The Tanzanian Ministry of Defence and National Service has contracted the Shanghai Construction Group of China to construct 12 000 housing units for the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force (TPDF) in a two-phase project financed by a $550 million loan from the Exim Bank of China.
According to Tanzanian newspaper Daily News, the first phase will see the construction and handover of 6 600 units in the municipalities of Dar es Salaam and Arusha by the end of 2016. The second phase will involve the construction of more units in 40 more cities and towns across the country.
Shanghai Construction Group Deputy General Manager (International Department) Xun Xiaohui said the two parties have already signed a memorandum of understanding which paves way for the work.
He said despite the various challenges the company expects during the implementation of the project, it will still be completed on time.
“The project covers (about) 40 towns and cities in Tanzania. The biggest challenge involves transporting construction material and equipment to the sites. We will also face setbacks by torrential rains that are likely to be falling in some areas from time to time,” Xiaohui said.
Xiaohui said project, which is the Chinese company’s first in Tanzania, will take up to 50 months to complete.
The company has already has set its eyes on negotiating for potential Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) deals in the energy, infrastructure (including airports and seaports) and other civil engineering jobs in Tanzania.
The deal marks yet another milestone in the growing defence relationship between the two countries. In recent years, China has built Tanzania’s first defence and staff college, provided a wide range of weapons including aircraft and provided training for the TPDF navy.
Earlier this year it emerged that the TPDF had received Type 63A amphibious tanks, A100 multiple rocket launchers and Type 07PA self-propelled mortars from China. Other weapons revealed to be in service with Tanzania include WZ 551 armoured personnel carriers fitted with 12.7 and 7.62 mm machineguns in an enclosed turret.
Tanzanian defence minister Shamsi Nahodha said in May that the military acquisition programme is in line with the country’s desire to secure its newly-found petroleum resources and enhance its capacity to defend its maritime borders. The TPDF has over the years strengthened its defence relations with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with the PLA running various training programmes to improve the operational capabilities of the naval, aerial and land forces.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Tanzania has taken delivery of a variety of Chinese equipment over the last decade including 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.