On Pause: Chinese Investment in Tanzania

Authors: Jill Martin*, University of South Carolina
Topics: Africa, China, Development
Keywords: Chinese Investment, Tanzania, Covid-19
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 25
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In the summer of 2019 the Tanzanian Government suspended the multi-billion dollar Bagamoyo Port Project. President Magufuli rejected the terms of the project in strong terms suggesting they were exploitative and that the project was bad for the nation. China has backed infrastructure projects in Tanzania since the 1970's, providing funding for railroads, stadiums, and mining. The two nations have maintained a friendly relationship and Tanzanians hold a largely positive view of China and their actions in the country. After a number of high profile Chinese port projects had negative impacts on the host countries, Magufuli entered into new negotiations with China which ended without resolution. Dar es Salam was working on it's own port expansion, and the Bagamoyo Port would have interfered and China's largest investment in the country to date was placed on pause. Eight months later Covid-19 placed much of the world on pause, dragging Tanzania's critical tourism industry to a halt. Tourism accounts for more than 10% of employment and GDP in the country. Nearly eighteen months after the project was halted this paper looks at the conditions that led Tanzania to suspend the project and how those conditions have changed due to Covid-19. It also looks at how these changes in conditions may impact the importance Chinese aid and investment in Tanzania.

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