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Interview: “Luckily, we have been very close to China,” says Tanzania’s Zanzibar president

As the world is grappling with challenges like political tensions and climate change, Africa and China will continue to keep close ties and lend a hand to each other, Tanzania’s Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi said in an interview with Xinhua on Saturday.

“We have been on good cooperation since historical times,” said Mwinyi, who has been in China to attend the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo being held here from Thursday to Sunday.

Over the decades, the two sides, “as very close partners,” have seen “no changes” in their dedication to supporting each other, said Mwinyi.

“Luckily, we have been very close to China … our policies are aligned, and we will continue to work with China,” he added.

China’s economic bounce-back after the COVID-19 pandemic has brought lots of opportunities and injected vitality into the African economy, according to the president.

“Having seen that after the pandemic, things are going back to the pre-pandemic times (in China), we are happy to be here to see that we get development things done again,” he said.

Tanzania is an agricultural country, and through investment in infrastructure and industrial parks, China is equipping the country with the capability to process agricultural products and establish value-added industries, said the president. “This is very important for us.”

“African countries want to be able to be self-reliant,” Mwinyi stressed, adding that cooperation with China is of great importance for them to achieve such a goal and creates a win-win situation beneficial to both sides.

Talking about his impression of China during the visit, the president said that he is “extremely impressed by the achievements in China: the infrastructure and development, and the whole economic improvement.”

“China offers examples worth emulating in the African continent,” Mwinyi said. “We see there is a huge economic growth rate, but we also see a lot of achievement in all sectors.”

In its pursuit of the Chinese modernization, China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, the president pointed out, hailing China’s efforts in eliminating extreme poverty as “a huge achievement on any standards.”

Looking into the future, Mwinyi sees great potential in Tanzania’s cooperation with China.

Bilateral cooperation needs to go with the times. As Tanzania is undergoing a digital transformation, he said, “we will work with the Chinese partners, governmental and private, to make sure that we cooperate in the new sectors like information technology.”

During the interview, the president sent out his invitation to Chinese tourists. “Zanzibar is a very important tourist destination … I would like to see more Chinese tourists in Zanzibar,” Mwinyi said. 

Source: Xinhua