left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Sino-Tanzanian ties have a healthy future

Updated: 2015-03-20 09:16
By Abduel Elinaza (China Daily Africa)

Hundreds of businesses and billions of dollars will take partnership to a new level of cooperation

Sino-Tanzanian economic relations are heading in a new direction, with 500 Chinese businesses expected to set up offices in the country during the next five years.

Under the program, that would turn Tanzania into a Chinese industry hub, 100 industries will be established in Tanzania a year, boosting the country's manufacturing output, which at the moment ranks as the top foreign revenue earning sector.

 Sino-Tanzanian ties have a healthy future

Workers from China National Petroleum Corp inspect pipes at a natural gas treatment plant in Mtwara, Tanzania. Provided to China Daily

The former Lieutenant-General Abdulrahaman Shimbo, the Tanzania ambassador to China, says the investment, with 100 industries a year, was good news for the country.

"While this is a point of maturity in bilateral relations that we share with China, the coming of these industries is a challenge (to Tanzania) in terms of our preparedness to welcome these investors," he says.

The Export Processing Zone Authority has already been given directives to prepare, but there are some areas that are ready, while others are not.

Shimbo says that prior to his appointment as the envoy to China, he had visited the country on several occasions. Its pace of development over the past 10 years has been phenomenal, he says, and that Tanzania can learn from its example.

Ambassador Mbelwa Kairuki, director for Asia and Australasia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, says there was a misconception among many that Tanzania gains little from China.

Kairuki said that in 2014 the volume of trade amounted to $3.7 billion, while 6,000 people from Tanzania went to China to do business.

In the same year the country attracted private capital of over $2.5 billion and loans of $1.9 billion from China.

"Once the Bagamoyo port is complete, with the central line and Tazara line connecting it, this will surely be the industrial nerve center," he says.

A recent study by Tanzania's Research for Poverty Alleviation shows Tanzanians believe that China's economic and political influence on Tanzania is mostly positive.

Tanzanians say China has more influence on Tanzania than the US, UK, India and South Africa, or international organizations such as the World Bank.

The study shows that more Tanzanians prefer China as a model for Tanzania's development, at 35 percent, with the US at 30 percent, the UK at 6 percent, India at 4 percent and South Africa at 10 percent.

Lu Youqing, China's ambassador to Tanzania, says the founding fathers of the two countries played fundamental roles in cementing the cordial relations that exist and that this relationship needs to be nurtured.

Lu says the progress China has made in the past decades can be emulated in Africa, and Tanzania in particular, as long as it concentrates on technology, economy and the markets.

"Africa has the advantage of a population and market, so welcome investors and have policies that are conducive for them," he says.

Late last year, China picked three African countries - Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique - to act as hubs for investment programs on the continent.

The three countries will act as a showcase for China's investment activities for the rest of the Africa to learn from.

The idea is for Chinese investors to focus on a few African states rather than going at the continent wholesale.

Furthermore China is wary of pollution, brought on by rapidly developing industry, affecting Africa's environment and society.

The China initiative will further boost the industrial sector export share, with data from the Bank of Tanzania showing that in the last quarter of 2014, the sector's contribution to foreign exchange revenues ranked first, overtaking mining, tourism and agriculture.

The sector's exports during the fourth quarter of 2014 were up 25 percent compared to a drop of 19 percent in mining.

For China Daily

(China Daily Africa Weekly 03/20/2015 page21)

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.