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By Alvar Mwakyusa in Nanning, China
PROMOTION of Tanzania's investment and trade opportunities at the ongoing China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) 2018, here, have started yielding positive results with some Chinese investors expressing interest in processing cassava starch.
The good news comes amid the 1 billion US dollars (about 1.22trl/-) agreement between the governments of Tanzania and China in commercialisation of the tubers, which are on high demand in Asian countries, particularly China.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Tanzania Promotion Conference and Business Matching yesterday, the Managing Director of Fosham Guangji Trade Company Limited, Mr Qiu Ruming, told the 'Daily News' in an interview that his company is interested in setting up the processing facility in Tanzania.
"There is a very huge demand for cassava in China. I will travel to Tanzania in November, this year, to explore the possibility of establishing a processing facility there," Mr Ruming explained during the interview at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Centre (NICEC).
The Chinese investor is currently operating four cassava processing factories in neighbouring Vietnam, but he is now eyeing to expand wings to Tanzania, thanks to promotion of Tanzania's investment openings at CAEXPO which attracts 11 countries in the Southern Eastern Asia.
Presenting a paper earlier, the Director General of Tanzania Trade Authority (TanTrade), Mr Edwin Rutageruka, told Chinese investors and businesspersons that his institution currently promotes processing of cassava, cashew nut, coffee and pulses, among other crops.
"China is among largest trading partners with Tanzania and as such we continue to encourage more investments in various sectors of the economy. I also welcome you to participate and showcase products at the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair," Mr Rutageruka wooed the traders.
The Governor of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Mr Liu Muren, described Tanzania as a long time friend of China with abundant resources which provides huge potential for investment from investors in China and ASEAN.
"China and Tanzania have been friends since 1964; there is an old Chinese adage which goes 'Good friends cannot be separated by geographical distances'.
"Tanzania has a unique and picturesque landscape and China will continue to promote trade along the Maritime Silk Road of which Tanzania is included," Mr Muren, who is also the Vice-President of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, stated.
The Head of the Tanzanian delegation at CAEXPO, Zanzibar's 2nd Vice-President, Amb Seif Ali Idd, described the event as an occasion where Tanzania, China and ASEAN get an opportunity to meet and explore potential partnerships.
"Tanzania is now focused on an industrialised economy and thus we need investments in all sectors of the economy namely manufacturing, agriculture, agro-processing, fishing, tourism to mention but a few," Amb Idd remarked.
Apart from the agreement, the envoy noted that the two countries have inked eight agreements on various programmes during the just ended Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC).
Tanzania is the only country outside the China-ASEAN grouping that is attending CAEXPO, as a special partner where 20 of its companies have also been granted an opportunity to showcase their products.
CAEXPO 2018, which is being held parallel with the 15th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS), has attracted high-level delegations from the member countries in addition to investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and members of the media.
This year, the event which is slated to climax on September 15, is held under the theme; "21st Century Maritime Silk Road, promoting policy coordination, road connection, unimpeded trade, monetary circulation and people-to-people exchanges."