Tanzania’s relationship status with China: It’s complicated


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The January visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wáng Yì 王 to Tanzania highlighted the East African country’s growing importance to Beijing. It’s a strategically located Belt and Road country that has the potential to serve as a major gateway to inland regional markets and provide easy access to some of Africa’s largest ports on the Indian Ocean.

But relations between the two countries have been quite bumpy over the past couple of years. President John Magufuli famously and quite publicly rejected a Chinese deal to rebuild the Port of Bagamoyo, and there was widespread outrage in Tanzania in response to the poor treatment of African residents in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

University of Dar es Salaam political science lecturer Muhidin Shangwe is among the world’s leading Sino-Tanzanian affairs scholars. He joins Eric and Cobus to discuss why Wang chose to visit Tanzania now and how Beijing’s ties there are quite different from those in other East African countries.