• Tanzania, Korea ink USD 2.5bn trade pact, cooperation MoU
    • Tanzania President Samia completes 6-day Korean visit
    • Tanzania earmarks five regions for the ‘Smart City’ project

Tanzania-Korea relations

Tanzania-Korea relations are growing, with the latter securing a $2.5 billion soft loan from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF).

The loan comes on the heels of Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s state visit to the Republic of Korea.

The Tanzania-Korea loan was subject to criticism surrounding its terms. Still, the government of Tanzania has refuted claims that the loan has a security guarantee clause that may have forced the government to ‘mortgage’ some of the country’s resources.

Chief Government Spokesman Mr. Mobhare Matinyi was forced to elaborate on the loan terms following the ongoing social media buzz about what the spokesperson described as ‘misinformation.’

“The government has not mortgaged anything or any property because this loan does not have any conditions that require any security of any kind, Mr. Matinyi reassured stakeholders.

“The information been spread on the internet by some media that the government mortgaged part of the sea is a misrepresentation, the official said in his rebuff to the critics.

The media chatter comes after President Samia’s six-day official state visit to Korea. The visit has culminated in the signing of several bilateral agreements and a Framework Agreement with the Republic of Korea,

The State House press statement describes the visit as ‘a significant milestone in Tanzania-Korea relations and says it has ‘yielded valuable insights and agreements expected to enhance bilateral cooperation and bring tangible benefits to both nations.’

President Samia was accompanied by several high-ranking government officials, including Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Natu Mwamba who shared his optimism following the visit.

“Tanzania has traditionally received assistance from Republic of Korea in various sectors such as energy, transport, infrastructure, education, health, agriculture and water…We are now tasked with identifying projects for implementation, she told a press conference held at State House.

Dr. Mwamba told the press conference that the Tanzania Planning Commission is developing a systematic approach to initiating national project proposals.

She said the suggested proposals implemented under the Framework Agreement have been reviewed and refined. Then, the Ministry of Finance will conduct an evaluation and prioritisation process to determine which projects should be implemented first.

“Once finalised, the projects will be discussed with the Republic of Korea through a policy dialogue process, paving the way for mutually agreed-upon implementations, she explained.

“The selected projects will align with Tanzania’s priorities and development goals, focusing on skills and technology acquisition, she said.

Another delegate on the Korean mission team was Professor Kitila Mkumbo, Minister of State in the President’s Office (Planning and Investment), who told the press conference that Tanzania has a lot to learn from the Republic of Korea, which he said has made remarkable progress through self-reliance and significant foreign investments.

“There is great potential to attract Korean investors to Tanzania…they are investing heavily oversees and we have an abundance of opportunities in the country, the delegate reasoned.

Prof Mkumbo underscored the identified priority investment areas, which include modernising and commercialising the agriculture sector in Tanzania.

“We are seeking to enhance productivity through mechanisation and agro-processing, there is huge potential to leverage the Republic of Korea’s expertise in these sectors, he noted.

Other strategic focus areas include the development of the mineral sub-sector, with Tanzania prioritising in-country mineral processing to add value before export.

Also Read: Tanzania smart agriculture initiatives combat climate change

 Tanzania-Korea investment pact to fund ‘Smart Cities’

Dodoma as a smart city.[Photo/linkedin.com]
Through the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), Tanzania has inked an agreement with the Korean firm Generating Company Limited to entice Korean investment companies.

The pact is designed to boost Korean investment in Tanzania and was signed during a visit to Pangyo Techno Valley (PTV), an information technology hub with investments in biotechnology, cultural technology, and fusion technology.

In briefing the press on the pact’s scope, Tanzania’s Minister for Information, Communication, and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye, said Tanzania wants to establish an ICT center similar to the PTV in Dodoma.

 “The Republic of Korea has shown willingness to provide a loan for the project’s construction, he told the press.

The minister detailed that Tanzania has already earmarked several of its cities as smart cities, including Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Arusha, Mwanza, and Mbeya.

Along with the government officials, representatives from the Tanzania Startups Association (TSA) attended the visit to PTV.

TSA officials said the visit was crucial to studying Korea’s innovative city initiatives to gain insights into improving Tanzania’s smart city efforts.

On that same visit, Tanzania and the Republic of Korea signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to establish a mutually beneficial trade network with partner nations.

“This agreement is of a smaller scope compared to traditional free trade agreements but it does cover key areas including the importance of product quality, continuity and rules of origin, explains Industry and Trade Minister Dr. Ashatu Kijaji.

In his explanation, Dr. Kijaji cited the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a World Trade Organisation initiative that promotes economic development by eliminating duties for some 10,998 products.

“When any of these products are imported from designated beneficiary countries, they are duty free…out of these, 1,126 are agricultural products and as an agriculture reliant country, Tanzania stands to benefit, she elaborated.

The delegate was, however, keen to point out that Tanzania’s utilisation of this preferential scheme has been limited; “We need to emphasise areas such as product quality, continuity and the rule of origin in our discussions to benefit fully from these opportunities, she stressed.

We desire that as we begin discussions in all sectors of the economy and production, that we will emphasise product quality, continuity and the rule of origin, Dr. Kijaji said and admitted that such pacts leave out Tanzanian products because of poor quality.

So now we wish for the Republic of Korea to teach Tanzanians about standards so that they can produce products that meet global market criteria and basic requirements like the rule of origin, she elaborated.

“We have the resources, we have the agricultural products as well, what is preventing us from using these global pacts is the fact that we do not meet the global standards, she admitted.

Read Also: Tanzania upbeat to become Africa’s top tourism destination

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Giza Mdoe is an experienced journalist with 10 plus years. He's been a Creative Director on various brand awareness campaigns and a former Copy Editor for some of Tanzania's leading newspapers. He's a graduate with a BA in Journalism from the University of San Jose. Contact me at giza.m@mediapix.com

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