THE visiting Vice-President of the People's Republic of China, Li Yuanchao, has pledged to encourage Chinese companies to invest in electricity generation and transmission in Tanzania to boost power production and distribution.
Mr Yuanchao made the remarks while briefing journalists ahead of a dinner hosted for him by the Vice-President, Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal, in Dar es Salaam on Monday.
The pledge comes at the time when the Cabinet recently approved the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) reforms strategy that seeks, among others, to unbundle the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) into three separate units charged with power generation, transmission and distribution.
The major industry reforms envisage boosting power generation and connectivity towards achievement of the middle-income economy by 2025.
"We will further cooperate in the energy sector since it is a very important sector in boosting the economy," Mr Yuanchao said. He added that during his meetings with President Jakaya Kikwete, Dr Bilal and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, a consensus was reached on furthering cooperation in oil and natural gas, tourism, agricultural processing as well as training in various technical fields."
The leaders, according to the Chinese VP, also agreed to accelerate progress in execution of Bagamoyo Port and Special Economic Zone, to which his government would be providing financial support.
The two projects were earlier arranged by President Kikwete and President Xi Jinping of China during the latter's official visit to Tanzania in March, last year.
China has over the past years become the largest trade partner and second largest investor in Tanzania. In 2013, the bilateral trade volume has reached US 3.7 billion dollars, ranking Tanzania the fourth among 25 in Southern African countries.
By the end of 2013, China's total investment volume in Tanzania reached US 2.5 billion dollars with nearly 500 Chinese companies creating 150,000 local jobs.
Chinese firms on call to invest in power Continues on Page 3 CHINESE Vice-President Li Yuanchao (centre), Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda (second right) and China's Ambassador to Tanzania Dr Lu Youqing join other delegates to lay the foundation stone for the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation Square in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
"BEAUTIFUL, friendly, dynamic and great potential for growth"; is the description of Tanzania by the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China, Li Yuanchao, who is on a six-day official visit in the country. "I and my delegation are really moved by the warm welcome extended to me by the people of Tanzania including government officials and ordinary people.
This shows that Tanzania is a true friend and partner," the VP said while responding to questions from journalists on his experience in the country.
Mr Yuanchao is visiting the country for the first time and he has had time to meet government and business leaders as well as visiting some of the country's tourist attractions.
He went on to describe the 50-year old cooperation between Tanzania and China as mutual beneficial for the two countries, expressing optimism that the collaboration will be more splendid during the next 50 years and beyond.
"I am really satisfied with the cooperation between the two countries which was initiated by former leaders of our nations Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Mao Zedong," Mr Yuanchao noted.
While noting that economic cooperation is a priority, the Chinese VP said the two countries would venture to cement political, diplomatic and cultural cooperation to strengthen the already strong traditional relations.
On Monday he had what he described as cordial talks with President Jakaya Kikwete, Vice- President Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda.
On arrival in Tanzania through Arusha, Mr Li experienced Tanzania's version of 'Huashan' when he braved the steep climb of Ngorongoro Crater wall, through the meandering Lerai Route, believed to be the country's 'most scary.'
The Chinese leader kicked off his itinerary in Tanzania with a visit to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, after landing at the Arusha City Airport in Kisongo where he was received by Premier Pinda.
Mr Li is also expected to visit the historical Stone Town in Zanzibar, which forms an important segment of 'Destination Tanzania' safari package.