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The Most Unequal Equals: Historical and Present Trends of the Sino- Tanzanian Friendship Codrin Arsene Youth Forum on China Africa Relations Yale University,

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Presentation on theme: "The Most Unequal Equals: Historical and Present Trends of the Sino- Tanzanian Friendship Codrin Arsene Youth Forum on China Africa Relations Yale University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Most Unequal Equals: Historical and Present Trends of the Sino- Tanzanian Friendship Codrin Arsene Youth Forum on China Africa Relations Yale University, April 25 th 2009

2 How big is Africa? What should we learn from this? Never generalize when talking about Africa. With 54 states, hundreds of sub-statal divisions, languages and ethnic divisions (erroneously categorized as tribes) chances are no argument about Africa will apply to every part of the continent.

3 China and the East African Community Total Foreign Direct Investment of more than 2 billion dollars. Bilateral trade of more than 20 billion dollars. Strong political cooperation at a regional level and on the international arena (United Nations)

4 China and the East African Community In the last six years, the Chinese road engineers have helped build or refurbish all the main roads in East Africa: Nairobi – Addis Ababa (Kenya - Ethiopia) Nairobi – Kampala (Kenya - Uganda) Kampala – Kigali (Uganda - Rwanda) Kigali – Bujumbura (Rwanda - Burundi) Bujumbura – Kigoma (Burundi - Tanzania) Kigoma – Dodoma (Tanzania) Dodoma – Dar es Salaam * (Tanzania) Dar es Salaam – Arusha (Tanzania) Arusha - Nairobi (Tanzania - Kenya) * Constructions are scheduled to begin in June 2009 A total of 2915 miles of roads have been built with the help of Chinese engineers, only in East Africa. Out of this total, 700 miles were built almost from scratch.

5 China and the East African Community Chinese officials make two or three visits to the East African Community every year (since 1965!!!). China Radio International launched its FM station in the Kenyan capital in The station is transmitting 19 hours of programs in English, Kiswahili (the language widely spoken in East Africa) and standard Chinese and it is broadcasted in Kenya and Tanzania. Presidents Hu Jintao and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (Tanzania) at an official meeting in Dodoma.

6 China and the East African Community Chinese tourists can visit any of the East African Community states (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania) under an East African Single Tourist Visa which makes travel to that region easier and more attractive. Chinese tourists can simply apply for a work permit while being on a tourist visa. The number of outbound Chinese tourists to Africa reached 110,000 in 2005, double that of the previous year and 180,000 in 2006, according to the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of Public Security Ministry. No official data was released for the EAC.

7 Who and what is China in Africa? Government contractors Private investors and construction firms Young entrepreneurs Skilled professionals (doctors, engineers, teachers, translators etc) Unskilled labors (in general they are young Chinese males brought to Africa by other members of the family who need extra-labor)

8 There's no China in Africa China in Africa is an unusual combination of state and non-state actors that come to various African countries in search for business opportunities. While the Western mass media claims that China is taking over Africa the reality is that most Chinese living and working in Africa are actually involved in the informal sector and have little or nothing to do with the Chinese government.

9 Africa and natural resources The new scramble for Africa is being driven by the near-global monopoly Africa has on the worlds gold, cobalt and manganese reserves; it also has extensive reserves of bauxite, coal uranium, copper and nickel. Of the proved oil reserves currently estimated, Africa accounts for 7 per cent of the global total. New oil discoveries have been made in Madagascar, Zambia and Uganda while extensive exploration is ongoing in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

10 China and Tanzania Strong historical connections: China was one of the first countries to recognize Tanzania as a state in China is the first state to open an embassy in Dar es Salaam In return, Tanzania strongly supported China in its attempt to resume its legal status in the United Nations in China and Tanzania

11 Julius Nyerere was convinced that socialism (or Ujamaa, as it is know in Swahili) is the only political ideology that could allow Tanzania to experience long term development. Julius Nyerere, has visited China five times during his presidency and Chinese government officials have been visiting Tanzania every 2-3 years since Strong ideological connections:

