Tanzanian President John Magafuli has opened a Chinese-built training centre for the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF).
The Comprehensive Training Centre (CTC) was officially opened during a ceremony on 6 February at Mapinga in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region. It was attended by Chinese ambassador Wang Ke.
According to the Presidency, the Sh67.87 billion ($30 million) Centre was built with the assistance of China’s People’s Liberation Army and will be used to provide modern training to the TPDF.
The Centre will provide training to counter current and future threats, the Presidency said. During the opening ceremony, Magafuli witnessed demonstrations that included an amphibious landing and counter-terrorism operations.
Tanzania has enjoyed close defence ties with China, and this has included naval exercises, construction projects and the supply of military equipment. For instance, in November 2014 the two nations concluded the month-long Exercise Beyond/Transcend naval training exercise, the first joint training exercise in the history of bilateral military relations between the two countries. This follows numerous naval visits by China.
China has delivered a variety of military hardware to Tanzania, including 24 Type 63A light amphibious tanks, 12 Type 07PA 120 mm self-propelled mortars, FB-6A mobile short-range air defence systems and A100 300 mm multiple rocket launchers.
This follows military hardware delivered earlier in the decade, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and combat aircraft. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Tanzania received from China two Y-8 transport aircraft in 2003, four ZFB-05 armoured personnel carriers in 2006/7, 30 Type-59G tanks in 2011/13, 14 F-7MG fighters in 2009/12, six K-8 jet trainers in 2011/12 and ten WZ-551 APCS in 2011/12.
Two warships, TNS Mwitongo (P77) and TNS Msoga (P78), were supplied by Poly Technologies in 2015 to fight maritime crime such as illegal fishing and piracy.
The Chinese government also built the Tanzanian Military Academy (TMA) and the Shanghai Construction Group has been contracted by the Tanzanian Ministry of Defence and National Service to construct 12 000 housing units financed by a $550 million loan from the Exim Bank of China.
Chinese civil projects in Tanzania include a rail network, gas pipeline, oil and gas exploration, and a port, amongst others.