L'ivresse des contrats d'infrastructure

L'ivresse des contrats d'infrastructure
Thierry Pairault

Nous avons eu l’occasion d’évoquer le cas du contrat sino-monténégrin pour la construction d’une autoroute et avons vu comment un texte avait été manipulé afin d’asseoir un pouvoir de marchandage dans des discussions avec l’Europe et par delà avec la Chine (Monténégro-Chine : les racines du mal, une mauvaise traduction ! ). Nous avions également évoqué ici la phrase du nouveau président tanzanien qui conspuait son prédécesseur et annulait un prêt chinois en affirmant que Only a drunkard would accept these terms (Only a drunkard...). Dans le cas de la négociation pour la construction du port de Bagomoyo, les autorités tanzaniennes semblent également avoir instrumentalisé une négociation mal embarquée pour faire pression sur la Chine. En l’occurrence, les faits et l’argumentation que ChengWang @SadiqChengWang (un ancien fonctionnaire du MOFCOM) énonce sur Twitter sont intéressants à lire : 

There was never a $10b loan deal on Bagamoyo project. This number is, instead, the final investment achievement committed by the investors & operators. It’s not only misleading but a complete lie by using $10b loan.

The project is a tripartite one, main investors are China Merchant Group (CMG) & SGRF from Oman. I cannot remember the exact data, but SGRF should owns no less than 10% share of this project, and need to make investment matching its share.

Why Bagamoyo? Ppl that are familiar with the condition of port and its terminals at Dar es Salam, they all understand how crowd it is and how terrible the traffic around the port is. The former president Kikwete wanted to solve this problem.

Then CMG brought its proposal about Bagamoyo. If achieved, the relationship and status will be like HK & Shenzhen. SGRF from Oman also has interests considering the historical tie between the Sultanate & Tanzania.

However, Bagamoyo will move the cheese of Port of Dar es Salam because it will take away business from the latter when construction completes. There are obstacles against Bagamoyo & difficult bruising battle within Gov of Tanzania ensued with the pro-Port lobby.

More affected, when President Magufuli succeeded in 2015, new leader shifted his focus to Central Line. Meantime, CMG decided to concentrate on its project in Djibouti when it found too many difficulties ahead of Bagamoyo. The project is then on hold for years.

If cancelled, it might be good news and a release for all parties involved. However, to mislead public opinion by using fake contents is disgusting. It's funny to see someone seriously talking debt trap behind Bagamoyo. When $10b loan is untrue, where comes the debt?

Also someone comments on TAZARA & using its gauge to blame China. This guy must be insane & has nonsense but pretends to be railway expert or historian. The track gauge of TAZARA is 3ft 6in (1067mm). This is not Chinese standard, no railway in China designed like this.

Why 3ft6in? This is Cape Gauge, which was widely used in Southern Africa, especially under the operation of Rhodesia Railways. By using this track gauge, it would be feasible to connect TAZARA with the railways in Zimbabwe at that time, upon the request of Zambia.

We could say Bagamoyo is not a successful investment project till today, but this is common, right? No one can guarantee the success of every project. The unsuccess of a project doesn’t sound ridiculous, instead, the manipulation & misinformation do. Stop lying!