Prime Minister Stephen Harper spent eight hours yesterday in this commercial centre on the Indian Ocean, visiting a school, lunching with Tanzania's President and announcing a $105-million contribution to a new health-care initiative in Africa and Asia.
Yet it was a 45-minute meeting with officials from a dozen Canadian investors, led by mining giant Barrick Gold Corp., that dominated Mr. Harper's news conference with President Jakaya Kikwete.
Thanks in large part to Barrick's three gold mines, Canada has emerged as Tanzania's largest foreign investor, prompting a resource boom that helped Tanzania record a 6.2-per-cent growth rate last year.
Yet the mining success has prompted allegations that royalties are too low and that Tanzania's people, still among the world's poorest, are not sharing adequately in the bonanza.
Adding to this is a nasty labour dispute at Barrick's Bulyanhulu gold mine, where 1,000 of the 1,900 workers have been on what the company calls an illegal strike for the past month.
A court hearing scheduled for yesterday, at which the union hoped to obtain an injunction to stop Barrick from hiring replacement workers, was postponed to today for reasons that were unclear.
Mr. Harper would not comment on the strike other than to say that he expects Canadian companies to "act responsibly within the laws of the land" when they are abroad. He praised Tanzania for creating a stable political and business environment that encourages Canadian companies to invest.
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