Tanzanian President Suluhu’s visit to China to open new bilateral ties chapter

The visit of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan to China will open a new chapter in the warm relations between the two countries, a Cameroonian academic said on Thursday.

Joseph Olivier Mendo’o, a research assistant in African Studies at Peking University who plays an active role in various Africa-China exchange initiatives, said that China-Tanzania ties have already passed many milestones, enabling the two countries to form a long-lasting friendship and further their cooperation in various fields

“China and Tanzania have witnessed a deepening political mutual trust, fruitful practical cooperation, and have maintained sound cooperation in international and regional affairs, and the two countries have seen trade and business exchanges grow over the past years. So China, for example, set up agricultural demonstration centers in the country, investing in many sectors such as cotton and leather,” said Mendo’o.

Mendo’o said that Tanzania has benefited from Chinese-backed mega projects to support the development of the country’s infrastructure and was now increasingly focused on developing small- and medium-sized enterprises.

“And I do also want to mention the last year, the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation Summit held in Senegal, during that summit, Tanzania showed a new focus on supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises, as President Hassan herself, she raised the fact that Tanzania has benefited from a mega project, but more attention should be paid to small- and medium-sized enterprises, especially those in the agricultural sector. So her visit around this time is therefore of great significance and will accelerate bilateral ties, opening new chapters for China-Tanzania relations, especially in the post-COVID period,” said Mendo’o.

Mendo’o said that Tanzanians had great expectations for the nation’s development plans which were aligned with broader initiatives such as African Continental Free Trade Area and China’s Belt and Road Initiative the will great expectation of practical cooperation with China, and will see a great potential and many opportunities when it aligns its local development vision 2025 to new initiatives proposed by China.

“We already know that Tanzania is on the verge of implementing its local Development Vision 2025 to reinvigorate the county and it leads the country to have great expectation on practical cooperation with China, under what we call the nine programs, including the first three-year plan of the China-Africa Vision 2035, announced at the FOCAC last year. And those nine programs are response to urgent need of African countries for development and aim at supporting African countries in nurturing homegrown development capabilities. And from the end of last year to this year, Tanzania has provided a couple of additional project lists showing importance it has attached to the nine programs,” he said.

“On top of that, for example, to be more specific, the largest China-invested project in Tanzania, which is called the Maweni Cement Plant, has been put into operation, and negotiations over major projects are expected to resume, such as the construction of Bagamoyo Port, and Bagamoyo special economic zone, which is a key infrastructure project that was set to include a special economic zone and attract hundreds of companies. And it is reported that when completed, the port is expected to be the largest in East Africa. So, there is a great potential and many opportunities. And there are many opportunities that are rising when the national development strategy of Tanzania and the African continent free trade area closely align with new initiatives announced at the FOCAC Summit last year, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Mendo’o.

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