China wields enormous influence on Dar -study

Image result for china-tanzaniaChina wields greater influence on Tanzania than any other country and remains the most preferred model for the country’s future development, according to the findings of a new study.

Released in Dar es Salaam, the study shows that more Tanzanians interviewed chose China over the USA, UK, India or South Africa as the best model for future development of their country.

Findings of the Afro barometer study titled ‘Chinese engagement in Tanzania: Is it considered positive or negative by Tanzanians’, shows that Tanzanians say China has more influence on Tanzania than the USA, UK, India and South Africa, or international organisations such as the World Bank.

Presenting findings before a crosssection of government, diplomats and private sector, Research for Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) researcher Stephen Mwombela said the majority of Tanzanians say China’s economic activities in Tanzania have ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of influence on the Tanzanian economy.

“About half of all respondents say China’s economic development assistance does ‘somewhat of a good job’ or ‘a very good job’ of meeting Tanzania’s needs,” he noted.

The study sampled 2,386 adult citizens. The researcher said Tanzanians see China’s economic and political influence on Tanzania as mostly positive, according to the survey.

But only about half of Tanzanians say that Chinese assistance does ‘somewhat of a good job’ or ‘a very good’ of meeting Tanzania’s needs.

Chinese business investments and investments in infrastructure are leading factors contributing to China’s positive image in Tanzania, while perceptions of Chinese products contribute both positively (related to their cost) and negatively (related to their quality) to China’s image in Tanzania, the survey shows.

These results have come at a time when China’s economy and global profile have been growing -- along with its demand for natural resources, which may have implications on the dynamics of the long standing Tanzania-China relations.

The key findings show that out in 10 Tanzanians cite China as the country with the greatest influence on Tanzania, followed by the United States (31%).

It shows that seven in 10 Tanzanians (70%) say China’s economic and political influence on Tanzania is ‘somewhat positive’ or ‘very positive’. About half (51%) of respondents say China’s economic development assistance does ‘somewhat good job’ or ‘very good job’ of meeting Tanzania’s needs.

Some 71 per cent of the people say China’s economic activities in Tanzania have influence on the country’s economy. He said the factors that contribute most to a positive image of China in Tanzania include Chinese business investments in Tanzania, the cost of Chinese products, and China’s investment in infrastructure in Tanzania.

However, the factors that contribute most to a negative image of China in Tanzania include the quality of Chinese products and Chinese economic activities taking jobs or business from the locals.

The study also shows that Tanzanians have a positive attitude towards Chinese engagement in the country. China is the preferred model for Tanzania’s development, it adds.

Speaking at the gathering, Ambassador Charles Sanga, who has in the past been Tanzania’s Ambassador to China and now lectures at the Centre for Foreign Relations in Dar es Salaam, said China has no intention of creating spheres of influence but rather needs cooperation.

He said countries of the sort have moved away from state to state cooperation into people to people cooperation. He said China had remained strong in its policy of non interference of internal affairs of any state. “As diplomats, we go out there because we have national interests that we cannot achieve on our own.

As a former Tanzania ambassador to China, I have always encouraged them to come here -- first as a way of implementing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCA) and second to come and share their technology and make money,” he said.

Addressing the participants, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga said that as far as the relationship between China and Tanzania was concerned, the round has already been set and it was up to the latter to leverage it and see how it can industrialise.

REPOA Executive Director, Professor Samuel Wangwe, said the way a country engages with another partner also helps it build its national interests. He said Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) can come in but it was up to Tanzania to facilitate the industrialisation process in its own terms.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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