Tanzania’s economy relies heavily on agriculture; the sector employs around 80% of the working population and cash crops are one of the country's main export earners, which accounts for nearly half of the country’s GDP. Mineral production (gold, diamonds and tanzanite) has grown significantly in the last decade, and mining represents Tanzania's biggest source of economic growth, provides over 3% of the GDP and accounts for half of Tanzania's exports.
Coal, phosphates, gypsum, tin and other ores are also extracted. Reserves of uranium, nickel, silver and natural gas have been located and the mining sector is expected to be developed further to capitalise on these resources. The industrial sector is one of the smallest in Africa, concentrated in agricultural processing and light consumer goods such as sugar processing, brewing and textiles. Tourism is thought to be worth around US$950 million annually to the Tanzanian economy and ranks as the second foreign exchange earner after agriculture.
On the whole, the economy has improved steadily since the mid-1990s. In 2006, Tanzania signed economic agreements with China for development assistance in the communications, transport and health sectors and saw the African Development Bank write off US$640 million of Tanzania's foreign debt. More recently, with continued help from donor assistance and a boost from an increase in gold exports, Tanzania's economy has picked up the pace. GDP was a healthy 6.5% in 2010, with inflation estimated to be around 7.2%.
Many of the large hotels in Dar es Salaam and Arusha can accommodate conferences. The Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) (www.aicc.co.tz) is the largest conference facility in the country and has several rooms that can cater for 20-1,000 people, and this has been the site of some historic events of East Africa's modern history including the Rwandan War Tribunals and Burundi peace negotiations.