China favours Tanzania for industrial cooperation to promote domestic industrialisation due to its outstanding development conditions, that should enable the nation realise its middle income economy goal by 2025.
In his speech at the second day of a three-day Tanzanian Diaspora and Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) partnership conference 2015 in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Lu Youqing, said all African countries have a strong desire to work with China to promote their local industries but Tanzania stood out.
“When Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao visited Tanzania last year, he told me that among all the African countries he had been to, Tanzania has the best development conditions.
He believed that within 20 years, Tanzania would catch up with where China is today,” he said. Ambassador Youqing said Tanzania has five comparative advantages over other African countries which include political and social stability and harmonious co-existence of different political parties, religious groups, ethnic groups and tribes.
Others are abundant natural and human resources, being worldly respected with a good reputation in the world and stable economic growth at 7 per cent rate 10 years in a row.
He said target areas for industrial cooperation with China that will turn Tanzania into a four centre of East Africa covering the region and the whole world is Tourism Centre, Logistic Centre, Manufacturing Centre and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre.
He said these centres will address shortage of talents in technical and management fields, imbalances of state revenue and expenditure, imbalances of trade, high inflations, high debt and high unemployment rates.
Ambassador Youqing mentioned five key ways to go about achieving these targets including equity joint ventures between Chinese and Tanzanian companies, contractual joint ventures, compensation trade (product buy-back), public-private partnership (PPP) between Tanzanian government and Chinese companies and solely Chinese owned investments.
On the Diaspora, he stressed that Tanzanians living abroad can play a significant role in promoting the country’s economic development given their strong investment capacity, rich wisdom and extensive business network.
Ambassador Youqing added that these Tanzanians living in the Diaspora can bring capital and technology back to Tanzania as investors as well as advertise Tanzania’s investment opportunities to investors abroad and encourage them to invest in Tanzania.
He said China is now the second largest economy in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 1O trillion US dollars in 2014, but 50 years ago there was little different between the economies of the two countries.
“But China has rose rapidly and this rapid growth is attributed to opening up and allowing reform policies, used large scale foreign direct investments and actively accommodated the transfer of industry, capital and technology from developed countries including the four Asian tigers, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore,” Dr Youqing explained.
Citing Mr Deng Xiaoping, China’s former leader who is believed to have led the country through far-reaching market-economy reforms, Ambassador Youqing said to reform and open it needs liberation of the mind-set, be bolder in work, progress at faster pace and adopt more approaches.
While contributing during the debate, R&R Insurance Brokers Ltd General Manager, Mr Patrick Marimo said tourism has great potential of contributing more to the country’s economy if the available opportunities are utilised fully by locals to promote natural resources abroad.
Mr Marimo noted that while in Zimbabwe, he had always thought Mt. Kilimanjaro was in Kenya due to the extensive promotions done by Kenyans to sell the mountain abroad that has made many think the highest mountain in Africa is indeed in Kenya.
Mr Peter Kazaura, a Tanzanian living in German stressed on the need for policies targeting Tanzanian living in the Diaspora interested in investing in the country and a one stop center database containing information on all investment opportunities for the diaspora.
Citing an example of Ethiopia which does not allow dual citizenship, but provides a special card called ‘Yellow’ card or Ethiopia’s Origin ID card, for its Citizens who have changed their citizenship, Mr Kazaura said a similar system for Tanzania would be of great help to Tanzanians who have changed their citizenship.