There are more than 100 Chinese companies doing business in Tanzania with an accumulated direct investment of more than 200 million U.S. dollars in construction, textiles, agriculture, medicine and infrastructure, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted in the Guardian. Reports in 2008 showed business between China and Tanzania had reached $102 million in 1997, a jump of 22% over the previous year. The growth rate of trade between the two countries has developed steadily since 1994, surpassing the 15 percent mark for three years in a row. The rise of the trade is attributed to the political stability and economic reforms in Tanzania, which have increased the confidence of Chinese businessmen.

In August 2009 Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Stephen Wasira, had announced that “Tanzania welcomes Chinese investment and is expecting more investment in the agriculture sector to boost bilateral cooperation and enhance food production.”

Four more agreements

Tanzania and China signed four more grant and concessional loan agreements on 15 January 2010 amounting to over Shs 239 billion for various projects including the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Network Project and the International Airport Terminal II Project in Zanzibar and, very significantly, the transformation of the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).

Increasing concern for Chinese nationals

However, in March, the Chinese embassy expressed concern for the safety of its nationals doing business in Tanzania. It asked for security measures to be strengthened to protect the safety of Chinese investors in Tanzania following the murder of two businessmen in 2008 and another in Dar in 2009. In a statement, the Chinese Business Chamber of Tanzania demanded that the police speed up the investigation into the latest killing – Guardian.

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