Tanzania and China enjoy a strong and unique relationship dating back from the days of the founding fathers of these nations, the late Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere and Abeid A. Karume in Tanzania and Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and later Supreme Leader Deng Xioping on the part of China.
Over the whole of this period, the cordial and friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries have been continuously growing in strength and scope, thanks to the firm commitments of one leadership generation after another on both sides to maintain and take them to higher levels.
The bilateral relationship between these two countries has developed beyond the traditional government to government levels to people to people cooperation, and from political sphere to trade, business and investments. China is Tanzania’s largest trading partner, with 19.3 per cent of Tanzania’s imports in 2017/2018 originating from China.
China is also Tanzania’s largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with investment stock of over 700 projects valued at 7.1 billion US dollars and creating over eighty-seven thousand (87,000) jobs, according to former Foreign Minister Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi in his article published in this newspaper last year to mark the 55th anniversary of the signing of China-Tanzania Friendship Treaty, titled “Tanzania-China Relationship Since the Dawn of the Friendship Treaty.”
“Tanzania and China are good all-weather friends,” said former Chinese Vice- President, Li Yuanchao, during a reception in Beijing in 2014 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
As China’s Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates 100th Anniversary of its founding this year, the ruling CCM’s Secretary of Political Affairs and International Relations, Colonel (retired) Ngemela Lubinga CCM was inspired by CPC’s great leadership which have provided the basis for growth and development in China.
He said since it was founded in 1921, CPC has been central to the development of China, which is the world’s second-largest economy and the first developing country to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on poverty eradication. China has also left indelible footprints through technological advancements in such areas as military power, artificial intelligence, medical research, e-commerce and infrastructure development, he said.
“We see China’s rise and CPC great success as an opportunity and inspiration for our own socioeconomic transformation,” he said in an interview noting that China development and CPC leadership provide lessons for Tanzania and the ruling CCM. He said Tanzania had benefitted from its strong relationship with the global economic powerhouse.
China has assisted Tanzania with a variety of economic aid programmes and the most notable early aid project was the TAZARA railway built from 1970 to 1975 with Chinese funding, labour and technical assistance, he said.
Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority, popularly known as TAZARA, is a bi-national railway linking the Southern Africa Regional transport network to Eastern Africa’s seaport of Dar es Salaam, offering both freight and passenger transportation services between and within Tanzania and Zambia.
The 1,860 km railway links the Southern Africa Regional transport network to Eastern Africa’s seaport of Dar es Salaam, offering both freight and passenger transportation services between and within Tanzania and Zambia. Col (ret) Lubinga said apart from TAZARA, China’s support to Tanzania since the signing of the China-Tanzania Friendship Treaty in 1965 was immeasurable.
China has supported Tanzania in implementing various projects in all fields including health, defense and security, agriculture, infrastructure, education and industrial sectors, he said. These projects have enormously contributed to the development and well-being of Tanzanians, clearly attesting to the mutual respect and friendship that happily exists between our two countries.
“For 100 years CPC has done and still doing a lot to support developing countries in Africa and in Tanzania, ” he said. The CCM leader said among many industries built in the country by the support of China were Urafiki Textile Mills and Ubungo Farm Implements (UFI) which had built capacity for Tanzania to produce its own farm inputs in efforts to support development of agriculture, the backbone of the economy.
China had also supported Ihemi Youth College in Iringa Region by restructuring and modernizing it to be a hub of training of CCM cadres and other potential leaders to acquire political skills and knowledge for national development. Twice a year, China supported 40 members of NEC to go to their country to learn how to develop political parties and learn proper methods to improve the political situation and country economy at large.