Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2013/11/14
East Africa nation's infrastructure will be greatly improved after important deals were sealed
Chinese companies and their Tanzanian counterparts signed seven cooperative agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) valued at billions of dollars in Guangzhou late last week.
Shanghai Electric Power Co and Tanzania Electric Supply Co Ltd will invest about $400 million in Kinyerezi Power Project in Tanzania.
The agreements mainly involved energy, mineral resources, power supply, housing and other infrastructure industries.
The signing ceremonies were witnessed by Mizengo Pinda, the prime minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Lu Youqing, the Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, at the first Tanzania-China Business Forum in the capital of Guangdong province on October 24.
The forum was jointly organized by the Tanzania Investment Centre and the China Africa Business Council. Officials from Chinese and Tanzanian enterprises and business executives at the one-day forum also discussed investment and trade in a bid to expand the two nations' economic ties.
Pinda praised the role played by the Tanzania-China Business Forum in helping to improve economic ties between the countries.
Pinda, who led a big trade delegation, arrived in Guangzhou after attending the 14th Western China International Fair in Beijing, where he also met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to discuss the expansion of economic ties.
Pinda's delegation comprised ministers, regional commissioners, members of parliament, executives from private sector institutions, officials from the Tanzania Investment Center and other senior government officials and businesspeople.
"Chinese people will continue to provide assistance to Tanzania as capacity allows. Also we hope the Tanzanian side will provide the necessary support for the Chinese enterprises involved in development there," Li told Pinda.
Noting that next year China and Tanzania will mark the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, Li said China is to cooperate with Tanzania on major projects.
According to Pinda, his government is also in talks with China Merchant Holdings International about the construction of Bagamoyo Port, which will turn Tanzania into an international trade hub for East and Central Africa.
"With China and Tanzania about to mark the golden jubilee of their close relations, it is a good time to take our investment partnerships to a higher level," Pinda said.
He urged his Tanzanian delegates to capitalize on the investment opportunities at the forum, and added that he was keen to hear the views of Chinese investors regarding the Tanzanian business environment.
Pinda said Tanzania, which is on the east coast of Africa, is a peaceful and politically stable country, and these are critical assets for investors. He also said the Tanzanian government will fully support every investment initiative.
"Private investments in Tanzania are guaranteed by government policy and law against nationalization and expropriation. Investors can repatriate their profits and dividends without hindrance," Pinda said.
"I encourage Chinese companies to utilize the opportunities here and turn them into profitable ventures in a way that will bring about sustainable benefits to the Tanzanian economy and the local communities."
Pinda also urged Tanzanian companies to use their visit to China to gain market knowledge and experience and to develop partnerships with Chinese companies and their international partners, thereby connecting themselves with the global economy.
Many Chinese companies regard Africa as a prime destination for their overseas investments and trade.
Xu Zhiming, chairman of Zhejiang-based China Yuemei Group, says his company is enjoying 10 percent annual growth in profits in Africa.
Xu said his group, a non-government transnational company mainly in the textiles and dye industries, is already planning to set up more companies and joint ventures in Africa.
Xu is also vice-chairman of the China Africa Business Council, which has more than 500 member companies. The council was established in 2006.
According to Xu, his group plans to invest about $150 million to restructure the Tanzania-China Friendship Textile Co Ltd to import new technology and equipment to help build it into the largest modern textile company in Africa.
The company is expected to form a complete industrial chain for cotton purchasing, processing, spinning, weaving and dyeing, Xu said.
Also, Xu said his group plans to invest about $500 million in the construction of an industrial and trade park in Tanzania, which would serve as a platform for Chinese companies investing in Africa and create more job opportunities and revenue for local Tanzania people.
Xu said his group, which started investing in Africa in 2000, has now set up 16 companies there, including three in Tanzania, with a total investment of more than $370 million.
"The investment in Africa accounts for about 30 percent of my group's total assets," he said.
"Despite the poor technological conditions and low work efficiency, the vast market on the African continent, cheap labor and abundant natural resources are the major attractions for Chinese companies, particularly labor-intensive enterprises," Xu said.
"And manufacturing, mineral exploitation, finance, machinery, infrastructure, trade, textiles and dyeing are the main industries that attract Chinese companies and investors."
Xu said the Tanzania-China Business Forum will play an active role in promoting Sino-African investment and trade.