….says Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga in relation to potential Chinese investments
TANZANIA stands a better chance of attracting more investments in infrastructure, pharmaceutical, transport and information technology from China, among others, Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Dr Augustine Mahiga said yesterday.
With the much-awaited Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Forum 2018 kicking off today, Dr Mahiga told the ‘Daily News’ in an exclusive interview that the East African country enjoys unique and exemplary relations with China, putting it at an advantaged position.
Prime Minister Mr Kassim Majaliwa is representing President John Magufuli in the summit which is the most significant diplomatic event hosted by China this year.In the meeting, concrete measures would be deliberated between China and African countries to further boost bilateral cooperation in various fields.
“Today, the premier is meeting with about 150 potential investors here in Beijing... as we are now pushing forward the industrialisation agenda’ we have also put in place all necessary measures to attract more investors,” he said.
On the sidelines of the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, Minister Mahiga told this newspaper that the summit was also expected to chart a new direction and focus for both Tanzania and China, taking into consideration the recent developments made between the two sides.
The ministerial conference was held a day before the summit to review the implementation of the resolutions reached at the last meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa and debate the action plan for 2019-2021.
He revealed that out of 60bn US dollars, Chinese President Xi Jinping put on the table for African countries in the last 2015 Johannesburg Summit, 10bn US dollars was specifically allocated for Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.
“This signals the level of trust the Chinese government attaches to Tanzania. In short, we have a lot to benefit from the FOCAC,” he said.
He said the two governments are also expected any time from now to put pen on documents to allow the beginning of the construction of a Transport and Communication University in the country’s capital, Dar es Salaam.
“We are only waiting to sign an agreement and as soon as we sign, the project starts,” Dr Mahiga asserted.
The seasoned diplomat said there are a number of projects which have been implemented between Tanzania and China since the establishment of FOCAC and now more focus was on aviation, ports and pharmaceuticals.
“As you know, the minister for health was recently here and a number of agreements on pharmaceuticals and health experts exchange have been signed,” he noted.
Dr Mahiga revealed that Tanzania was also set to fully utilise the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) opportunity to strengthen multi-dimensional, wide-ranging and in-depth cooperation for mutual benefits and common development.
The minister said Tanzania and China had made encouraging progress in developing bilateral ties and jointly eye promotion of cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Addressing the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC yesterday, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Wang Yi said the summit will align the summit’s theme with development strategies of individual African countries.
He noted that the meeting was also expected to combine China and Africa’s joint development of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
The BRI aims at addressing the expanding infrastructure needs across Asia, Africa and Europe to enhance regional integration and promote economic development while both AU and UN agendas seek to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental and global initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
This year’s summit comes three years after the Johannesburg’s, where Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward 10 China-Africa cooperation plans, including industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure and financial services.
To ensure successful implementation of the plans, President Xi also announced that China would offer 60bn US dollar of funding support.
Meanwhile, addressing Tanzanians who live in China, Prime Minister Majaliwa asked them to always think about Tanzania.
He said they had a great opportunity to support the country while in China through different contributions. He asked them to promote Tanzania tourist attractions and other investment opportunities.
“We are looking forward to receive investors in various areas such as mining, tourism and other potential sectors,” he said.
The Premier praised Tanzanian Ambassador to China, Mr Mbelwa Kairuki, saying he was doing a commendable job.
He asked him to continue organising business forums in China so as to attract closer Chinese investors.