Tanzania, China Trade Growth Reaches New Peak

Tanzania, China Trade Growth Reaches New Peak

From Mail & Guardian

The Chinese presence in the Tanzanian economy is growing rapidly as the eastern giant intensifies its quest for natural resources and a gateway to other African states.

During a state visit to Tanzania in March this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Jakaya Kikwete signed at least 19 agreements reportedly worth more than $6-billion.

According to the website Open Data for International Development (AidData), China has become Tanzania’s largest single trading partner — last year it accounted for 15% of Tanzania’s trade, valued at $2.47-billion — and its second-largest source of investment.

AidData reports that, between 2001 and 2011, mineral-rich Tanzania received $4.6-billion in Chinese funding, which has the added attraction that it does not come with the conditions about human rights and transparency demanded by some Western funders.

But many Tanzanians are concerned that their country will not be the main beneficiary of the big government-to-government deals and worry about the secrecy surrounding them.

Details are hard to uncover as the infrastructure contracts are not awarded by competitive tender and government ministries are extremely reluctant to provide information.

Parliament kept in the dark

Tanzanian MP John Mnyika complained that not even Parliament is informed.

He wrote twice to the infrastructure ministry for information, without result.

A government foreign service officer, Adam Issara, refused to answer questions.

“I don’t know the details of the contracts; they’re between the two countries. And, anyway, why do you want to know?” Issara demanded.

Read more at mg.co.za