5 March 2018

Tanzania: Beijing Plan to Directly Benefit Tanzania

CHINESE People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has supported the implementation of a multi-billion dollar development plan, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which envisages benefiting East Africa, among others.

Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Egypt are among African countries that will directly benefit from the six-economic corridor project, spanning 68 countries and covering over 60 per cent of the world population. China, the world's second largest economy, last year invited Tanzania to the BRI forum in Beijing, not only because of her historic and natural part of the Maritime Silk, but more importantly, because of the special traditional friendship between the two countries.

The meeting, among other things, drew up a blueprint for the future development of the initiative. BRI is a significant development strategy by the Chinese government to promote economic cooperation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes. The grand vision was launched in 2013 originally as the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

It entails China underwriting billions of dollars of infrastructure investment in countries along the old Silk Road, linking it with a network of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. The initiative aims at enhancing the orderly free-flow of economic factors and efficient resource allocation.

At the opening ceremony of the first session of the 13th consultative conference, the country's top political advisory body, held over the weekend here, the CPPCC Chairman, Mr Yu Zhengshen, said the conference fully supports execution of the initiative and contributes to the building of the community with a shared future for humanity.

Available records show that Chinese investments related to the BRI have totalled 60 billion USD since 2013 and is likely to soar, with between 600 and 800 billion US dollar investments planned for the next five yearsReading a report on the CPPCC's work over the past five years, Mr Yu said the body has promoted cooperation in building BRI and increasing harmonisation between the Chinese development strategies and other countries along the route.

"We served the country's diplomacy, engaged in pragmatic high-level exchanges with contacts abroad and promoted cooperation in building the BRI," Mr Yu told the national CPPCC, which attracted about 3,000 journalists across the world. A newly released report on China, titled "Belt & Road: Opportunities & Risks, The Prospects and Perils of Building China's New Silk Road", places Tanzania among East African nations likely to benefit from multi-billion dollar BRI, an attempt to revive and expand China's ancient Silk Road.

The report outlines East Africa's integral role in the BRI, owing to Djibouti's ports, Ethiopia's manufacturing industry and the region's existing plans to connect rail, road and energy networks. It also details how key opportunities in Africa with regards to BRI will be transacted related to major projects in the power and infrastructure sectors and related financing. China's construction of power plants and transmission lines in East Africa is expected to be a game changer for local industry.

BRI infrastructure projects in East Africa include the recently opened railway in Kenya between the port city of Mombasa and the capital, Nairobi and the Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station, a 600-megawatt power project under construction in Uganda.

Port connectivity is also expected to improve significantly in the next five years. Meanwhile, the CPPCC chairman noted that in analysing the international situation, the Chinese political consultative body conducted researches and consultations on developing a new type of international relations and strengthening medical assistance in Africa.

"We sent 114 delegations abroad and received 66 visiting delegations. The CPPCC National Committee has now established ties with 292 organisations in 149 countries and 15 international or regional organisations," he revealed.

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