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Tanzania and China talks over Bagamoyo
port project in progress: envoy

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania  (Xinhua) -- China said on Saturday good progress was being made on negotiations with the Tanzanian government on the 10 billion U.S. dollars Bagamoyo mega port and special economic zone, paving way for the long-delayed construction work to begin.

“Negotiations between the governments of China and Tanzania on the Bagamoyo port project are progressing well. This is a huge and important project in our bilateral cooperation,” Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Wang Ke told journalists in Dar es Salaam during a visit to the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

“Tanzanian and Chinese governments have consulted widely on this project. I hope that we will be able to reach agreement on relevant contracts so we can start this project as soon as possible to benefit the people of Tanzania,” she added.

The initial framework agreement for the Bagamoyo port was signed way back in 2013, but progress has been slow in concluding a final agreement for the major investment undertaking.

The state-run China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) and Oman’s State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) are teaming up with the Tanzanian government to invest in what is expected to become one of the biggest ports in Africa.

The World Bank said in 2016 that inefficiencies at the Dar es Salaam port cost Tanzania and its neighbors up to 2.6 billion U.S. dollars a year.

Government officials said the envisaged Bagamoyo port would be able to handle mega-ships—with a container vessel size of 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) -- after the first phase was completed, with room for expansion.

The whole project including roads, railways and the economic zone is expected to take 10 years to complete, but it was unclear in how many phases it will be carried out.

Former President Jakaya Kikwete officiated at a groundbreaking ceremony for the project in October 2015 in the final weeks and days of his presidency and vowed that construction of phase I of the project would be completed in three years.

But three years down the line, construction work is yet to start, amid suggestions that President John Magufuli’s government has decided to shelve the project and instead focus on the expansion and modernization of the Dar es Salaam port.



Tanzania to connect natural gas to 1,000 household

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania said on Sunday it has set aside 5 million U.S. dollars for connecting natural gas to over 1,000 households for domestic use in the east African capital Dar es Salaam starting from July this year.

Medard Kalemani, the Minister for Energy, said the program under phase one will take two years beginning July and will connect natural gas to households in Kigamboni, Mbagala and Mkuranga areas. 

Speaking at the launch of a pilot project of phase one of the program for Ubungo and Mikocheni residents, Kalemani said the program was in line with the national agenda to reduce use of imported liquid gas and charcoal.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has promised to turn the country into a middle income industrial economy by 2025.

Tanzania is in the process of implementing a mega hydropower at Stiegler’s Gorge along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve that will produce 2,100 megawatts.

Tanzania boasts reserves of over 57 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, but faces periodic power shortages as it relies on hydro-power dams that experience a decline in water levels caused by climate change.


China supports Tanzania on SGR study, upgrading of transport college 

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- China has announced here a 146.47 billion Tanzanian shillings (64 million U.S. dollars) financial assistance for the implementation of development projects in Tanzania.

The governments of China and Tanzania on Saturday signed two agreements for the upgrading of the National Institute of Transport (NIT) to a university of transport and for conducting a feasibility study for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

The agreements were signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Dotto James and the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Wang Ke at a ceremony held in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Speaking after signing the agreements, James said:  “I’m happy to note that the framework agreements we have just signed today is on economic and technical cooperation between our two governments.”

He added that the country was proud that the bond between the two countries had continued to be strengthened over the years.

Wang said the financial assistance contributed by China was aid with no conditions attached.

She said after the feasibility study on the construction of the SGR China will come up with a plan on how to support its construction.


Former African leaders urge current leaders
to address challenges facing continent

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Former African leaders meeting in Tanzania’s business capital Dar es Salaam on Friday urged current leaders to address challenges facing their countries, including respect for constitutions.

The former leaders meeting under the African Leadership Forum said sitting presidents should respect their constitutions to avoid unnecessary conflicts. 

The former leaders included former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, former South African President Thabo Mbeki and former president of Somalia Hassan Mohamud.

Mohamud said Africa need to have leaders that respect constitutions, adding that the African leaders should take power and relinquish power by legal means and not otherwise to eliminate conflicts among the people.

Mkapa highlighted the need for the African Union (AU) to strengthen its relationship with the UN Security Council.

“This move will lead to empowering the AU’s Security Council to work toward resolving ongoing conflicts in the region,” Mkapa told a news conference at the end of the two-day meeting.

“Strengthening of our continent’s institutions tasked with peace and security matters is very important,” added Mkapa who ruled Tanzania between 1995 and 2005.

Former South African President Mbeki said the forum focused on specific cases on situations in the Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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