CHINESE investments to Tanzania have soared in recent years, reaching 2.5 billion US dollars (about 5.6tri/) as of May 2017, ten times the 2011’s 282 million dollars (over 620bn/-).
According to Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Philip Mpango, China is Tanzania’s second major source of investments after India. The minister assured that more investors are coming, especially in the fields of mineral exploration, agriculture, industry and trade.
Speaking at the sixth Economic and Social Research Foundation’s (ESRF) Annual National Conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Dr Mpango said estimates show that Chinese companies are executing over 70 per cent of construction projects in the country.
The conference brought together thinkers from Tanzania and China to deliberate on issues related to investments and trade between the two countries to inform on national aspiration of building a significant industrial economy and economic transformation for human development in Tanzania.
“China does not see Tanzania as a market but rather a potential place for investment and that is why trade cooperation between our two countries has kept on increasing in the recent years,’’ said the minister, adding that despite the turbulences in the global economy, overall, there has been a significant increase in trade between China and Tanzania over the past decade.
“In fact, China has now been Tanzania’s large trading partner with Tanzania becoming one of the leading destinations for Chinese investors,” he said.
Chief Representative of Chinese Economic and Commercial Representation in Tanzania Lin Zhiyong echoed the minister’s remarks, expressing optimism over increased Chinese investments in Tanzania in the coming years. He challenged the government to continue improving the investment environment.
Dr Mpango described China as Tanzania’s major trading and investment partner, saying: “Apart from import and export trade that exists between Tanzania and China, another manifestation of our trade relations includes the role of China in civil engineering industry in Tanzania.
It was the Chinese firm that constructed the imposing Kigamboni Bridge.’’ The minister was optimistic that Tanzania and China will continue deepening and broadening their economic ties in future, projecting that in the days ahead, the economic relations between the two nations, if well managed, will play a critical role in Tanzania’s development drive.
Tanzania is one of the largest recipients of Chinese aid in Africa, with China providing various kinds of support to Tanzania since 1964. Some of the major Chinese supported projects in Tanzania include construction of Tanzania–Zambia Railway, TAZARA, and construction of Tanzania–China Textile Friendship Company, URAFIKI.
Other projects are Mbara li Rice Farm and Kiwira Coal Mine in Mbeya region as well as establishment of Mahonda Sugarcane factory in Zanzibar. ESRF Executive Director, Dr Tausi Kida said the foundation organises the annual conferences as part of its mandate of capacity development for policy analysis and influencing policy development process in Tanzania.
Themed “High Level Thinkers Dialogue on Development Cooperation between Tanzania and China Focusing on Investments and Trade,” the annual conference aims at creating a platform for engaging policy makers, scholars and other development practitioners on matters that require informing the design and implementation of the national planning frameworks especially the second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP).