Russia to get foothold on East Africa through Tanzania

02May 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Russia to get foothold on East Africa through Tanzania

Russian manufacturing giants – Russian Helicopters, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and United Wagon Company (UWC) – are eager to work on industrial projects in Tanzania.

Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov.

"Tanzania, with a population of over 40 million, is a sizable market for us and a platform for expanding the presence in East Africa, negotiating joint production ventures, in addition to direct imports," said Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov.

Manturov who led a delegation of Russian businessmen on a visit to Dar es Salaam last week, said Russia is returning to Africa after withdrawing in the 1990s.

"It [Africa] has always been of interest to us so it’s only logical that we’ve decided to come back," he stated.

Russia is ready to construct a nuclear reactor in Tanzania for scientific research and medical purposes, Manturov stated.

"Today, we discussed with the Vice President of Tanzania our readiness to ensure the construction of a nuclear reactor for scientific research in Tanzania, including for medical purposes. Our colleagues are interested in it."

According to Manturov, Russia has been implementing over 50 similar projects, including 20 in Russia and more than 30 worldwide.

Manturov and representatives of major Russian state and private companies headed to East Africa earlier in the week with the aim to restore the country's positions in the region.

Assistance in the construction of reactors for research purposes with the use of Russian technologies is one of the main directions of Russian comprehensive cooperation with countries that are starting to develop their civilian nuclear programs.

Meanwhile, Russia may start industrial-scale uranium mining in the country by 2018, Manturov said Moscow hopes to clinch a deal with the host government to start extracting uranium on an industrial scale in the country’s southern regions.

Mkuju River mine is an open pit mine deemed one of the world’s most promising sources of uranium. It is operated by Uranium One. Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom owns 100 percent of the firm's external shares through affiliates.

"We expect to sign a mining deal soon that will flesh out conditions on the industrial development of this mine… We project that Rosatom can reach the industrial scale of uranium mining in 2018," Manturov said.

Rosatom joined the Mkuju River Project in 2011, bringing up the amount of prospected uranium deposits by 70 percent over the past four years, from the initial 35,000 tonnes to 59,000 tonnes of uranium ore.

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