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Tanzania’s Relationship Status With China: It’s Complicated

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s January visit 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 along with 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 re-build 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 Shangwe Muhidin is among the world’s leading Sino-Tanzanian affairs scholars and joins Eric & 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.

Show Notes:

About Muhidin Shangwe:

Muhidin Shangwe is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam. He graduated from the East China Normal University where he obtained a PhD in International Relations in 2017. His doctoral research was about Chinese Soft Power in Africa, and has continued to study general Chinese engagement in the continent.

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