AFRICANGLOBE – Tanzania’s strong relations with China go back to the era of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Mao Tse Tung. The Chinese ‘Dragon’ is now set to invest billions of dollars in the iron and coal mining sectors of the country that will last for more than a century
Isaac Haule (65), a subsistence farmer at Nkomang’ombe village in Ludewa district, can’t help to see the long standing Mchuchuma and Liganga projects which the public at large have been so eagerly waiting for take place saying they will usher in a new era in extractive industry in the country.
A father of five and a local government retiree, Haule says though the people are confident of the projects, but it’s likely Ludewa could be the new Chinese ’embassy’ as China’s Sichuan Hongda Company Limited is to invest US$ 3 billion in an iron ore and coal mining that will last for more than a century.
An Embassy And Enormous Coal And Iron Reserves
“Forget the official embassy at Kajificheni in the posh Oysterbay area in Dar es Salaam, or the market place full of ‘Made in China’ brands everywhere in the country, but the new China’s biggest ’embassy’ will be here in Ludewa district where, according to government data, has massive coal and iron ore reserves that will last for more than 100 years,” he says.
However, he says implementing the twin projects will unlock the mineral potential in the country especially in extractive metallurgy, particularly the iron ore from Liganga which could lead to production of iron and steel and the ultimate growth of steel industry in Tanzania.
“Compared to the West, on my opinion, the Chinese are the best investors, we are quite sure the projects will succeed as there will be no politicizing,” he adds.
His opinion is echoed by Pius Ngeze, a ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) cadre and former legislator for Ngara constituency in Kagera region, who sees the Chinese investment at the twin projects as vital for the nation’s economy regardless of the critics from the West.
“Since independence China has been helping our country, this is not the first time, compared to the West who have for years now been helping Africa, the Chinese are trustable. I’m sure even these projects will be a success,” he says.
Ngeze says, as far as globalization is concerned, the West need not to fear the Dragon in pumping up money to invest in Africa as the continent needs development after being left behind for years.
The Dragon’s System
“The fact is Western Europe countries have benefited much from Africa since the slavery and colonial eras, they exploited us, took our resources to feed up their mushrooming industries and couldn’t give Africans enough knowledge to manage themselves.
“Now China has come into the scene most of them are complaining fearing that they won’t have enough room to continue exploiting us as the Dragon’s system of training Africans in her universities could help us manage ourselves,” he says.
For the past 10 years, Chinese companies have increased tremendously in terms of contractual activities, especially in construction. Since 2000 China has financed many projects in Tanzania including the 60,000-seatter ultra modern stadium in Dar es Salaam that cost US$ 34.24 million with China donating US$ 19.1 million; Rehabilitation of Amani Stadium in Zanzibar; Construction of Dakawa Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center; Dodoma Urban Water Rehabilitation and Chalinze Water Supply Projects; Construction of Mwalimu Nyerere Modern Conference Centre; ICT Backbone Infrastructure Optic Fiber Project; and Defense Cooperation.
Chinese companies have emerged in many construction deals. According to information from the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS), in the past 10 years, 14 Chinese companies have entered 58 roads construction projects of 3,140.85km long worth US$ 1.75 billion.
China Henan International Cooperation Group Co., Ltd. (CHICO) from Henan Province which was awarded a US$206 million contract by the Road Development Agency of Zambia to design and construct the 175km Mansa-Luwingu road, has alone entered 13 contracts with Tanzania with a total of 705.2km worth US$ 490.26 billion.
These include the 34km Package 1 Singida-Iguguno (US$ 11.75 million); 42km Package 2 Singida-Iguguno (US$ 8.8 million); 33km Package 3 Sekenke-Shelui (US$ 12.51 million); 60km Mwandiga-Manyovu (US$ 32.54 million); 35.7km Kigoma-Kidahwe (US$ 19.56 million); 19.20km Bonga-Babati (US$ 11.95 million); 42km Tabora-Urambo (US$ 31.17 million); 59.1km Kyaka-Bugene (US$ 51.6 million); 84.6km Dareda-Minjingu (US$ 51.6 million); 76.6km Kidahwe-Uvinza-Ilunde (US$ 47.5 million); 132km Isaka-Ushirombo (US$ 88.223 million); 1.5km Widening fo Kilwa Road Phase III (US$ 3.4 million); 85.5km Nyanguse-Musoma (US$ 3.3 million); and the 154km long Kagoma-Lusahunga joint venture contract with CRSG worth US$ 116.2 million.
However, China Sichuan International Cooperation Co., Ltd (SIETCO) has a total of 283.9km long worth US$ 123.03 million, namely the 63km Isuna-Singida (US$ 18.5 million); 32km Tarakea-Rongai-Kamwanga (US$ 8.8 million); 95.1km Iringa-Migori (US$ 51.123 million); and 93.8km Migori-Fufu Escarpment (US$ 44.7 million), while CICO is constructing the 95km long Nangurukuru-Mbwemkuru (US$ 23.82 million).
China Geo-Engineering Corporation International Ltd (CGC INT’L) with offices in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Senegal, Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville), Morocco, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Laos and project departments in Ghana, Chad and Central Africa, has a total of 525.9km long road projects in Tanzania worth US$ 151.2 million. These roads include the 112km Shelui-Nzega (US$ 12.6 million); 120km Kyamorwa-Buzirayombo (US$ 29.822 million); 54km Manyoni-Isuna (US$ 18.4 million); 104.2km Arusha-Namanga (US$ 49.64 million); 125km Chalinze-Tanga Phase I (US$ 25.9 million) and the 10.7km Umoja ‘Unity’ Bridge (US$ 14.9 million) bordering Tanzania and Mozambique.
The Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company (SINOHYDRO) which has aggressively gone on the path of international expansion, becoming a “face of China expansion” across the world by pursuing operations in 55 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe (from the European headquarters of Belgrade, Serbia), North America and South America. In Tanzania it has won 12 road construction projects with 779.95km long worth US$ 434.36 million. These roads include the 40km Sengerema-Usagara (US$ 21.724 million); 100km Buzirayombo-Geita (US$ 25 million); 50km Geita-Sengerema (US$ 24.034 million); 43.65km Dodoma-Mayamaya (US$ 25 million); 89.3km Manyoni-Itigi-Chaya (US$ 66.56 million); 56.1km Nzega-Tabora Lot 2: Puge-Tabora (US$ 35.085 million); 54km Handeni-Mkata (US$ 34.81 million); 65km Korogwe-Handeni (US$ 38.4 million); 73.8km Katesh-Dareda (US$ 38.94 million); 65.1km Singida-Katesh (US$ 31.34 million); 65km Tanga-Horohoro (US$ 42.43 million); and 78km Peramiho Junction-Mbinga (US$ 48.444 million).
In 2012 Sinohydro was selected by Nigerian government to construct the Zungeru hydropower station, project worth USD 1.013 billion and in the same year it was selected by a local government in Georgia to construct a ring road, project worth USD 129 million.
According to TANROADS, while CHIKO had a contract to construct the 4km Sam Nujoma Road in Dar es Salaam (US 7.9 million), China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) won four contracts in Tanzania with 145.6km long worth US$ 95 million. These include the 48.6km long Magole-Turiani (US$ 25.43 million); 52km Tabora-Urambo (US$ 36.3 million); 45km Dumila-Rudewa (US$ 25.5 million) and Package 3 of Jangwani Depot for the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transport (US$ 7.81 million).