PARTS OF DAR SUBMERGED IN FLASH FLOODS AGAIN AS CHINESE PRESIDENT VISITS
Like on Christmas eve, the Easter week too has now seen raging floods sweeping through parts of Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam, as drainage was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of water which fell from the skies above. From reports it was learned that many of those displaced a few months ago appear to have returned to their initial dwellings only to be chased away once more by fast rising waters, again losing property but thankfully no loss of life was reported on this occasion, unlike on Christmas 2012 when several lives were lost.
The flash flood brought traffic in parts of Dar es Salaam to a standstill on the very day when the new Chinese President Xi Jinping started his official visit to Tanzania, the first country he chose to visit since assuming office a short while ago. He is accompanied by a large business delegation besides a number of government officials. This is largely considered to serve notice on the traditional political powers in the West, that China will continue their close engagement, economically and politically, with the African continent, where most of the recent years’ mega infrastructure projects are now financed by Chinese banks and built by Chinese companies. Chinese companies have also secured massive investments and partnerships in particular for mining, gas and oil concessions on the continent, as their fast growing economy back home needs to be fueled by cheap raw materials, in rich supply in Africa. The recent finds of major gas deposits off the coast of Tanzania are seen as one of the potential areas where China could sign additional agreements with the Tanzanian government, which in turn is keen to see such projects as the TAZARA railway rehabilitated, power plants, roads and bridges built and perhaps a partner found for ailing Air Tanzania, and on / off situation with Chinese investors for the past several years. On the downside has China been accused of being the main driver of the blood ivory trade and it is hoped that President Kikwete will raise the issue that China needs to do more on the domestic front to curb the hunger and greed for the ‘white gold’ as ivory is often described. From Tanzania will Xi Jinping and his delegation visit South Africa and Congo before returning home to Beijing.
A growing number of Chinese tourists are also now visiting Tanzania, able to reach the country with one stop via flights by Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways, all of which fly daily to a number of destinations in China and offer convenient connections for holiday visitors from the world’s most populous country.