China’s latest African building contracts prove ‘stadium diplomacy’ is a winning formula

by Jevans Nyabiage at

Contracts to build two new major stadiums in Tanzania and Kenya have been awarded to Chinese companies, with observers saying the move is part of Beijing’s long-standing tradition of “stadium diplomacy”.

A 30,000-seat stadium in Arusha, northern Tanzania, and a 60,000-seat one in the Kenyan capital Nairobi will both host football matches during the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). They are the latest in a long list of stadiums Chinese companies have built in Africa, as part of a longer-term plan by Beijing to boost diplomatic ties by funding large-scale infrastructure projects.
On Tuesday, Tanzania awarded the state-owned China Railway Construction Engineering Group (CRCEG) a US$112 million contract to build the arena in Arusha, which will be named the Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan Stadium, after the country’s current president.

According to the Tanzanian minister for culture, arts and sports, Damas Ndumbaro, the stadium will be completed in time for Afcon, Africa’s biggest sporting competition, which Tanzania will jointly host with East African neighbours Kenya and Uganda.

The stadium will also host other activities such as athletics and trade events, helping to boost tourism in the country.