DAR-ES-SALAAM, Chinese investments in Tanzania have soared in recent years, reaching 2.5 billion US dollars by May this year, or ten times the 282 million USD recorded in 2011, says Tanzanian Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango.

He said China is Tanzania's second major source of foreign investments after India. He assured that more investors were coming to the country, especially in the fields of mineral exploration, agriculture, industry and trade.

Speaking at the sixth Economic and Social Research Foundation's (ESRF) Annual National Conference in Dar es Salaam on Monday, Dr Mpango said estimates showed that Chinese companies were executing more than 70 per cent of the construction projects being undertaken in the country.

The conference brought together participants from Tanzania and China to deliberate on issues related to investments and trade between the two countries to inform on national aspirations of building a significant industrial economy and economic transformation for human development in Tanzania.

China does not see Tanzania as a market but rather a potential place for investment and that is why trade co-operation between our two countries has kept on increasing in the recent years," said the minister, who added that despite the turbulence in the global economy, overall, there had been a significant increase in trade between China and Tanzania over the past decade.

In fact, China has now become Tanzania's large trading partner with Tanzania becoming one of the leading destinations for Chinese investors, he said.

The Chief Representative of Chinese Economic and Commercial Representation in Tanzania, Lin Zhiyong, echoed the Minister's remarks, while expressing optimism over increased Chinese investments in Tanzania in the coming years. He challenged the government to continue improving the investment environment.

Dr Mpango described China as Tanzania's major trading and investment partner, saying: Apart from import and export trade that exists between Tanzania and China, another manifestation of our trade relations includes the role of China in civil engineering industry in Tanzania.

It was a Chinese firm which constructed the imposing Kigamboni Bridge here, said the minister, who was optimistic that Tanzania and China would continue to deepen and broaden their economic ties in future. He expected that in the days ahead, the economic relations between the two nations, if well managed, will play a critical role in Tanzania's development drive.

Tanzania is one of the largest recipients of Chinese aid in Africa, with China providing various kinds of support to Tanzania since 1964. Some of the major Chinese supported projects in Tanzania include construction of the Tanzania�Zambia Railway (TAZARA), and construction of Tanzania�China Textile Friendship Company, URAFIKI.

Other projects are Mbara li Rice Farm and Kiwira Coal Mine in Mbeya region as well as establishment of the Mahonda sugar factory in Zanzibar.