12 More than political allies In 1969, China announced its intention to finance the construction of a railway that would serve landlocked Zambia as an alternative to rail lines via Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa, and Mozambique. Uhuru / TAZARA Railway

13 TAZARA RAILWAY Construction started in 1970 and operation commenced six years later. The line starts at the port of Dar-es-Salaam and crosses Tanzania in a south-west direction. It passes through a largely uninhabited area and through Selous, the largest National Park in Africa. The line crosses the TAN-ZAM highway at Makambako and runs parallel toward Mbeya and the Zambian border, enters Zambia, and links to Zambia Railways at Kapiri Mposhi. Total length is 1,860 kilometers (1,156 mi) and the final altitude is 1,400 m

14 TAZARA RAILWAY TANZAM is regarded as the greatest engineering effort of its kind since the Second World War. The railway took only five years to build and was finished ahead of schedule in About 50,000 Tanzanians and 25,000 Chinese were engaged to construct the railway. The work involved moving 330,000 tones of steel rail and the construction of 300 bridges, 23 tunnels and 147 stations.

15 Downsides of the project TAZARA railway has never been profitable The governments of Zambia and Tanzania have put little or no money into maintaining the railway. Massive competition from road transport – it takes three days to get from Dar to Lusaka by train and only two days by road. The Tanzanian government is planning to privatize the UHURU railway. Different Chinese companies have expressed their interest to buy the railway from the Tanzanian government but no formal agreement has been reached.

16 Ideological victory After building the railway, the Chinese government proved that it can be a reliable partner for any African state that is interested in working with the Chinese state. It delivered what it promised, ahead of schedule. Striking difference between the successful story of this project, and other World Bank financed project run at the same time. Chinese and Tanzanians worked together on this project in oppose to Africans working for Europeans like during the colonial era. (Moral victory)

17 Historical irony The Tanzam closed a missing link in the envisioned Cape-Cairo railway of Cecil Rhodes. The rest of the infrastructure projects in east Africa (especially the roads connecting Nairobi to Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam) are some of the last unpaved sections of the Great North Road, a British colonial dream to connect Cape Town to Cairo. This feeds into the discourse on China as a neo- colonial power.

18 What happened next ( )? Formal relations were maintained Bilateral state visits were regular No major infrastructure projects until the beginning of the new millennium. Both China and Tanzania were dealing with their own internal problems

19 What changed? The emergence of the Go out policy Increased efforts on behalf of the Chinese state to encourage state agencies and private investors to become involved in development projects in other countries, especially in Africa and South America.

20 In 2006, China pledged to: Double its 2006 assistance to Africa by 2009 Provide US$3 billion of preferential loans and US$2 billion of preferential buyers credits to Africa in the next three years Set up a China-Africa development fund, which would reach US$5 billion, to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa and provide support to them Cancel debt in form of all the interest-free government loans that matured at the end of 2005 owed by the heavily indebted poor countries and the least developed countries in Africa that have diplomatic relations with China Increase from 190 to over 440 the number of export items to China receiving zero-tariff treatment from the least developed countries in Africa with diplomatic ties with China Establish three to five trade and economic cooperation zones in Africa in the next three years Over the next three years, train 15,000 African professionals; send 100 senior agricultural experts to Africa; build 30 hospitals in Africa and provide a grant of RMB 300 million for providing artemisinin and build 30 malaria prevention and treatment centers to fight malaria in Africa dispatch 300 youth volunteers to Africa; build 100 rural schools in Africa; and increase the number of Chinese government scholarships to African students from the current 2,000 per year to 4,000 per year by (Source: African Perspectives on China in Africa Edited by Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks, page 2 )

21 What exactly did the Chinese state do for Tanzanian people? In Tanzania, in the last five years, Chinese companies have built: miles of roads Two dozen schools One dozen+ hospitals and clinics Three power plants Invested heavily in the IT sector Chinese foreign economic cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa, , by destination. Original Source: Ministry of Commerce, PRC, 2006; Taken from Building Bridges: Chinas Growing Role as Infrastructure Financier for Sub- Saharan Africa, World Bank Report

