The new Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first official trip abroad will bring him to Tanzania March 24-26.
The Chinese Foreign Minister told a news conference at China’s Annual Parliament Meeting that “China and Africa are good brothers, good friends and good partners. The visit by China’s new national chairman to Africa fully shows the importance we attach to Sino-African ties.”
The fact that Africa and Tanzania specifically is on priority for an official trip is confirmation of the country’s growing importance.
Given its significance the Chinese President’s visit to Tanzania has taken the debate on Afro-Sino relations further.
Dr Lenny Kasonga of University of Dar es Salaam explained the choice to visit Tanzania in terms of the historical relationship between Tanzania and China, as well as China’s economic interest in Tanzania.
Dr Prosper Ngowi of Mzumbe University also pointed to the political and economic reasons for an official China visit to Tanzania. “Chinese companies are very involved in infrastructure development in Tanzania” he said, and adding that Tanzania’s natural resources are certainly part of the reasons for the visit.
Chinese Investment in Tanzania is significant. In Dar es salaam the Tanzania-China investments centre is a daily reminder of the growing China investments in Tanzania, with business in the construction industry to various other sectors.
Last year China’s Sichuan Hongda Co. Ltd. signed a USD3 billion deal to mine coal and iron ore in Tanzania.
China has been increasing its footprint in Africa as it scrambles for oil and raw material and Tanzania is proving to be a golden market with its gold, minerals and recent discovery of natural gas.