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China and Tanzania in the New Era: A complicated relationship.

China’s activities in the United Republic of Tanzania, spanning from economic to political connections in Xi Jinping’s New Era.

Today China is the biggest investor in Tanzania, as well as the largest exporter of goods to Tanzania. The investment volume reached 7 billion USD in 2019, trade volume between China and Tanzania reached 3.9 billion USD. China ranks as Tanzania’s fifth-largest export destination. However, it receives only 3.9% of Tanzanian’s total exports. Unfortunately, the relationship with this important investment and business partner is not at all equal. Tanzanian Ambassador to China Mbwela Kairuki states that the main challenge is the huge trade imbalance between both economies is due to the fact that for every dollar exported to China, Tanzania receives 10 USD worth of imports from China (CAP, 2020). Hence, some African scholars criticize the current practice of cooperation with China. Arguing that China is gaining much more out of its investments than its partners (Kinyondo, pp. 159-160). This critique, combined with the aforementioned debt trap debate, has influenced Tanzanian political decisions in the past.

Tilmann Feltes

Tilmann Feltes Portrait

Country Director KAS Tanzania, Project Director EU-Project “Together for Peace” +255 22 2153174

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Mr. Jan-Ole Voss and Mr. Daniel Fabian