French companies open to talks on the port of Bagamoyo

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By Alex Nelson Malanga

Dar es Salaam. Major French companies will start discussions with the government in the coming weeks on the possibility of them participating in the construction and operation of the port of Bagamoyo of 10 billion dollars (about 23 trillion shillings), learned The Citizen.

Part of the discussions, following President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s visit to France earlier this week, will also focus on how French investors could participate in the development of all Tanzanian ports, with the aim of making of Tanzania a transport and logistics hub in East Africa. Region.

This was revealed on Friday by the French Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr. Nabil Hajlaoui, in an exclusive interview with The Citizen during a press briefing on President Hassan’s successful state visit to France.

The Ambassador said they would discuss who would build the project, which modality to use and through which funding.

“French investors are ready to be part of the project. They want to put money on the table and discuss what they can do together,” Hajlaoui noted.

He said they had people from the private sector, who were ready to invest in the form of a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement.

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The government signed a framework agreement in 2013 with China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) and the State of Oman General Reserve Fund to build the port and a special economic zone as part of efforts to transform Tanzania into a commercial and logistics center in the region.

But the late John Magufuli’s fifth phase regime rejected the project, saying it was abusive and inappropriate.

However, President Hassan, who assumed the presidency on March 19, 2021 following the death of her predecessor, Dr. Magufuli, said the Bagamoyo port project should be implemented for the benefit of the country.

For his part, he said that major French companies would discuss how they could participate in the development of other ports, namely Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and Tanga.

“French investors will open negotiations on the interests they had expressed during President Samia’s meeting in France,” said Ambassador Hajlaoui.

He said the French government was more than willing to support Tanzania’s drive to make the East African country the economic, transport and logistics hub.

It will work by creating room for its investors to invest in ports, railways, airports and maritime logistics.

“Tanzania has every reason to attract investors and become the regional hub. Tanzania can have very high ratings when it comes to conducive business,” the Ambassador noted.

He explained that President Hassan’s strong commitment to improving the business environment would make the country a better investment destination than neighboring countries.

“Investors are attracted by a clear legal framework, predictability of policies, transparency of the rule of law and fair competition and Tanzania is doing well in these areas.

“Investors want some kind of administration that can solve their problems. They want to have a guarantee on the return of their investment”, underlined Mr. Hajlaoui.

He said that in an effort to intensify trade and economic relations with Tanzania, a large French delegation involving the business community and high-level leaders is expected to land in Tanzania in mid-May. “They will be here to explore opportunities in various projects,” he hinted, noting that it would help increase the volume of trade between the two countries.

Official data indicates that last year, the value of Tanzania’s exports to France amounted to $35 million (about 80.5 billion shillings), while its imports were estimated at $60 million ( 138 billion shillings).

“We need to do more and we can do it by increasing investment here,” the ambassador said.

Additional report by Ewen Le Clec’h

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