Tanzania: President Magufuli, Merkel Hold Talks

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania and Germany are set for increased economic and investment relations as a result of fruitful talks between President John Magufuli and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The two leaders held a telephone conversation on Wednesday that dwelt on various issues, including plans by German businesspeople to invest in Tanzania.

"Ms Merkel praised President Magufuli for his efforts to fight corruption and build infrastructure," a statement released yesterday by the Directorate of Presidential Communications of the State House said. President Magufuli promised Ms Merkel that he would continue to improve the investment climate in Tanzania and foster relations between the two countries.

The talks also centred on a big fertiliser project set to be the largest in Africa if the investment materialises. "Ms Merkel said Germany intends to contribute to the industrialisation of Tanzania, and the fertiliser company could be a flagship project towards that intention," the statement said.

However, it did not give details about the fertiliser company, but The Citizen understands that some German firms are among a consortium of investors that plan a multibillion-dollar fertiliser factory in the country.

The fertiliser firm would feed on natural gas - a conducive raw material for fertiliser - from Lindi and Mtwara regions.

In November 2017 the Tanzania Investment Centre said German investors, under a company called Ferrostal Industries Project GmbH, registered a project worth $1.9 billion (over Sh4 trillion) that involves the construction of a fertiliser plant at Kilwa Masoko in Lindi Region jointly with Danish shareholders Holdor Topsoe A/S.

Analysts yesterday hailed the talks between the two leaders and added that the inclusion of the fertiliser investment in the talks is significant.

"It is indeed good news for a developing country like Tanzania. The fertiliser plant will create employment for Tanzanians and boost availability of the agricultural input in the country, among other benefits," Prof Honest Ngowi from Mzumbe University told The Citizen.

Repoa Executive Director Donald Mmari said: "The talks are significant and the establishment of a fertiliser factory is very important as it would solve the issues of availability and affordability, which could translate into increased agriculture productivity."

The Deputy Director for Academic, Research and Consultancy at the Centre for Foreign Relations (CFR), Dr Watengere Kitojo, told The Citizen that the telephone conversation between Ms Merkel and President Magufuli was big news and was in line with the country's policy of economy diplomacy.

"It is good to see that there are some important people outside the country like the German Chancellor who appreciate President Magufuli's efforts," he said

Dr Benson Bana from the University of Dar es Salaam said: "Development partners are slowly starting to understand the efforts of President John Magufuli in fighting corruption and improving the socioeconomic condition of Tanzanians."

Additional reporting by John Namkwahe and Gadiosa Lamtey

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