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China FDI to Tanzania soars to $4b

Updated: 2015-05-10 15:35
By Abduel Elinaza (China Daily Africa)

Ambassador praises scale of economic cooperation for boosting investment level

Chinese investment in Tanzania rose to more than $4 billion last year, almost doubling the amount in 2013, which a senior diplomat put down to decades of mutual economic cooperation.

The level of investment, up 60 percent to a historical high, comes as China attempts to help turn Tanzania into an industrial hub in the region.

 China FDI to Tanzania soars to $4b

Chinese and Tanzanians work together at a Chinese-built gas processing plant in Mtwara, Tanzania, on Jan 27. Provided to China Daily

Last year, about 500 Chinese companies invested in Tanzania, creating 150,000 jobs, according to Lu Youqing, the Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, who credited the unprecedented scale of Sino-Tanzania economic cooperation.

He said a further 300,000 people have also benefited from work related to China-Tanzania bilateral trade.

Lu was speaking during an event to recognize outstanding employees with Chinese companies in Tanzania. In all, 37 Tanzanians and 28 Chinese received awards.

In 2013, Tanzania Investment Center registered more than 522 Chinese projects with a combined value of more than $2.5 billion. The projects were expected to create 77,000 jobs.

In the first quarter of this year, China and Tanzania announced plans to establish 500 industries to turn the African country into a Chinese industry hub in the next five years.

Under the program, 100 industries will be established a year, boosting a manufacturing output that currently ranks as the top sector for foreign revenue earnings.

Abdulrahaman Shimbo, the Tanzanian ambassador to China, said the investment was good news for his country.

"While this is a point of maturity in the bilateral relations we share with China, the coming of these industries is a challenge (to Tanzania) in terms of our preparedness to welcome these investors," he said.

Plans for the Export Processing Zone Authority have already been put in place, but some areas are still not ready, he said.

A recent study of Tanzanians by the country's Research for Poverty Alleviation showed people believe China's economic and political influence on Tanzania is mostly positive.

People said they felt China has more influence on Tanzania than the United States, Britain, India and South Africa, or international organizations such as the World Bank. The study found that 35 percent of respondents preferred China as a model for development, with the US backed by 30 percent, South Africa by 10 percent, Britain by 6 percent and India by 4 percent.

China has also announced it will focus on three key sectors for investment: industrialization, aviation - mainly the cash-strapped Air Tanzania Co - and infrastructure, especially railways and ports. The sectors are seen as vital to boosting Tanzania's economy.

Investment is expected to also target manufacturing, agro-processing, construction and information and communication technology.

Although it trailed Britain as the largest source of investment to Tanzania in 2013, China has become the East African country's leading trade partner, with about $3.7 billion in business.

For China Daily

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