Dar secures Chinese cassava market
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Cement giants to produce 7m tonnes, create 4,000 jobs for Tanzanians

TANZANIA is among the potential beneficiaries of additional Chinese financing amounting to 14.5 billion US dollars (over 30tri/-) to execute infrastructure projects through the Belt and Road initiative.

And this week, Tanzania and the world’s second economy are scheduled to ink two agreements to open Chinese markets for cassava from Tanzania and set up an industrial park and cement factory in Tanga. Speaking at the opening of the Belt and Road Forum yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged the additional 14.5 billion dollars into the existing Silk Road Fund.

Launched in 2013 by the Chinese to create an open economic system based on balanced trade, the Belt and Road initiative tracks down the ancient silkroad route used by the Chinese traders.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Aziz Mlima, said the implementation of the Bagamoyo Port and its associated Special Economic Zone are among issues to feature at the global forum.

Launched in 2013 by the Chinese to create an open economic system based on balanced trade, the Belt and Road initiative tracks down the ancient silkroad route used by the Chinese traders.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Aziz Mlima, said the implementation of the Bagamoyo Port and its associated Special Economic Zone are among issues to feature at the global forum.

“Agreements for the projects were signed during President Jinping visit to Tanzania in 2012; the stage is now for their execution,” Dr Mlima told ‘Daily News’ in a telephone interview, naming other African countries that will benefit from the funding as South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Congo-Brazzaville.

The Minister for Works, Communication and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa, is representing President John Magufuli, at the meeting that has drawn leaders and officials from all over the world. And, speaking to this paper shortly after President Jinping opening speech, Tanzania Ambassador to China, Mr Mbelwa Kairuki, said cassava farmers in Tanzania have been assured of ready market in the Asian country.

“It is a good opportunity for our farmers; Nigeria for instance exports 3.2 million tons of cassava to China every year, earning up to 800 million US dollars,” Ambassador Kairuki stated.

The envoy explained further that there would be agreement on a joint venture by the two largest Chinese cement producers, China-SINOMA and Hegya to build the industrial park and cement factory in Tanga region.

“The plant is expected to produce seven million tons of cement and create 4,000 jobs,” he stated. Tanga Regional Commissioner Martin Shigela is also attending the meeting.

In his opening speech, President Jinping said the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank will set up special lending schemes worth 250 billion Yuan (about 36.2 billion US dollars) and 130 billion Yuan (18.8 billion dollars) to support cooperation on infrastructure and industries.

The Chinese leader as well pledged aid amounting to two billion Yuan (290 million US dollars) to developing countries along the Belt and Road and additional contribution of one billion US dollars to the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation.

He said China will sign business and trade co-operation agreements with over 30 countries and enter into consultation on free trade agreements with related countries.

Also, President Jinping sought to attract countries to join the ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative” as China seeks to connect nations along the new Silk Road routes through economic cooperation and infrastructure development.

He said during the past four years, there had been deepened policy connectivity, enhanced infrastructure and trade link in addition to expanded financial inclusion in line with the vision of the Belt and Road Initiative.

President Jinping hailed achievements made over the past four years, saying over 100 countries and international organisations have supported and got involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said China has signed cooperation agreements with over 40 countries and international organisations and carried out the framework cooperation on production capacity with over 30 countries.

At least 29 Heads of State and Government are attending the forum, the highest-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road since the Chinese President proposed the initiative in 2013.

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