On the occasion of the commemoration of the French National Day, the French Ambassador to Tanzania, HE Frédéric CLAVIER, gave an exclusive interview to The Citizen and reaffirmed France’s desire to boost bilateral economic relations.
Question: Excellency, what does July 14 represent for the French and the world?
CF: “Historically speaking, July 14 celebrates the victory of the people against injustice and an oppressive political system leading to the sovereignty of the whole nation. Since then, July 14 has become the occasion to recall the fundamental values and the motto of the French nation: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. In this sense, France and Tanzania share many values, thus allowing mutual understanding and a relationship of trust since the independence of Tanganyika in December 1961.
This trust that we have built over the years allows us to benefit from strong cooperation on various and important subjects, economic, political, cultural and societal. The most recent example is our joint work for the success of the Generation Equality Forum, which was held in Paris from June 30 to July 2, with the exceptional visit of the Vice-President, HE Dr. Philip Mpango, embodying the commitments of Tanzania for gender equality. “
Q: Your Excellency, can you tell us where France-Tanzania economic and trade relations stand?
CF: “Bilateral exchanges between France and Tanzania are increasing but are not, in my opinion, representative of the quality of our bilateral relations, even if we have witnessed constant growth in recent years.
In 2020, the total amount of trade between France and Tanzania represented $ 150 million. More than 90% of French exports are based on 4 major sectors: mechanical equipment, electrical, electronic and computer equipment; while Tanzania’s imports come mainly from the agro-food sector, forestry and fishing industry.
In order to pave the way for deeper and stronger bilateral economic relations, the Franco-Tanzanian Chamber of Commerce (FTCC) was launched in January 2020 with the objective of promoting partnerships between French and Tanzanian companies.
I am convinced that our bilateral exchanges will continue to increase in the years to come because we attest to the efforts of President Hassan to put the economy at the center of Tanzania’s foreign policy, his desire to improve the business climate in the country. countries and promote the economic integration of East Africa. “
Q: What are the main sectors in which French companies have invested heavily recently in Tanzania?
CF: “Today, more than 40 French companies are established in Tanzania, including 13 multinationals. In recent years, French companies have mainly invested in the energy, transport and new technologies sectors.
I cannot name all the companies but, for example, everyone has heard of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), with the participation of TotalEnergies. This pipeline that will transport Ugandan oil to Tanga for export to world markets is one of the most ambitious projects underway in East Africa. It will cross 8 regions of Tanzania and create around 10,000 jobs for Tanzanians.
Let me also enlighten you Maurel & Bal, which has been operating one of the 3 gas fields in operation in Tanzania since 2006, or Engie Energy Access, created in 2020 to bring together its off-grid electrification activities under a single entity: construction of mini-grids and distribution of solar home kits .
In the transport sector, CMA CGM manages 12% of transport services in Tanzania, in the ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Mtwara and Zanzibar. Bolloré Transport & Logistics has structured its activities around the dry port of Dar es Salaam and freight transit by road to landlocked countries in the west. Last but not least, Airbus delivered 2 A220-300s to Air Tanzania in 2018 and 2019 and plans to deliver 2 additional aircraft during the year.
Finally, let me mention the company Carwatt which transforms thermal cars into electric vehicles. Established in Tanzania via E. motion Africa, created in 2019, it aims to electrify the Dar es Salaam bus network and all safari vehicles circulating in National Parks.
Q: Besides economic support, what are the main development projects that France has implemented?
CF: “The French Development Agency (AFD) has been working with Tanzania for 25 years, focusing mainly on financing infrastructure in the energy, water and transport sectors. Financial commitments have more than doubled in 3 years, reaching $ 180 million each year. This shows France’s confidence in Tanzania’s development capacity.
For the coming years, the strategy is to remain focused on these 3 sectors but also to diversify its funding towards the conservation of biodiversity and climate resilient and sustainable agriculture.
Q: France has been very active in supporting developing countries, especially in Africa, to deal with the impact of COVID-19. How did France support Tanzania?
CF: “French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a summit in Paris last May on the financing of African economies. It was the 1st International Summit attended by President Samia Suluhu Hassan (virtually). The objective was to decide on ways to help cope with the health and economic crisis of the pandemic in Africa. President Macron called for an “African New Deal,” proposing that rich countries reallocate some of their IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to African economies in order to raise at least $ 100 billion for Africa.
A few days later, on behalf of the French government and in the presence of the PS of the Ministry of Finance and Planning Mr. Emmanuel Tutuba, I signed a Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The initiative, launched by President Macron, aims to delay debt repayment, freeing up cash that governments can use to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.
Finally, the theme of the 28th Africa-France Summit, which will take place in France in early October, will focus on “Better cities for a better life”. It will aim to develop new political collaborations and economic partnerships to share knowledge on sustainable cities and territories, but also in other fields, such as health, education, urban planning and culture.