Jump to navigation


Dubai faces legal hurdles with port plan

DP World's port plans on pause after Dar es Salaam withdraws legal changes that would have facilitated the deal

President Samia Suluhu Hassan appears to have backed down following a damaging row over a controversial agreement signed in February with the United Arab Emirates for logistics giant DP World to run the port of Dar es Salaam.

Although the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between Arusha and Dubai was approved by the National Assembly in June, that prompted a major backlash from opposition politicians and civil society who warned that the pact amounted to a cut-price sell-off of a key state asset. The IGA specified a contract of indefinite length and with little clarity on the financial terms. It also leaves the way clear for DP World's operations to expand to run other ports in mainland Tanzania. 

Last month, the High Court threw out an appeal by a group of activists including lawyer Boniface Mwabukusi and opposition politician, Mdude Nyagali, both of whom were arrested after criticising the agreement as unconstitutional (Dispatches 22/8/23, Samia's response to Emirati port deal critics prompts backlash).

Last week, Attorney General Eliezer Feleshi said that the government had withdrawn proposed modifications to two laws designed to 'enable Tanzania's ports to operate at international standards level and attract more countries, more ships, and larger cargoes', both important requirements set out in the IGA with Dubai. Putting these amendments on the back burner means the port contract cannot progress.

National Assembly speaker Tulia Ackson has since stated that there will be no further parliamentary debates on the DP World deal until the government presents any new agreements or provisions. 

Minister for Works, Makame Mbarawa, insisted last week that the commercial terms had not been worked out with DP World but that the agreement would expand Tanzania's trade links.

Related Articles

After Mwalimu

When Tanzanians stop mourning their Pan-African hero, they will have to work hard to keep the peace he left them

Saddened by the death of their founding President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, in London on 14 October, Tanzanians face a difficult run-up to the elections due next year without his st...

Risks for all in mining row

The escalating conflict with Acacia may define both Magufuli's presidency and the future of the extractive industries

Now that the second committee appointed by President John Magufuli to look at Acacia Mining's exports of gold-copper concentrate has largely backed the findings of the first, the b...

Nation mourns the 'nearly man' Lowassa

Despite his burning ambition the late Edward Lowassa was ever the bridesmaid and never the bride, but his career exemplified national politics

Edward Lowassa, who has died aged 70, was a close friend, confidant and ally of ex-President Jakaya Kikwete who spent a fortune advancing his prospects and embracing any part of th...

Watergate, the sequel

A controversial US$143.5 million project to commercialise Tanzania's water and sewage system has ended in acrimony and political embarrassment for the World Bank and the British go...