ash via a 73.7% advance. This product category was propelled by higher international sales of copper ores and concentrates.
Tanzania’s shipments of fruits and nuts posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 44.3%.
The leading decliner among Tanzania’s top 10 export categories was vegetables, pulled down by a -31.4% year-over-year drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Tanzania’s most valuable export products are unwrought gold (41.5% of Tanzania’s total exports) trailed by cashew or Brazil nuts and coconuts (3.4%), copper ores and concentrates (2.8%), dried shelled vegetables (2.7%), rice (2.7%), coffee (also 2.7%), unmanufactured tobacco and tobacco waste (2.6%), coal including solid fuels made from coal (2.3%), oil seeds (2.2%), and corn (1.3%).
Products Creating Tanzania’s Largest Trade Surpluses
The following types of Tanzanian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Gems, precious metals: US$3 billion (Up by 1.1% since 2021)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $257.9 million (Down by -0.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $251.2 million (Up by 44.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $226.8 million (Up by 73.8%)
- Oil seeds: $210.5 million (Down by -14.3%)
- Vegetables: $209.6 million (Down by -31.2%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $204.2 million (Up by 37.2%)
- Fish: $167.7 million (Up by 2.3%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $87.9 million (Up by 93.3%)
- Wood: $73.9 million (Up by 0.7%)
Tanzania has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold and, to a lesser extent, precious stones and diamonds. In turn, these cashflows indicate Tanzania’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals product category.
Products Causing Tanzania’s Worst Trade Deficits
Tanzania incurred an overall -US$8.8 billion trade deficit for 2022, expanding by 97% from -$4.5 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
Below are exports from Tanzania that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Tanzania’s goods trail Tanzanian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US-$3.6 billion (Up by 65.2% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.6 billion (Up by 42%)
- Vehicles: -$1.4 billion (Up by 55.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$844.4 million (Up by 39.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$829 million (Up by 26.9%)
- Iron, steel: -$774.1 million (Up by 19.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$737.8 million (Up by 61.9%)
- Fertilizers: -$443.7 million (Up by 212.3%)
- Other chemical goods: -$390.9 million (Up by 35.4%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$367.3 million (Up by 40.1%)
Tanzania has highly negative net exports particularly for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases, and petroleum coke plus other petroleum oil residues.
Tanzanian Export Companies
Not one Tanzanian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies from Tanzania. Selected examples are shown below.
- Dangote Industries Tanzania (cement)
- Nyati Cement (cement)
- Quality Group Limited (conglomerate)
- Swala Gas and Oil (oil, gas)
- Tanga Cement (cement)
- Tanzania Breweries Limited (beverages)
- Tanzania Cigarette Company (cigarettes)
- Tanzanian/Italian Petroleum Refining Co. Ltd (oil, gas)
- Twiga Cement (cement)
In macroeconomic terms, Tanzania’s total exported goods represent 3.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($208.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 3.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 3.4% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Tanzania’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Tanzania’s unemployment rate averaged 8.9% for 2022, down from an average 9% for 2021 per metrics from Trading Economics.
Tanzania’s capital city is Dar es Salaam which literally means “residence of peace”.
See also Uganda’s Top 10 Exports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports, Top Red Meat Exporters Ranked by Dollar Value and Top African Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: Tanzania. Accessed on August 28, 2023
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Tanzania. Accessed on August 28, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 28, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 28, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 28, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 28, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Tanzania. Accessed on August 28, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 28, 2023
Wikipedia, Tanzania. Accessed on August 28, 2023