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Tanzania - China Relations

The deep and long-standing Tanzanian-Chinese relationship continues to be characterized by significant trade, diplomatic exchanges and Chinese assistance and investment in Tanzania. Tanzania remains one of China's principal African trading partners and assistance recipients. Tanzania and China have enjoyed a very special relationship that dates back from the days of the generation of leadership of the founding fathers of these nations, namely the late Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, Abeid A. Karume and Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and later Supreme Leader Deng Xioping. The two countries established bilateral relations in 1964.

China which took over the offer to construct the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA) in the 1970s when developed countries turned the project down, setting a good living example of Chinese selflessness to Tanzania. In this project, China again lived up to the spirit of the adage “a friend in need is a friend indeed” with respect to Tanzania.

H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania described the relations between Tanzania and China as having “transcended the traditional government to government contacts and extended to people to people cooperation, to the extent that the people of Tanzania and China call each other ‘RAFIKI’ which means ‘friend’ in Kiswahili”. There couldn’t have been a better summary of the assessment of the unique and firm friendship that has existed over the times between the states and peoples of the United Republic of Tanzania and the People’s Republic of China.

The two countries have enjoyed a very special relationship that dates back from the days of the generation of leadership of the founding fathers of these nations, namely the late Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere and Abeid A. Karume on the part of Tanzania; Chairman Mao Zedong. ?Premier Zhou Enlai and later Supreme Leader Deng Xioping on the part of China.

Each year the Tanzania Peoples Defense Forces' (TPDF) officers and non-commissioned officers attend training courses in China at various military training centers. Between January and April 2006, TPDF sent approximately 35 officers to China for training. The TPDF also hosts about 12 Chinese instructors that teach at the junior staff college in Dar es Salaam. Mechanics and technicians tasked with maintaining the TPDF's Chinese-manufactured planes, trucks and other military equipment, rotate into Tanzania on a regular basis. China also supplies spare parts for this equipment. On March 5, 2007, the Chinese military donated 33 new compact SUV vehicles to the TPDF for use by senior officers.

Trade between Tanzania and China grew vigorously and healthily despite global economic slow down. It has given a strong boost to the economic growth of both sides. In 2014, bilateral trade volume was 4.3 billion US dollars. These statistics only serves to confirm the depth and width of China-Tanzania economic interaction. China is now the second largest foreign investor in Tanzania, with investments amounting to USD 2.5 billion. In the meantime, more than 500 Chinese companies are set up in Tanzania, generating 150,000 jobs for Tanzanians. China is Tanzania’s largest trade partner, and there are at least 350,000 Tanzanians engaging in activities related to Sino-Tanzania trade.

Similarly, China has in the last five years extended to Tanzania; grants, concessional and commercial loans to a tune of USD 1.942 million to finance projects from different sectors. Currently, the total value of funds that has been approved by EXIM Bank of China to finance different projects in Tanzania (with specific focus on infrastructure systems) stands at 11 billion RMB. Some of the development projects supported by the Chinese Government in collaboration with the Tanzanian government include; the National ICT Broad band Infrastructure Project, the Mtwara- Dar Gas Pipe line and the Zanzibar International Airport Terminal. Other projects on the pipeline include North East Power Transmission Lines and Mpigaduri Port.

The PRC government continues to provide incentives to Chinese enterprises to invest in Tanzania. Chinese companies are competitive bidders for GOT contracts to develop water, road, and bridge construction projects. Chinese companies are also invested in resource exploration and exploitation, including the timber and minerals sectors, as well as in agriculture and telecommunications. In mid-2006, PRC President Hu Jintao and Premier Jiabao promised to provide Tanzania with coal-fired generators to increase the production of electricity. The Chinese are also ready to assist with equipment and management personnel to extract coal from the mines at Kiwira in the Mbeya Region in southwestern Tanzania.

