Bagamoyo Port

By Alessandro Deligios – Art in Tanzania internship

In recent years China has been using their economic power to take more influence in the geopolitical arena. In accordance with the future model of geo-economic competition, China firstly, seems try to and become the leader State in Asia. Second, they are taking more power in many areas of the world. One of the strategies to extend their influence is by the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). This strategy focuses on financing projects in different areas of the world. China is able to deeply link the economy of various countries to theirs and are creating a global economic network that have Chinese economic and financial system as reference – the so-called Beijing consensus.

In particular China is focusing on East Africa and in this region Tanzania-China relationship is a key for Beijing to get a strategic economic position. In 2013 the former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete signed an agreement allowing China to invest in the financing of Bagamoyo port project, around which it should have place a special economic zone. China is expected to have special conditions such as water and energy provisions and security, as well as Tanzania wouldn’t have financing from another competitor port. But in January 2016 the project has been annulled by the President John Magufuli because the agreement for him was like selling Tanzania to Chinese investors.

In climate discussion we know that African countries are the most affected by the problem brought by climate changes, especially by the global warming. The continent probably will be exposed to longer periods of drought and water provision will be always more difficult. In regard to climate change, it is also known that China is one of the major countries that release the highest levels of greenhouse gases. Despite the attempts of the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 and started in 2005, and the Paris Agreement in 2016, emissions have not yet been limited in a satisfactory way. Developed countries have the responsibility to help the development in ecological transitions and the GEF (Global Environment Facility), a program managed by the UN and the Word Bank that give financing to developing countries to help in getting positive results related to four areas: climate changes, desertification, international water pollution, and biodiversity. Good results are got in third and fourth areas, but not in the first two.

At the start of April 2021, the First Minister Geoffrey Mwambe said that Tanzania would be ready for a new agreement about Bagamoyo port project if terms will be changed: in this Tanzania-China relations can be central for the ecological transition of all of Africa. Tanzania could advance conditions for the project according to the UN 2030 Agenda of sustainability goals, cooperating with others African countries for doing the same with others Chinese investments in Africa, when possible. With high chance China is interested in extending their economic influence in Africa to get more global diplomatic weight to be disposed to accept conditions of sustainability for her projects. It could be one of the few ways for China to do that – but not the only, other countries that would like investing in Africa – massively reduce their emissions. This will be more powerful based on how many countries will collaborate. It should be a priority, as it is important for fast growing economies to develop sustainably and must pressure developed countries, especially on China as big global players are trying to extend their own powers.

Sources:

– (About climate issue and international relations)

J. Grieco, G. J. Ikenberry, M. Mastanduno, Introduzione alle relazioni internazionali, UTET, 2017

– (About Bagamoyo port project)

D, Ayemba, Bagamoyo port project timeline and all you need to know, 15 April 2021, on Construction Review Online, https://constructionreviewonline.com/project-timelines/bagamoyo-port-project-timeline-and-all-you-need-to-know/.

P. Mittal, Tanzanian Bagamoyo Port Project Story, 16 September 2020, on Belt and Road News, https://www.beltandroad.news/2020/09/16/tanzanian-bagamoyo-port-project-story/.

A. D’Amaro, Un ponte tra Cina e Africa: il porto di Bagamoyo, Tanzania, 8 September 2020, on Lo Spiegone, https://lospiegone.com/2020/09/08/un-ponte-tra-cina-e-africa-il-porto-di-bagamoyo-tanzania/ .

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