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Tanzania: Why Bagamoyo Port deal with China is an uphill battle

Eric Olander
By Eric Olander

Managing Editor, The China Africa Project

Posted on Thursday, 1 July 2021 19:00

Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan attends the funeral service of former President John Magufuli in his home town of Chato, Tanzania Friday, 26 March 2021.(AP Photo)

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan took everyone by surprise late last week when she announced that long-stalled talks with China about expanding the port of Bagamoyo are being resumed.

Negotiations over a multi-billion dollar port deal with China Merchant Holdings (CMH) famously came to an abrupt end in 2019 after late President John Magufuli called the Chinese maritime conglomerate’s terms “exploitative and awkward.”

Among the contractual issues that Magufuli objected to included a 99-year lease, the demand for tax holidays and the right of the government to develop other ports if it so deems.