January 15, 2018
By Joe Lihundi, The Tranquility News reporter, Arusha
The construction of over 400 kilimotre of a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) linking Isaka in Tanzania and Kigali in Rwanda will start anytime this year, President John Magufuli of Tanzania said yesterday.
Speaking shortly after a bilateral meeting with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday, President Magufuli said they have given infrastructure ministers from both countries two weeks to work on the modality of financing the project.
Dr Magufuli said much as feasibility study and a detailed design were accomplished and a transaction adviser has already submitted his report, a foundation stone for the construction of the rail must be laid down before December this year.
He said both Tanzania and Rwanda have already started setting own funds and were mulling over lending extra funds each for the five-year project aimed at linking the Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania with Kigali in Rwanda and Bujumbura in Burundi in the East African countries’ bid to lower transport costs.
We’ll use our experience from the construction of the 700 kilomtres from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora for implementing the joint project, we can’t fail, – Tanzania President John Magufuli.
President Kagame, who arrived in Tanzanian on Sunday for a one-day state visit, was received by his host President Magufuli at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam.
Dr Magufuli said Tanzania will also construct 400 plus kilometres of SGR from Makutupora in Dodoma to Isaka. The country is already constructing 700 plus kilometer of SGR from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora at $3.4 billion.
The Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi and Portuguese firm Mota-Engil are building the stretch of the railway scheduled to be accomplished by October next year.
“We’ll use our experience from the construction of the 700 kilomtres from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora for implementing the joint project, we can’t fail,” Dr Magufuli stressed.
He said he was optimistic the central railway line will boost trade between the two countries. Cargo from the Dar es Salaam Port to Rwanda though reached 950,000 tonnes last year; trade between the two countries has been fluctuating over the years.
The volume of trade between Tanzania and Rwanda was worth $48 million in 2011, $12.2 million in 2012, $59.2 million in 2013, $28.9 million in 2015 and $37.6 million in 2015.
President Magufuli said the SGR will also increase chances for
Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda to separately extract nickel deposits available in these countries.
The central railway line is divided into five sections of Dar es Salaam-Morogoro, Morogoro-Makutupora, Makutupora-Tabora, Tabora-Mwanza, Tabora-Kigoma and Isaka-Kigali-Bujumbura.
In another development, President Magufuli said Tanzania will accord President Kagame full support when he takes over the African Union chairmanship from President Alpha Conde of Guinea later this year.
President Kagame, in turn, extended his gratitude to Dr Magufuli, saying “I am happy to work with President Magufuli and other African presidents. They have given me these responsibilities because they are ready to give me support to enable me accomplish my tasks”.
He said, as the AU chairman, he will emphasize on creating the right environment for youth to acquire skills and grab opportunities. “All African countries must cooperate in educating and nurturing the youth for them to grow,” he said.