Definition of Youth

The National Policy of Youth Development (2007) in Tanzania defines youth as 15-35 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 14
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • 14
  • XX

  • Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
From 10-12 years, the state must prove criminal capacity. A child below 10 cannot be held legally responsible for their actions. Source:  Criminal Code of Tanzania

Majority Age


Source: Age of Majority Act (1970)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 76.76% Male (15-24) %
  • 75.83% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 29.86%Male %
  • 25.76% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 12.40% Male (13-15) %
  • 8.80% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Tanzania overhauled its 1996 national youth policy in 2007. A detailed critique of the policy exists.

The National Policy on Youth Development (2007) intends to create an enabling environment that builds the capacity of young people and promotes employment opportunities and access to social security.   The policy focuses on a number of areas including employment, healthcare, education, the role of local agencies, HIV/AIDS, disability, equality, financial services, juvenile justice, the informal sector, and ICTs.   A 2009 critique focuses on the hurried development of the policy, with the result that it is “not thoroughly informed by what the youth on the ground really demands”.   As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Tanzania is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015. Tanzania has signed and ratified the African Youth Charter (2006).

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
There are currently two ministries responsible for youth policy and affairs: the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Youth Development, and the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports. Within the latter sits the Youth Development Division. According to the National Policy on Youth Development, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Youth Development is responsible for youth policy. Little information about either ministry is available online.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Policy on Youth Development (2007) commits the government to support the creation of the National Council of Youth. In 2012 the government pledged to table a bill to create an NYC, but according to the UNESCO Regional Report on Youth Policies and Violence Prevention in the Great Lakes Region (2012):  
So far efforts to create the council have not been successful because of the apparent fears and mistrust between stakeholders and the government. This [...] has also delayed the establishment of youth development committees at the District level.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
TZS 4.1 billion
USD 2.5 million
The State Budget (Ministries) 2013-2014 allocated TZS 13 billion (USD 8.0 million) to the Ministry for Labour, Employment and Youth Development, but there is no specific allocation to youth programmes or departments. The Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports is allocated TZS 20.7 billion (USD 12.7 million), TZS 4.1 billion (USD 2.5 million) of which is allocated to the Youth Development Division. According to the World Bank, Tanzania spent 21.16% of its government expenditure and 6.18% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

A 2011 State of Youth in Tanzania report by Restless Development identified that:  
  • There are few initiatives to monitor progress toward measuring achievement of policy aims affecting young people, and hence there is limited data available.
  • Young people have a limited understanding of participation. Qualitative studies illustrate clearly how elders marginalize youth in decision making. A recent study by TAMASHA found that young people understand “participation to mean the act of being present” and had nothing to do with whether or not they had “taken any part in influencing or making decisions”.
  • Young people have limited understanding of the laws and policies affecting them and therefore what the provisions are for them which holds them back from taking part in monitoring.
  • Young people are not aware of the structures for and the ways of becoming involved in decision making and therefore are simply not getting involved because they don’t know how.
The 2011 report Does The ‘New’ National Youth Development Policy Reflect Youth Demands? provides critical reflection on the 2007 National Policy on Youth Development:  
[T]he quest to quickly come up with a new National Youth Development Policy has resulted into a policy that is not thoroughly informed by what the youth on the ground really demands. Even where it attempts to outline these demands the new policy does not adequately articulate the priority demands. Arguably, Tanzania hurriedly transformed itself into what has been referred to as a veritable policy factory as a response to global pressures to go with the times – the days and times of globalization. This fear of being left behind is what has informed yet another patchy process of revising the policy without carrying out a thorough country situation analysis.
  The report also comments on the policy aim to create a National Youth Council:  
The complaints about the lack of inclusive participation during the National Youth Development Policy review has been extended to the implementation of one of the policy statements, that of forming a National Youth Council. For instance, the Secretary General of TYVA, Michael J. Dalali (2007), draws attention to the struggles for representations at the meeting on the formation of the council that was called by the government on 23-25 July 2007. In a similar vein, the Women and Youth wing of an opposition party that has been monitoring closely the implementation of the National Youth Development Policy issued the following statement: […] [We regret to note that the government has started a shady process to form this council bureaucratically, secretively and on the basis of favouritims by making basic decisions about the process of forming it without the consent of the youth themselves] (CHADEMA: 1 June 2008)