Tanzania scraps massive Chinese port project

Tanzania scraps massive Chinese port project

In one of the biggest pushbacks against Chinese president Xi Jinping’s Belt Road Initiative Tanzania has suspended the construction of the $10bn Bagamoyo port project, citing the onerous financial conditions put in place by Beijing.

The project, which broke ground four years ago and was set to be run by China Merchants Holding International, would have been the largest port in East Africa.

Tanzania’s president John Magufuli has accused the Chinese project backers of presenting “exploitative and awkward” terms in exchange for financing. Chinese financiers set “tough conditions that can only be accepted by mad people,” Magufuli told local media.

“They told us once they build the port, there should be no other port to be built all the way from Tanga to Mtwara south,” Magufuli told a delegation of business people at State House in Dar es Salaam earlier this month.

“They want us to give them a guarantee of 33 years and a lease of 99 years, and we should not question whoever comes to invest there once the port is operational. They want to take the land as their own but we have to compensate them for drilling construction of that port,” he said.

Magufuli also said the new Bagamoyo port risked undermining the ongoing $522m expansion of Dar es Salaam port that would enable it to triple its current capacity when complete by the end of this year.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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5 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Kingsley
    June 27, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I wonder why Africa could sale their country to China. Chinese are onerous to do business with. They think we have no brain that they can use modern slavery to entice Africans.

  2. Avatar
    Abdul
    June 28, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Tanzania’s presedent made the right decision.Chinese are dangerous and can not be trusted.

    1. Avatar
      Charles
      June 28, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      Abdul.

      My friend, learn & perfect the use of their abacus and you can then outsmart them. Be assured.

  3. Avatar
    Fahe
    June 28, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    They think Tanzanian’s are like Kenyans where you go and bribe some 4 people with some few billions and then they sell to you the souls of millions of their citizens for the next 100 years which is in other words called colonialism. Who will help that country of mad leaders.

  4. Avatar
    Ameir Ramadhan Msimbazy
    June 28, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    My concern is how did the former president (Kikwete) did not see this, Tanzania under the first president, Mwalim J. K. Nyerere was the front line at the UN to bring China as a member. Now China have many billionears they want to suck poor countries, President Magufuli did the right thing to stop the project, many corrupt politicians will disagree, with the president, to them is all about getting rich, president Magufuli is opposite, (Don’t let them get set.) Cut the chinks Out. There is a Chinese restaurant in Kenya where a black man is not allowed to enter, this can’t be happening in Africa.