By Elias Mhegera, Bejing – Recently the Tanzanian Ambassador to China H.E. Abdulrahaman A. Shimbo held an exclusive interview with media representatives of three media outlets, namely Shout-Africa-Com, and other two media outlets from China the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation (JSBC), and the Xinhua Daily News (XDN) following are excerpts from the interview.
- Qun: Shout-Africa. Your Excellency what kind of a general picture about Tanzania would you like to paint here in China? And vice-versa
Ans. First of all this is my third year of service here in China, so based on my experience I can say that there are many areas of co-operation which remain untapped because Tanzania is a endowed with a lot of resources, but peace being a prerequisite for any investment is an utmost treasure.
The message I would like to send to our Chinese counterpart is that my country has all the kind of minerals that one would think of, from diamonds, gold rubies, Tanzanite to extractive industries like gas.
Moreover, Tanzania has a fertile land which could produce good yields from various crops like cotton, sesame, maize, coffee etc. But also in our territorial exclusive zone my country is rich in fish stocks which remain untapped due to low technical capacity.
To my fellow Tanzanians I would tell them that China has reached its recent economic stage due to hard work. Her citizens are resilient, hard hardworking and they have a real commitment towards work, nothing is ever left after they enter into a contract with any one, I have observed that they work for 24 hours.
- Qun: Shout-Africa Do you have anything to comment in regard to infrastructure?
Ans. Yes I have, we could have top roads from the middle of the city centre up to the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) because that is really the centre of any focus of visitors when they visit Tanzania and face the heavy traffic jam particularly in the Dar es Salaam City.
I know there are processes going on in shifting some logistics to the Bagamoyo Port currently under construction but also the satellite cities probably this would ease this challenge.
So we need a chain of networks to support the road infrastructure all of the kind that you can imagine in the modern city. These are from railways to flyovers and other supporting amenities.
- Qun: Shout-Africa. Do you have anything to say about job creation in Tanzania given your experience here in China?
Ans. I have observed that we do have a lot of people with talents in back home in Tanzania; they just need a supporting hand so that they could perform even better. I have seen the Tinga Tinga Arts here, and the Makonde carvings here and in Germany.
One surprising thing was that one importer in Germany had labelled the carving that it is a creation of an unknown producer in Tanzania, this imply that he knows the importance of copy rights, but the owner did not know anything about this.
- Qun: JSBC. The Jiangsu Party Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Jiangsu Provincial Committee Mr. Luo Zhijun is scheduled to visit Tanzania soon, with this visit what kind of a common destiny do you see between China and Tanzania?
Ans. The partnership between Tanzania and China is historical it can be traced from the mid 60s during the construction of the Tanzania –Zambia Railway (TAZARA) to the seventies during the construction of textile industries and infrastructure and you can extend that to the recent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
- Qun: JSBC. Which areas of co-operation do you think should be given more impetus?
Ans. There are so many areas that are worthy thinking of; starting from industrial co-operation, agro-economics, extractive industries, energy sector, infrastructure from roads to railways, to mining, steel, iron, gold etc.
- Qun: JSBC. Could you give a general picture of investment in Tanzania and what should investors from Jiangsu do in order to gain trust of Tanzanians?
Ans. The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), is now a one stop centre, the tax regime is fair, and we have a much cherished peace. Already there are investors in various areas including the cotton industry these could be good informers of what is happening.
But also already we have lecturers of the Confucius School at the University of Dar es Salaam, University of Dodoma and St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) these already can tell much about what they know or see in Tanzania.
- Qun: XDN. Is there enough people-to-people interaction between people of Tanzania and China? Do you have any examples to substantiate this?
Ans. Infact this can be traced so many years back when China provided 20,000 technicians for the construction of the TAZARA but also Tanzania provided the same number of laborers. This interaction solidified people to people interactions in so many ways.
But also throughout since 1964 doctors from Jiangsu here in China have been coming to work in Zanzibar and some parts of Mainland Tanzania and therefore through these interactions many friendly relationships have been established.
Even more is through vocational training and exchange of cultural groups; all these have had significant impact in terms of establishing people to people relationships.
- Qun: XDN. Can you explain more about the presence of doctors from Jiangsu in Zanzibar since 1964?
Ans. The Chinese medical teams having been serving the Tanzanian communities, these have assured these communities reliable medical services, but in so doing medical doctors in Tanzania have gained a lot through the working interactions.
But now things have changed which means now even the kind of interaction should reflect such technological advancements. For instance, the use of telemedicine means that Tanzanian doctors can consult their fellow former co-workers by using the telecommunications systems.
But also students exchange programme should now be enhanced, these are vital, because China is more advanced in the area of medical field and hence their Tanzanian counterparts will have a lot to learn.