- Published on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 04:48
- Written by ABDULWAKIL SAIBOKO
- Hits: 2113
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete on Monday paid a glowing tribute to China following a pledge to renew development assistance to Tanzania made by the visiting President Xi Jinping, saying that the country has scored big from the tour.
He said at the ceremony to inaugurate the state-of-the-art Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere International Convention Centre built with Chinese assistance in Dar es Salaam on Monday that President Xi’s historic tour to Tanzania has opened a new chapter and doors for increased investment and promotion of culture by the far-east nation in Tanzania.
President Kikwete hailed China ‘’for the true friendship it has shown to Tanzania’’, adding that the ultra-modern convention centre also handed over to him by President Xi was a vivid example.
The facility, which has been constructed by China at the cost of 15 million US dollars, is an addition to the list of few major conference centres in the country, others being the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) and the Dar es Salaam International Conference Centre (DICC).
“We are pleased that you chose Tanzania among the countries you decided to visit during your first official overseas trip’’, noting that the cordial relations between China and Tanzania have grown from strength to strength over the years.
He quoted the words of the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who once said that Tanzania would see for itself what China would bring for them and that as a country it would not be influenced by other people’s perceptions of China.
He said that Tanzania was to date still guided by Mwalimu Nyerere’s legacy and that the convention centre has been fittingly named after him as he is the founder of the China- Tanzania relations. President Kikwete thanked China for being a reliable development partner, further expressing hope that the convention centre will promote Tanzania as a conference tourism destination.
Meanwhile, China’s relations with Africa will be strengthened further with no interference to the continent’s sovereignty and dignity, President Xi said in the city yesterday. In his special address to Africa on Chinese foreign policy from Dar es Salaam during the inauguration of the convention centre, President Xi said China will intensify and not slacken off its efforts to cooperate with Africa.
‘’We are committed to supporting African countries and safeguard the interests of developing countries,” he quipped. President Xi further urged other countries to strengthen their ties with Africa and ensure that the African countries’ dignity and sovereignty are respected.
“China sees Africa as the continent of hope. We will contribute to the continent’s peace and security,” he stressed. He noted that the world is full of diversity. He added that the diversity nature of the world should be respected while strengthening relations.
President Xi, whose speech was often interrupted by applause, noted that China’s support to Africa will be result– based. He mentioned infrastructure and agriculture as key sectors in critical focus. “We think it is more important to teach people how to fish.....China will in the years 2013 to 2015 offer 18,000 scholarships to students from Africa,” he said.
He further emphasized that the Sino-Africa relations should be ‘people oriented’, adding that Tanzania has become an attractive destination to Chinese tourists. “Our problems should be handled in a win-win situation and we expect to register more successes than failures or challenges,” he stated.
President Xi further noted that China, with a population of 1.3 billion people, faced various challenges related to improving standards of living for its people but added that such challenges would not hold back the country’s support to Africa.
He promised to increase soft loans to Africa to 20bn US dollars between 2013 and 2015, saying that no matter how fast the Chinese economy grows, Africa will remain a priority. He remembered the founders of the China-Africa ties by citing two sayings from Africa and China respectively.
He said: “A river runs deep because of its source,” and “as we drink water from the well, we should not forget those who dug it”. “China’s ties with Africa have been in a win-win situation.
Trade with Africa reached 200bn US dollars last year,” he said. President Xi left on Monday evening for South Africa after a two-day visit. Tanzania became the first African country to be visited by the Chinese leader since he assumed the presidency of the world’s most populous nation and its second largest economy on March 14.