Tanzania’s $10 billion (Ksh1 trillion) Bagamoyo Port has stalled, after major disagreements with China who are the main sponsors.
According to reports by Reuters, the two sides are not reading on the same page in terms of the infrastructure investment, with Tanzania citing high costs.
“The conditions that they have given us are commercially unviable. We said no, let’s meet halfway. It would have been a loss … they shouldn’t treat us like schoolkids and act like our teachers,” Deusdedit Kakoko, director general of the state-run Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) told Reuters.
Tanzania signed an agreement with the China Merchants Holdings International, China’s largest port operator, to build the port in 2013 and a ground breaking ceremony done in 2015. However, nothing has been done to date.
“We are waiting for them to begin new talks. When they are ready, we will resume the negotiations,” said Kakoko.
However, in response, China Merchants downplayed possibilities of further negotiations, saying that many years have been spent on negotiations which have always failed.
“This project is a purely commercial, investment project and China Merchants Port has in its overseas investments always followed the principles of commercial feasibility and win-win cooperation,” the company said.
If the plan succeeded, the Port would have become the largest in East Africa, dwarfing Kenya’s Mombasa Port which the largest in the region.