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President Nyerere, Tanzania's first post-colonial leader, ran a mostly socialist economy during the 60s and 70s.  Banks and large industry were nationalised, and collectivisation in the agricultural sector occurred. Explicit allegiance was made to the East during the Cold War. However, he incorporated into his policies what he saw as pre-colonial pan-African values. For example he encouraged the Ujamaa, or extended family, to be the basic unit of social and economic life. The Ujamaa of Mwalimu (teacher) Nyerere became the defining feature of post-colonial Tanzania.

However, by 1979 Tanzania's economy was in rapid decline. Ujamaas accounted for 90 percent of Tanzania's rural population but only 5 percent of its agricultural output. With the end of the Cold War, and with the retirement of Nyerere in 1985, Tanzania was compelled to open up its economy and accept policy proscriptions from the IMF and the World Bank. Despite this, the collective, humanist principles behind Nyerere's policies have directly influenced contemporary Tanzanian culture. The country has never suffered the same political ethnic splintering as occurred in her neighbours Kenya and Uganda.  However, Tanzania remains a very poor country - per capita income being in the lowest 10 percent globally.

Tanzania is a vast country of great archaeological and environmental significance. It is believed to be one of the world’s oldest locations for human habitation, with human and humanoid fossils dating back over 200 million years. The Selous game reserve in the South East of the country is one of the largest of its kind in the world covering an area of over 21,000 square miles. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature. Tanzania also includes the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar – brought into the Federation in 1964. This Indian ocean island displays beautiful Arab-influenced architecture best exemplified in the capital and tourist nexus – Stone town.

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