A total of 17 contracts are expected to be signed between Tanzania and China during a two-day state visit of the newly elected President of China, Mr Xi Jinping, beginning on Sunday.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, said that many of the contracts will be economic contracts.
Addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam, Mr Membe said: “For the time, China will enable millions of Tanzanian tobacco growers get ready market by buying straight from them.”
He said the coming of Mr Jinping to Tanzania only a few weeks after his election was a privilege and that the country should consider itself very lucky to the first African country to be visited by the Chinese new leader. During the visit, Mr Jinping will inaugurate the ultramodern Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam where he will talk about the Chinese foreign policy on Africa.
“Being the first speech in Africa, I would like to call upon the media to be agents of publicising this tour because the whole world will be relying on the media,” he said. Mr Membe said China and Tanzania shared historical relations dating back to the construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA) which later helped in the liberation of many Southern African countries.
He said between 1971 and 1972 when the then United Nations General Assembly president, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, helped China get included into the UN Security Council. Mr Jinping is also expected to lay the foundation stone for the construction of the Bagamoyo port which is expected to be bigger and more modern than the Dar es Salaam port and which will be accessed by a railway, a bigger area of container storage, roads and will create employment for many people.
The Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre was a promise President Jakaya Kikwete made when he was the African Union (AU) chairman in 2008 and that the first ever AU summit would be held in Dar es Salaam in 2017.
“The Smart Partnership meeting is scheduled for June 26 to July 2, this year and so we are very thankful to the people of China for this much needed investment,” he said. President Kikwete is expected to be handed over the keys of the building that cost over 24bn/- and has the capacity to house 1,800 people at a go.
On the day of the inauguration, 1,000 guests have already been invited including ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament, political leaders, permanent secretaries, and heads of universities, NGOs, editors and ambassadors. The Chinese president is expected to lay wreaths on the Chinese graveyard in commemorating their deaths.
By MASEMBE TAMBWE, Tanzania Daily News