China out to cement status as biggest foreign investor in Tanzania

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What you need to know:

  • China is seeking to cement its position as the leading source of investment in Tanzania, with at least 60 Chinese firms lined up for a fact-finding mission to the country

Dar es Salaam. China is seeking to cement its position as the leading source of investment in Tanzania, with at least 60 Chinese firms lined up for a fact-finding mission to the country.

By October 2022, the Asian economic giant accounted for 1,098 investment projects worth $9.6 billion in Tanzania. Some 131,718 jobs have been created through the projects.

China is followed by the UK and US in that order.

The expected arrival of representatives of 60 Chinese companies on March 27 for the China-Tanzania Investment Forum is another indicator that the country is likely to maintain its investment position in Tanzania.

Chairman of Group Six International, Sino-Tan Industrial Park, Janson Huang said in a press conference on Wednesday that the group’s intention was to keep mobilising Chinese investors to come to Tanzania.

“This is the reason why we have invited these 60 companies,” he said.

He also mentioned strong diplomatic relations between Tanzania and China, with the countries celebrating 60 years of bilateral ties this year.

“We have had a good relationship and witnessed a conducive investment environment in this country that is good for our companies. During the forum, agreements for promoting commercial cooperation will be signed,” he stated.

The Sino-Tan Industrial Park in Kibaha, Coast Region, a Chinese investment, is expected to create approximately 600,000 direct and indirect jobs for Tanzanians upon its completion in 2027.

Experts say the industrial park, comprising large and small industries, will enhance Tanzania’s value in trade competition within East Africa and globally.

Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) official Diana Mwamanga said the opportunity will further boost investment and trade for Tanzanians, calling for local companies to grab the opportunity that could as well offer markets for local products in China.

“TIC is well aware of the benefits of such business and investment forums for local companies, as through the forums some companies have already invested here and provided an opening for Tanzanian products,” she said.

Ms Mwamanga, who oversees the China desk at TIC, added, “In East Africa, Tanzania is attracting investors due to its investment environment, peace, stability, and infrastructure development.”

Some of these companies were able to learn about the opportunities available in the country following the recent visit of President Samia Suluhu Hassan to China.

Ms Mwamanga said the 60 companies were well-informed about Tanzania and would fact-check before making decisions to invest in sectors such as health, textiles, mining, agriculture, and energy.

She also noted that at least 120 Tanzanian companies will participate in the forum and that “we are sure that through this forum more Chinese projects will be registered as well as more partnerships for trade formed.”

A representative from the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (TCCIA), Mr Kelvin Ogodo, said the companies were coming to explore investment opportunities as well as Tanzanian products they can import to China.

“Likewise, they will look into products we have as a country, particularly minerals and agricultural produce needed in their country. This is a huge opportunity that we should all look after.”

Representing the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) at the presser, Mr Ogodo urged Tanzanian business communities to actively participate to seize this economic opportunity.

In April 2021, President Hassan met with the leaders of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Tanzania to discuss various issues pertaining to trade and investment.

President Hassan visited China in November 2022, where she held talks with her Chinese counterpart, Mr Xi Jinping, on a number of issues to foster relations between their two countries.

She became the first African leader to visit China after the Congress of the Chinese Communist Party re-elected Mr Xi as its General-Secretary for another five-year term.

While there, the two leaders witnessed the signing of 15 agreements to improve bilateral trade relations, transport, and grow the market for agricultural products.