Cultural differences in Tanzania

You will meet with different cultures when you start doing business abroad. You'll be more likely to succeed if you're aware of these differences.


Being familiar with local customs will help you deal successfully with foreign business partners. Mission staff can give you tips and advice. They know the local business culture and can work with language and cultural barriers.


Sometimes we even have difficulty understanding business partners from neighbouring countries. This is less likely to be a problem if we understand their background and culture.


How should you approach your business partner? Are relations hierarchical or egalitarian? Do you need to follow strict rules on etiquette, or is a relaxed approach the norm? Doing business is easier if you know the unspoken rules of conduct.

Do's and don'ts

See the list of countries on the Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( website for up-to-date information on business customs and etiquette (in Dutch).

'NL exporteert' app

You can download the 'NL exporteert' app for an interactive map of the world, with information on each country (in Dutch). This can help you find your way in the local market.

Cultural differences when doing business in this country or region

Doing business in Tanzania calls for a thorough preparation. Familiarize yourself beforehand with the economic, political and cultural context. Please don’t hesitate to contact the embassy in Dar es Salaam for advice.

It is helpful to have a local (Tanzanian) partner who knows how things are being done in Tanzania. Although most of the businessmen speak English, it is helpful to have a Swahili speaker present. Try to learn a few words of Swahili yourself; this shows and creates goodwill.

Doing business in Tanzania requires patience. Prepare yourself for this to avoid unpleasant surprises. Remind yourself that you are doing business in a country with different rules and regulations. Manage your expectations accordingly. 

If you have any specific questions about cultural differences in Tanzania, please contact the economic department of the embassy (  or  +255 222 194 000).