TANZANIA is on course to become the regional economic powerhouse with its vast natural gas resources and major energy and infrastructure projects currently being undertaken, the Chinese Ambassador, Lu Youqing, has said.
He said in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday that Tanzania would have the potential of becoming the regional centre for trade, manufacturing, logistics and IT upon completion of the major gas pipeline project this year and other mega electricity projects as well as the proposed construction of the Bagamoyo port.
“China has strong confidence that Tanzania will develop to become the driving force in the East African region,” he said at an event to mark Chinese New Year organised in Dar es Salaam by Standard Chartered Bank.
Tanzania is currently undertaking construction of a major 538km gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam which is scheduled to be completed this year.
The 538km long pipeline is estimated to cost about US$1.2 billion which is funded through a concessional loan from the Export- Import Bank of China. Construction of a US$10 billion Bagamoyo Port project under financial support of Chinese government is also expected to take off this year.
The new port project will also include construction of a railway network and special economic zone in Bagamoyo town. The Chinese envoy said Tanzania had the potential to become the regional centre of tourism due to rich tourists attractions including three out of seven wonders of the world.
He said Tanzania will receive more tourists from China as the Asian economic powerhouse is the biggest tourist source country in the world.
He said China would work with Tanzania to improve tourist infrastructure such as hotels and transport service to make it a top tourist destination.
Mr Youqing said trade relations between Tanzania and China had continued to flourish with trade volume reaching US $3.7 billion annually.
Tanzania is the biggest trade partner of Tanzania and is the second largest foreign investor. We are in every sector that is urgent…that needs to be developed… infrastructure, energy… everywhere you see Chinese investments.
The envoy attributed the recent Chinese business and investments boom in Tanzania to a deliberate move to encourage Chinese businesses to establish big investments in Tanzania.
Tanzania and China have strong bilateral and trade relations dating in the 1960s when China agreed to construct the Tanzania and Zambia Railway line from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia.
Other major highlights of China and Tanzania strong relations is the imposing 60,000 ultra-modern National Stadium and the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Conference Centre all constructed in Dar es Salaam under financial support of China.