Dar es Salaam – City Growth Out of Control?


Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania and the biggest economic centre of the country. The city’s population has doubled from two million in 1990 to four million today. According to population experts the city will hit the eight million mark within 20 years it Tanzania’s growth rate of 3% per year continues.

Many poor people pour into Dar es Salaam from the countryside every day, most of them in search of a new life. They set up huts made of wood or sleep on the streets. According to the United Nations about 70% of Dar es Salaam’s people live in slums. There is no medical care and the slums lack transportation services. On the other side there are the superrich, wealthy businessmen who can afford to live in luxurious houses along the coast or in the city’s noble districts.


Now the government is worried that the growth of the city will spin out of control. It has a plan to expand Dar es Salaam the way Singapore has done in the past decades. There the government created satellite towns, ring roads and services in the suburbs. However, while Singapore is rich state in Asia, Tanzania represents one of the poorest in the world.


One of the major tasks would be to clear the slums and rehouse the population into newly built neighborhoods.  But Tanzanian authorities are slow with paperwork and land ownership is not always clear. In addition, schools, hospitals and other services would not be able to cope with a population boom . With 70% of the population under 30 the city would desperately need many new jobs for incoming settlers. Traffic problems already exist because residents are buying cars at a high rate. Environmental dangers loom over the city as well. When tropical rains hit Dar es Salaam many places are flooded.

The authorities want to turn Dar es Salaam into a tourist city because, with its unique game reserves, Tanzania attracts safari travelers from all over the world.



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  • according to = as said by
  • authority = government organization that has power to make decisions
  • boom = very strong growth
  • cope = deal with
  • decade = a period of ten years
  • desperately = very much
  • district = area of a city
  • double = to be twice as large as
  • environment = about the world around us
  • expand = grow
  • flood = to cover with water
  • game reserve = large area of land where wild animals  can live safely
  • government = the people who rule the country
  • growth rate = the speed at which something grows
  • hit = reach
  • however = but
  • in addition = also
  • incoming settler = a person who comes to live in the city from the countryside
  • lack = do not have enough of
  • loom = hang
  • luxurious = expensive
  • mark = spot, line
  • medical care = doctors, hospitals etc..
  • ownership = rights
  • paperwork =documents you need to be able to do something
  • pour = here: to come very fast
  • rehouse = to move to another place
  • represent = is
  • resident = a person who lives in the city
  • satellite town = new town that is created in the suburbs of a city
  • slum = area of a city where houses are in poor condition and where  very poor people live
  • spin = here: to do something quickly
  • task = job
  • transportation services = buses, taxis, trams, trains etc..
  • unique = unusually good, special
  • wealthy = rich