Ministerial visits in both directions continue in the wake of President Hu Jintao's 2009 visit. During Commerce Minister Chen Deming's January stop in Dar es Salaam, China proposed new measures to enhance bilateral trade, such as investment protection and avoidance of dual taxation. Chen and Tanzanian counterpart Mary Nagu (Minister of Trade, Industry and Manufacturing) celebrated the growing trade volume (over USD 1 billion in 2008, of which USD 933 million were Chinese exports) and total Chinese direct investments in excess of USD 200 million.

On 24-25 March 2013, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Tanzania. During the visit, he had talks with President Kikwete and met respectively with President of Zanzibar Ali Mohamed Shein and former Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa. The two countries agreed to build and grow a comprehensive partnership of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. They issued a Joint Communique Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, and signed 15 cooperation documents that cover trade, financial investment, infrastructure and culture. President Xi delivered a speech entitled "Trustworthy Friends and Sincere Partners Forever" at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Center, in which he elaborated on the principles of sincerity, real-results, affinity and good-faith which guide China's policies toward Africa. From 27 May to 2 June 2013, President Shein of Zanzibar came to China for the second China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services and Summit Forum, and visited Jiangsu and Fujian provinces. He met with President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao respectively. From 16 to 25 October, Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda attended the 14th West China International Fair and visited Beijing and Guangdong Province. He met with Premier Li Keqiang, Vice Premier Wang Yang and NPC Vice Chairperson Yan Junqi respectively.

The two countries maintained close party-to-party and military-tomilitary interactions. Vice Minister Ai Ping of International Department of the CPC Central Committee, Rear Admiral and Director Qian Lihua and Rear Admiral and Deputy Director Hu Changming of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, and the fifteenth escort fleet of the Chinese navy paid visits to Tanzania. Secretary General of Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania Abdulrahman Kinana and Minister of Defense and National Service Shamsi Vuai Nahodh visited China respectively.

In Febraury 2018 Tanzanian President John Magafuli opened a Chinese-built training centre for the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF). The Comprehensive Training Centre (CTC) was officially opened during a ceremony on 6 February, 2018 at Mapinga in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region. It was attended by Chinese ambassador Wang Ke. According to the Presidency, the Sh67.87 billion ($30 million) Centre was built with the assistance of China's People's Liberation Army and will be used to provide modern training to the TPDF. The Centre will provide training to counter current and future threats, the Presidency said. During the opening ceremony, Magafuli witnessed demonstrations that included an amphibious landing and counter-terrorism operations.

Tanzania has enjoyed close defence ties with China, and this has included naval exercises, construction projects and the supply of military equipment. For instance, in November 2014 the two nations concluded the month-long Exercise Beyond/Transcend naval training exercise, the first joint training exercise in the history of bilateral military relations between the two countries. This follows numerous naval visits by China.

China has delivered a variety of military hardware to Tanzania, including 24 Type 63A light amphibious tanks, 12 Type 07PA 120 mm self-propelled mortars, FB-6A mobile short-range air defence systems and A100 300 mm multiple rocket launchers.

This follows military hardware delivered earlier in the decade, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and combat aircraft. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Tanzania received from China two Y-8 transport aircraft in 2003, four ZFB-05 armoured personnel carriers in 2006/7, 30 Type-59G tanks in 2011/13, 14 F-7MG fighters in 2009/12, six K-8 jet trainers in 2011/12 and ten WZ-551 APCS in 2011/12. Two warships, TNS Mwitongo (P77) and TNS Msoga (P78), were supplied by Poly Technologies in 2015 to fight maritime crime such as illegal fishing and piracy.

The Chinese government also built the Tanzanian Military Academy (TMA) and the Shanghai Construction Group has been contracted by the Tanzanian Ministry of Defence and National Service to construct 12 000 housing units financed by a $550 million loan from the Exim Bank of China. Chinese civil projects in Tanzania include a rail network, gas pipeline, oil and gas exploration, and a port, among others.





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