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There are large exploitable deposits of coal in the southwest, phosphate deposits in Arusha, and nickel in the Kagera region.
Natural gas has been discovered at Songo Songo Island.
In the long term, however, the centrally planned economy contributed to a marked economic decline.
Beginning in 1979 and continuing into the 1980s, the relatively high international oil price, the country’s declining terms of trade, and the sluggishness of the domestic economy brought about rapid inflation and the emergence of an unofficial market (consisting of the smuggling of goods abroad in order to avoid taxes and price controls).
Several lakes, especially Lake Victoria, are important sources of fish.
Nevertheless, increased yields, attributed to the use of chemical fertilizers, have been achieved in corn production in the southern and southwestern regions.
Of these, gold—which provided more than two-thirds of the country’s export earnings in the early 2000s—is by far the most lucrative.
Other exports include agricultural products and materials, gemstones, and textiles.
Several international companies have been involved in onshore and offshore petroleum exploration.
Imported petroleum, hydroelectric power, and coal are the main sources of commercial energy.