(ECNS) -China is a trusted old friend of Tanzania, and Sino-Tanzanian relations will continue to push bilateral cooperation to a higher level, said Palamagamba John Kabudi, former Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam, in an exclusive interview with China News Network recently.

The year 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Tanzania. Kabudi noted that this node is of great historical significance. He added that over the past 60 years, Tanzania and China have achieved fruitful cooperation in various fields, and in the future, pragmatic cooperation between the two countries and the two peoples will both become more and more closer.

Projects bear fruit of China-Tanzania friendship

The China-Tanzania friendship has laid a solid foundation during the past 60 years, and the construction of the Tazara Railway in Africa in the 1970s has witnessed the brotherly friendship.

Kabudi mentioned that the Tazara Railway, which opened in 1976, is one of the landmark large-scale projects undertaken by China, providing a new sea passage for landlocked African countries. It has always been remembered by the Tanzanian people, he said.

Besides, “many of the textile industries in Tanzania were built by China. One good example is the Friendship Textile factory,” said the former minister.

Kabudi noted that China has promoted the modernization of Tanzania’s agriculture and helped the country develop its pharmaceutical industry, supplying medicines to local hospitals and pharmacies.

In the 1960s and 1970s, many Chinese doctors visited Tanzania’s rural areas to participate in local medical relief work, according to Kabudi.

In recent years, China has made important contributions to Tanzania’s job creation, improvement of people’s livelihood and connectivity. Among them, the Nyerere Hydropower Station, the fifth and sixth sections of the Central standard gauge railway and other major infrastructure projects have made steady progress.

Tanzanian business people use RMB instead of dollars

“China is the biggest investor in Tanzania, which has invested in many fields, like industry, commerce, trade and logistics,” said Kabudi.

He also stressed that the volume of business between Tanzania and China is very high. China remained Tanzania’s largest trading partner in 2023, with bilateral trade volume reaching $8.78 billion, a year-on-year increase of 5.66 percent.

“We have reached a stage where business-people from Tanzania who are coming to China don’t need to use dollars, they use the RMB,”said Kabudi. And he noted that banks from both countries have reached relevant agreements to further promote trade and investment facilitation.

Kabudi also mentioned that many of the industrial projects recently constructed in Tanzania have been built by Chinese companies or backed by Chinese investors.

At present, nearly 700 Chinese-funded enterprises have registered in Tanzania, including around 100 state-owned enterprises, mainly engaged in project contracting, investment and bilateral assistance projects.

Kabudi pointed out that with more and more Chinese enterprises entering Tanzania, the country can not only provide more jobs for local people, but more importantly, can realize technology transfer. For example, in the fields of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and space science, China can help develop a pool of skilled manpower for Tanzania, narrowing the gap between the country and technologically advanced countries.

The two peoples are getting closer and closer

Over the past 60 years, China-Tanzania relations have been at the forefront of China-Africa cooperation while becoming a model for China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation. As bilateral practical cooperation expands to more areas, the China-Tanzania friendship will open a new chapter in history.

“Recently, Samia Suluhu Hassan, president of Tanzania, has opened a number of tourism industry clusters that have attracted the attention of Chinese investors, which is one of the areas where we need to improve on significantly,” said Kabudi.

The Chinese TV drama Welcome to Milele, based on the story of the Chinese medical team in Africa, was shot in Tanzania and hit the air in China in 2023, attracting many Chinese tourists to visit Tanzania.

“There is still a lot of room for tourism development in Tanzania, and through discussions with our Chinese counterparts, we are able to understand the needs of Chinese tourists, such as what kind of attractions or services they want,”said Kabudi. As 2024 marks the year of culture and tourism between China and Tanzania, the two countries will carry out more tourism and culture promotion activities.

“The young people in Tanzania who are good in acrobatics were trained by Chinese teachers,” said Kabudi, adding that “We need the exchange of young people from Tanzania coming to China and the youth from China going to Tanzania.”

In recent years, China and Tanzania have continued to promote people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. More and more Tanzanians have chosen to study in China, with the number of Tanzanian students in China reaching 5,000 at its peak. At the same time, China has also opened skill training institutions such as Luban Workshop in Tanzania.

Kabudi believes that in many fields, such as culture, sports, and music, China will vigorously promote interpersonal and cultural exchanges between the two countries, which Tanzania will benefit from and play an important role in.



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