Dar es Salaam — Tanzania is finalising negotiations with China and Oman over the construction of Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and the $10 billion (about Sh22.3 trillion) Bagamoyo Port, a minister has said.
Speaking on sidelines of a symposium on Sino-Tanzania investment opportunities in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, the minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage, said the plan was to complete the negotiations next month to pave the way for implementation of the project.
"If all goes well, construction of the special economic zone will kick off in January," he said, adding, "the time frame proposed is to have the projects completed by 2022."
Mr Mwijage also said by the set date, 190 factories, including those for fertilizer making and fish processing would have been constructed.
Upon completion, the SEZ will attract 700 factories and become a strategic investment zone in East Africa. The project is backed financially by China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI), China's largest operator, and Oman's State General Reserve Fund.
According to Mr Mwijage, the Bagamoyo Port, once completed would be the largest in East Africa.
It will be able to handle megaships (vessels carrying 8,000 of 20 feet equivalent units containers) after the first phase is completed, with room for expansion.
The port, which is about 75 kilometres from the commercial city, Dar es Salaam, and 10 kilometres from of Bagamoyo town, will have new roads, railways and the economic zones. The port and its industrial zone are designed to address congestion at the old port and make Tanzania East Africa's leading shipping and logistics centre.
CMHI says that among the projects envisioned for the zone are industrial parks worth $120 million, a $70 million tourism park and free port facilities ($90 million).
Also in the pipeline are, a free trade zone ($70 million), science and technology parks ($50 million), an international business centre ($70 million) and industrial buildings ($20 million).
The Bagamoyo Port which incorporate proper infrastructure, including roads and electricity, will supplement the government's drives of becoming middle income nation come 2025, according to Mr Mwijage.
Going by Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) statistics, by the end of June last year, Chinese investment in Tanzania stood at $6.62 billion (Sh14.7 trillion), with about 600 Chinese companies operating in the country.
Chinese investments are in agriculture, tourism and information, communications and technology, creating around 150,000 jobs in direct employment and with a total of around 350,000 people engaged in trade between the two countries.