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DP World’s Bold Expansion in Tanzania: Africa’s Ports

DP World’s Bold Expansion in Tanzania: Africa’s Ports

The recent multimillion-dollar deal between DP World and Tanzania is set to solidify the United Arab Emirates’ dominance in Africa’s freight industry, but it has faced criticism and opposition from activists who believe it violates Tanzania’s constitution and threatens national sovereignty.

The $250 million deal, which allows DP World to manage two-thirds of the Dar es Salaam port for the next 30 years, has sparked concerns about job losses and the potential loss of earnings for Tanzania. However, Transport Minister Makame Mbarawa has assured that there will be no job losses and that Tanzania will retain 60% of earnings.

DP World expects to triple its revenue within a decade and aims to speed up the clearance of vessels from the current average of 12 hours to just 60 minutes. The company’s expansion into Africa is part of its larger strategy to invest $1 billion in the continent over the next several years.

The UAE’s investments in Africa, including its infrastructure and energy sectors, have made it the fourth-largest investor in the continent. DP World, owned by Emirati ruling families, has established port operations in several African countries, including Angola, Djibouti, Egypt, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, and Somalia.

These investments have not only intensified competition for infrastructure development in Africa but have also tested geopolitical relations. The UAE, like China, Turkey, and Russia, is becoming a political and economic counterweight to the West in Africa.

The UAE’s diplomatic presence has been strengthened by its humanitarian support and defense cooperation in the Horn of Africa, including brokering a peace deal between Eritrea and Ethiopia and providing food aid to Somalia. These relationships have given DP World a near monopoly in the Red Sea region, north of Tanzania.

Despite political pressure and disputes with governments, DP World has continued its operations in Somalia’s Bossaso port and Berbera in the self-declared republic of Somaliland. Its ventures in Djibouti, however, have led to a costly legal battle when the country attempted to seize the Doraleh Container Terminal from DP World.

Overall, DP World’s expansion in Africa, including its recent deal in Tanzania, highlights the UAE’s growing influence in the region’s freight industry and its efforts to establish a strategic position in key locations for trade and defense interests.

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