22 What exactly did the Chinese state do for Tanzanian people? Built a 60,000 seat stadium in Dar es Salaam. Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium final cost mounted to US$ 56 millions. The Chinese government contributed $33.4m while the Tanzania government provided $23m. Hu Jintao at the inauguration of the stadium in February 2009: I am convinced that our cooperation and friendship will grow even stronger Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium under contruction (2006) Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium at the inauguration

23 How large is the Chinese community on Tanzania? Short answer: nobody knows. According to the Chinese ambassador in Tanzania, no more than 2000 Chinese A realistic figure: 6-8,000 at a minimum.

24 What do we know? There are almost one thousand businesses registered by Chinese citizens with the Tanzanian Chamber of Commerce Why do Chinese citizens come to Tanzania? Vacuum of business (i.e. lack of competition) Vacuum of power Low risk malaria zone No history of civil or military unrest Politically stable (Somewhat) Business Oriented

25 Difficulties Chinese citizens face once they arrived in Tanzania Lack of a functional bureaucracy The relative suspension or arbitrary application of the rule of law Petty corruption

26 Consequences Chinese entrepreneurs (mainly restaurant and bar owners) are constantly harassed by the local police forces. They have to pay petty bribes at an alarming frequency. Receive no support from the Chinese embassy due to the fact that they do not report their presence in Tanzania Out of 120 Chinese entrepreneurs Ive interviewed, only 29 of them ever contacted the Chinese embassy. 21 of them did it after their properties were illegally raided by the police forces.

27 What do local people think of the Chinese immigrants? Many Tanzanians are slowly becoming resentful of the Chinese presence in Tanzania. Why? (Selected answers): they work for less money than we do they bring all these cheap products that break in one month or less they are rude and secretive they mistreat their black employees they traveled for 8000 miles to sell roasted peanuts in the street

28 Anything good to say about Chinese immigrants? They respect our culture and do not impose their own culture upon us, they way Muzungus do They speak to us in our own language (Swahili) They sell cheap products that we really wanted to have (TVs, antennas, telephones, radios, photo cameras etc) They are very disciplined and work hard every day

29 Where does xenophobia come from? - Xenophobia mingles with fears of new imperialism and creates strong anti-Chinese resentment (Gregor Dobler, who has researched the presence of Chinese people in Namibia). - The unemployment rate in Tanzania is very high 15% (National Bureau of Statistics in Tanzania) and Chinese immigrants are sometimes considered to be the cause of this unemployment rate. - Various cultural and social differences.

30 China, Africa, and neo-colonialism Is the relationship between Tanzania and China neo-colonial? NO! China respects the sovereignty of Tanzania and has never interfered in the businesses of the Tanzanian state. There is no evidence to suggest that China looks to extend any sort of political or economic hegemony over Tanzania. China has never tried to impose developmental strategies on the Tanzanian state. On the contrary, the Tanzanian politicians are the one who have started negotiations with the Chinese state regarding various developmental projects. *** For example, when former President Benjamin Mkapa visited China in 1998, he made a request to the Chinese authority to construct a modern stadium in Tanzania thus paving the road for the most recent Chinese financed large scale project in Tanzania.

31 HOWEVER: The Concept of non interference is a political fiction In theory, China professes respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs is appealing to many African leaders but this has not always been the case. Three notorious cases that show that this is not always the case: Zambia Sudan Angola

32 Why would China interfere in the local politics of various African countries? Chinese firms are affected by corruption in Africa like any other foreign companies. Tanzania is a very good example of that! Crime and corruption make China interested in improved governance and enhanced government capacity in Africa In extreme cases when the actions of different politicians will affect Chinas interests on the continent, the Chinese state will always intervene to restore the status-quo.

33 What is the most reasonable conclusion we can draw from this presentation? China in Africa is what you make of it!

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