China said it is ready to provide $6.8 billion for the construction of Tanzania’s Standard Gauge railway along the Central Corridor. This follows talks held between China’s Ambassador to Tanzania Dr. Lu Youqing and President John Magufuli in which the government has also set aside $454,545 out of its $13.2 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.
A statement issued by the State House reveals that construction of the 2,561 railway is expected to boost the performance of the port of Dar es Salaam and the national economy in general. During their talks, Dr. Magufuli stressed that his optimism that this project will revolutionize the economy of Tanzania and other Eastern and Central African countries including Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In his comments, Dr. Lu applauded President Magufuli and his government for preparations ranging from finances to equipment and human resources in implementing the gigantic project and that the Chinese government, its financial institutions, and other companies will accord their total support towards the implementation of the project.
The whole project will be implemented in phases with the first phase to be implemented jointly between Tanzania and China; the project will involve construction of 1,216 km from Dar-es-Salaam to Mwanza via Isaka and Tabora. President Magufuli has already deployed the Works, Transport and Communication Minister, Prof. Mbarawa to China to complete discussions on the implementation of various projects, including the central line at standard gauge.
It is said that oil discoveries in Kenya and Uganda and gas stumbled on in Tanzania have turned East Africa into an exploration hot-spot for international oil firms but the transport infrastructure in the region had suffered from decades of underinvestment.