Tanzania mulls China example on infrastructure development

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that China’s “Belt and Road” initiative was an example Tanzania could follow to develop its infrastructure and pave the way for further economic advancement.

Tanzania is considering whether to adopt the Chinese model of infrastructure development.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that China’s “Belt and Road” initiative was an example Tanzania could follow to develop its infrastructure and pave the way for further economic advancement.

China’s “Belt and Road” is a massive trade and infrastructure project that aims to link China — physically and financially — to dozens of economies across Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania. It consists of two parts: The “Belt,” which recreates an old Silk Road land route, and the “Road,” which is not actually a road, but a route through various oceans.

Unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the “Belt and Road” initiative has so far attracted 71 countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Poland, Turkey, New Zealand and Russia.

Available data shows that China has so far invested at least $900 billion in projects along the belt and road, mainly in infrastructure, transport, and energy. These include a gas pipeline in Pakistan, a motorway in Hungary and a high-speed rail link in Thailand.

Speaking during an occasion to commemorate the deaths of Chinese experts during the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway line – commonly known as Tazara – between 1970 and 1975, Dr Mahiga said adoption of the initiative would spur Tanzania’s economic growth.

“Tanzania will participate in a forum on the China-Africa Cooperation Summit that is slated for September in China, where the initiative will be discussed exhaustively,” said Dr Mahiga.

He said Tanzania’s geographical location gave it an added advantage in the region insofar as the adoption and clear implementation of the “Belt and Road” initiative was concerned.

“Tanzania has a geographical advantage. The country is nearer to China than other East and Central African countries. This makes it easier for Tanzania to be turned into a gateway to other regional markets.”

By sharing a border with several landlocked countries, embracing the initiative would have a number of multiplier benefits, Dr Mahiga said.

The Tanzanian and Chinese governments are already working together in the construction of the Tanzania-China Logistics Centre in Kurasini, Dar es Salaam.

The centre is expected to be largest of its kind in East and Central Africa.

The hub will primarily distribute high quality Chinese products to the East and Central African markets.

Industries will also be established to add value to agriculture and mineral raw materials available in Tanzania.

The Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Wang Ke, pledged China’s continued support, particularly in infrastructure projects.

“Our long-term economic and political ties originated from infrastructure…the construction of Tazara railway. We also promise to support Tanzania in many other construction projects,” she said.

Ms Wang added that about 50,000 Chinese experts came to Tanzania for the construction of Tazara, and 69 died and were buried in the country.

She said this underscored the close economic and political relations between the two nations, adding that China would support Tanzania in its endeavour to become an industrial country.

Source: TheCitizenTZ

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