(MENAFN- Nam News Network)
DODOMA (Tanzania), Oct 24 (NNN-AGENCIES) - A multimillion-dollar deal signed between Emirati maritime giant DP World and Tanzania looks set to further entrench the dominance of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Africa's freight industry.
Reports of the $250m deal first emerged in July, sparking criticism by the opposition that it“violated Tanzania's constitution and endangers national sovereignty”.
Activists petitioned a court to halt the deal and were briefly detained for planning anti-government protests.
The high court in Tanzania's south-western town of Mbeya dismissed the petition, paving the way for DP World to manage two-thirds of the Dar es Salaam port for the next 30 years.
Transport Minister Makame Mbarawa said there would be no job losses and that Tanzania would retain 60% of earnings.
DP World says it expects to triple revenue within a decade and speed up the clearance of vessels from the current average of 12 hours to 60 minutes.
Chronic inefficiency, corruption allegations and competition in freight management by neighbouring Kenya are some of the underlying reasons why Tanzania President Samia Suluhu signed off on the agreement.
“People have a right to raise concerns because this is a democracy. And it is the government's job to act,” she said during the signing on Sunday in the administrative capital, Dodoma, downplaying public disquiet.
The UAE is the fourth-largest investor in Africa, after China, Europe and the US. In the last decade, it has invested nearly $60bn in infrastructure and energy sectors across the continent.
DP World – established in 1999 and owned by Emirati ruling families – has increased those inroads with port operations in Angola, Djibouti, Egypt, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal and Somalia.
In 2021, DP World pledged to invest $1bn in Africa over the next several years.
These investments have at times sparked tensions, tested geopolitical relations and – more crucially – intensified competition for infrastructural development in Africa.
Like China, Turkey and Russia, the UAE is increasingly becoming a political and economic counterweight to the West in Africa.
Abu Dhabi's diplomatic presence has been boosted by humanitarian support and defence cooperation, particularly in the Horn of Africa.
It brokered a peace deal between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2018, and delivered thousands of tonnes of food aid to Somalia in 2022 amid warnings of a looming famine.
These relationships have given DP World a near monopoly in the Red Sea region, just north of Tanzania. They have also allowed the UAE to consolidate defence interests in the Gulf of Aden as part of an almost decade-long military offensive in Yemen.
As a result, the UAE – despite its size – has an edge over other Gulf nations as the Horn of Africa is a strategic route for crude oil exports.
DP World Group boss Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said while in Dodoma that the Dar es Salaam port will become a“world-class facility”.
President Suluhu's predecessor, John Magufuli, had long shunned foreign investment and treated international partners with suspicion.
But since taking over in 2021, Samia Suluhu has sought various partnerships with the UAE as a means to“address challenges and grab opportunities as quickly as possible”.
DP World remains an anchor for the UAE to extend its geopolitical ambitions across Africa. - NNN-AGENCIES
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.