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Tanzanian makes home in China, hopes to establish version of Alibaba in Africa

(People's Daily Online)    08:55, May 06, 2020

Hoping to establish a website similar to "African version of Alibaba" in Tanzania to help local farmers lead a better life, John Vedasto Rwehumbiza, director of the Tanzania Chinese Chamber of Commerce (TCCC), chose to settle in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province in 2007 to develop his own career.

(Photo/Guangzhou Daily)

Now able to speak fluent Chinese, John came to study and work in China as early as 1987, later returning to Tanzania to continue his work in China-Africa trade before settling in Guangzhou.

John said that his suppliers of agricultural products in Africa are distributed all over rural Tanzania, and orders for cassava, an agricultural product that can be used as raw materials for alcohol, have soared during the epidemic outbreak.

John revealed that life in Guangzhou is very interesting, and he makes a lot of Chinese friends. During the Chinese New Year, his family goes to his friends' hometown in the countryside. "We celebrate the New Year with ordinary people in the countryside. My children eat local food for the first time and watch setting off firecrackers for the first time. They all like it very much."

The COVID-19 epidemic broke their Spring Festival tradition this year. John shared, "My Chinese friend are really very great!" stressing again that no matter what difficulties he had, his friends would be very concerned and help him solve them.

(Photo/Guangzhou Daily)

At the beginning of the epidemic, it was rather difficult for John to buy face masks. "We went to the drugstore, and the drugstore ran out of masks. We really couldn't buy them even if we had the money." He said that as soon as his friends knew that he didn't have a mask, they lent a helping hand.

John used the word "admiration" to describe China's strict epidemic prevention and control measures. He said that when the the outbreak of the epidemic started, many countries in the world would accuse China of not doing well, but as the virus spread people realized that China was actually doing an excellent job.

As to the economy in Africa, John joked that although many roads in Africa are not well built at present, many people have ridden motorcycles made in China. "In this process, China and Africa have achieved a win-win situation."

He cited the export of agricultural products such as cassava as an example. He is very optimistic about the future development of this industry, because the demand for alcohol and starch is very high in China. "Alcohol can be used to make medical alcohol, industrial alcohol, etc. In Africa, we use cassava blocks to process semi-finished products, which are then supplied to Chinese alcohol factories for processing."

John revealed more than 10 million farmers in Tanzania are currently supplying him with cassava, "because the technical content is not too high, we mainly give the equipment to local farmers who will later be guided by technical teams from China and Tanzania, so that the farmers can increase production and efficiency."

John also shared that he hopes to establish a website serving as an "African version of Alibaba" in Africa. "Our farms are scattered, so our professional team is planning to build an information platform to connect small and medium-sized farms in rural Tanzania and exchange information."

He added that "for example, some need equipment; some want to sell products. I would like to integrate our strengths so that farmers can lead a better life. " 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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