The Bagamoyo Port project is being implemented in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. It is expected to be one of the largest government infrastructure projects in the country. The Bagamoyo port and its affiliate industrial zone is meant to address congestion at the old port and support Tanzania to become East Africa’s leading shipping and logistics centers.
Expected to be the largest port in East Africa, the US $10bn port is set to handle 20 million teu by 2045; that is 25 times the amount of cargo Dar es Salaam Port handles. The tri-government venture between Tanzania, China and Oman also involves the construction of a Special economic zone adjacent to the port. 190 industries including the manure processing industry that will be put up by the government of Oman will be constructed around the port. When fully developed, the Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone will attract about 700 industries. The project is backed by an Omani sovereign wealth fund.
The agreement for the project was signed by former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete
Contracts to begin port construction were signed in October 2015 and phase I of the project was set for completion in 2017.
In January, the project was cancelled by President John Magufuli’s government due to unfavorable terms set by the investor. The terms include: Tanzania giving China a guarantee of 33 years and a lease of 99 years, and the country should not question whoever comes to invest there once the port is operational. Also, once the port construction is complete, there should be no other port to be built all the way from Tanga to Mtwara south.
The president of Tanzania said that the conditions set by the investor amount to selling Tanzania to China.
The Tanzanian government officially submitted its letter of approval for the Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone venture to China Merchants Port, agreeing and accepting the investor’s comprehensive project proposal in a cabinet meeting.
The approval by the government represented a breakthrough in the Bagamoyo project. However, China Merchants Port agreed to work with Oman partners to promote the Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone project.
Tanzanian Ambassador to China Mr Mbelwa Kairuki expressed his gratitude for the participation of China Merchants Port in the Bagamoyo project, hoping that they will work with the Oman Sovereign Fund to advance the project. He also assured the potential investors of the government’s commitment to fully support smooth implementation of the project.
The project finally got the go ahead from the stakeholders and work started around June/July.
Construction stalls after China and Tanzania disagreed on terms of infrastructure investment. According to Director General of the state-run Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Deusdedit Kakoko, they were given commercially unviable conditions which they rejected.
In early April, Minister of state in the office of the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Mwambe told parliament that the new administration under President Samia Suluhu Hassan is willing to proceed with the project if contentious terms are altered.
In late June, President Samia Suluhu Hassana announced that her government had begun talks with Chinese investor to revive the project. “We have started talks with investors to revive the Bagamoyo Port project with the aim of opening it for the benefit of our nation,” said President Suluhu.