Exclusive: Chinese firms supported to take part in major infrastructure projects in Tanzania: Chinese envoy
Nations to advance nine programs including infrastructure to yield more fruitful results: Chinese envoy
Published: Nov 08, 2022 07:47 PM
The construction scene of Chinese firm participating in Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania Photo: VCG

The construction scene of Chinese firm participating in Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania Photo: VCG

Chinese President Xi Jinping met Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on November 3 in Beijing where the two leaders agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. Hassan is the first African head of state received by China after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the visit fully demonstrated that closeness of China-Tanzania relations and the important status of China-Africa ties in China's overall diplomacy.

As the two countries agreed to upgrade the bilateral relations, the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Chen Mingjian told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Monday that the two countries will seize this opportunity and advance nine programs under the banner of Africa-China cooperation, helping bilateral cooperation yield more fruitful results. China will also support Chinese companies to participate in the construction of major infrastructure projects such as the central standard railway, the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project and the Magufuli Bridge in Tanzania, delivering high standard results.

'Strengthened cooperation'

During the meeting between Xi and Hassan, the two leaders agreed to maintain high-level communication, and strengthen cooperation on various levels between legislative branches and political parties. The two also agreed to expand trade scale, push forward infrastructure project cooperation and join hands in other fields such as green development as well as the digital economy.

The current trade volume between China and Tanzania stands at $6.74 billion, Tanzanian news outlet Daily News reported, and expanding trade cooperation will also help to minimize the gap trade imbalance between the two countries, according to media reports, citing experts. Some experts also believed that it's good that China has widened the market of goods originating from Tanzania as well approving importation of goods such as avocados, and it was positive to see farmers and the Tanzanian government to put in place strategies that will increase production and quality.

The Chinese ambassador told the Global Times that China will actively elevate the bilateral trade. As the Chinese side agreed to provide duty-free treatment of 98 percent tariff lines goods originating from Tanzania exported to China, China will expand imports of products such as soybeans, aquatic products and avocados from Tanzania.

Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Chen Mingjian Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy to Tanzania

Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Chen Mingjian Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy to Tanzania

Local media in Tanzania like the Citizen also noted that Hassan's trip to China presents a "marvelous opportunity to observe how serious others are about the business of development," as China has built the most comprehensive high-speed railway network in the world.

China will support Tanzania to increase its connectivity in the future and actively discuss a plan to activate the TAZARA Railway, supporting Chinese companies to take part in major infrastructure construction such as the central standard rail railway, the Nyerere Hydropower Station and the Magufuli Bridge.

Tanzania's new Wami Bridge, built by a Chinese company, opened to traffic recently. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a press conference on Tuesday that the project had created over 500 local jobs, becoming a major strategic project boosting regional connectivity in Tanzania. 

Infrastructure development falling behind has been a bottleneck for African countries, and since the establishment of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Chinese companies have by far built over 10,000 kilometers of railway, nearly 100,000 kilometers of road, nearly 1,000 bridges, 100 ports and dozens of hospitals and schools in Africa, Zhao said.

Meanwhile, China will enhance the industrial cooperation with Tanzania. "China will coordinate with Tanzania in industrial cooperation in a precise way, support institutions and enterprises of the two sides in making use of such platforms as the CIIE and investment fair to streamline investment and business discussions," Chen said.

Graphic: Chen He/GT

Graphic: Chen He/GT

Concrete support

Also, Chinese companies are encouraged to take part in the construction and operation of projects such as industrial parks, expanding cooperation in steel, cement and glass to fill the gap in the Tanzania market, the Chinese diplomat said.

According to a joint statement on establishing a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Tanzania issued on November 3, the two countries agreed to promote industrial complementarity and production capacity cooperation, with a focus on expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as energy and mineral development, processing and manufacturing, green development and digital economy, and support Tanzania in moving faster toward industrialization and modernization.

China and Tanzania will expand cooperation in new areas, exploring potential, Chen said. "Under the framework of the cooperation agreement on the digital economy, blue economy and green investment, we will steadily carry out cooperation on new digital infrastructure, such as communication networks, climate change, and Juncao farming."

Juncao, which literally means "mushroom" and "grass," can be used, as its name suggests, to grow edible mushrooms, as livestock feed or as a green barrier to combat desertification.

Most recently, the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania held an online training course on Juncao technology between October 11 and 24. Commercial Counselor Chu Kun said at the closing ceremony of the course that China is willing to continue providing assistance to help Juncao technology benefit Tanzanians, according to the embassy's official account on Twitter.

Besides, the two countries will promote cooperation in healthcare, supporting hospitals and medical capacity building, and build a China-Tanzania health community with shared future, Chen said.

"Political mutual trust between China and Tanzania will be more solid, mutually beneficial cooperation will be more deepened, exchanges and mutual learning will be more extensive, and solidarity and mutual assistance will be more determined," the ambassador said.

The CPC and the Tanzanian Revolutionary Party (CCM) have always been close brothers and comrades who stand together despite of difficulties and challenges. They both shoulder the historical mission of strengthening the parties and rejuvenating the country, Chen said, noting that the CPC is ready to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the CCM and support Tanzania in its exploration and realization of modernization in accordance to its own situation.