Parties involved in the Bagamoyo mega project are working to complete a master plan and design for the Special Economic Zone area.
The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Lu Youqing, said the Project will turn Bagamoyo into Shenzhen, a city in China which was transformed into a Special Economic Zone area.
Dr Youqing noted that the Merchants Holdings International Company Limited (MHICL), which is implementing the Bagamoyo project, developed Shenzhen. He further said that Tanzania had attached great importance to the Bagamoyo project which is a joint project of Tanzania, China and Oman.
"The government of Tanzania has attached great importance to the Bagamoyo Port and adjacent Industrial Park and it has listed it in the second five-year national development plan. "This is a mega project, it is a huge work to turn Bagamoyo into Shenzhen of Tanzania," he explained noting that the Chinese developer wanted to implement the project in phases. "With regard to the Port, the three parties have reached a general consensus on construction and operation of the Port.
The Port consists of eight kilometres Port Zone and a logistics centre... there will be dredging water channels to the Port," he explained.
The Ambassador said that the Chinese investor wanted the SEZ part of the project to be split into phases and the first phase to be developed will be 17 square km, but Tanzania wants to see the project developed as whole. "So, they are still discussing and I think finally, maybe they will first finish the master plan of the project," he stated.
Dr Youqing said in Shenzhen City, MHICL did the job in phases with the first phase covering 11 square km. "But I told the China Merchant colleague that Tanzania wishes you to develop Bagamoyo SEZ as a whole, this shows that they trust you, you need to cherish this opportunity," he explained .
The Ambassador said MHICL is a reputable company revered all over the world for the good work they do, with more than 20 countries seeking their service mainly in implementation of port and industrial park projects. Speaking on investments, Dr Youqing explained that the friendship that exists between Tanzania and China has seen increased investment and trade.
Citing the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) statistics, Dr Youqing said by end of June 2016, Chinese investment in Tanzania had reached 6.62 billion US dollars with about 600 Chinese companies operating in Tanzania.
The Chinese investments, he explained, are in the areas of agriculture, tourism and Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), creating about 150,000 direct employment and 350,000 people engaged in trade between the two countries, citing a South Africa-based research institute Imara statistics of 2014.
"China has also provided large amount of concessional loans to help Tanzania build key infrastructure projects, including the Mtwara-Dar natural gas pipeline.
"Initially, many people were opposed to the gas pipeline but today everyone is praising it. We have provided loans for this project and upon completion of the pipeline, people along the line and those in Dar es Salaam are benefiting," he explained.
He also cited the National Fibre Optic Cable which has made Tanzania one of the leading countries with latest ICT in Africa.