AfDB Approves Sh107 Billion Financing for New Burundi-Tanzania Railway Project
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AfDB Approves Sh107 Billion Financing for New Burundi-Tanzania Railway Project

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved financing structures worth $696.41 million (Sh107.23 billion) for Kenya’s neighbors Burundi and Tanzania to commence Phase II of the Joint Tanzania-Burundi-DR Congo Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Project.

The bank’s financing aims to construct 651 kilometers (km) of the Tanzania-Burundi railway line and connect it with the Dar es Salaam Port.

The project will involve the establishment of a single electrified standard gauge track, which will be divided into three sections: Tabora – Kigoma (411 km) and Uvinza – Malagarasi (156 km) in Tanzania, and the Malagarasi –Musongati section (84 km) in Burundi.

The AfDB said in a statement the standard gauge railway project will be integrated with Tanzania’s existing railway network, providing access to the port of Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania has already completed 400km of rail infrastructure from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma in the initial phase of the project. The AfDB emphasizes that the upcoming SGR railway network will not only turn the Central Transport Corridor into an economic hub but also boost trade and manufacturing opportunities in the region.

This initiative aims to shift away from road trucking, reducing accidents and maintenance costs, while connecting vital economic zones and population centers along the central corridor.

Meanwhile, Burundi, a landlocked East African country, has historically relied on Dar es Salaam and Mombasa ports for crucial imports. Kenya’s pursuit of a deal with China for the SGR extension to Malaba remains in progress, seeking to streamline rail cargo transportation from Mombasa to landlocked nations. Uganda, previously adopting a cautious stance during Kenya’s Mombasa to Naivasha SGR line construction, continues to assess developments.

Kenya has also enhanced transport along the corridor by rehabilitating the Naivasha to Malaba meter gauge railway line. Additionally, a new road completed in 2018 between Mombasa and Burundi aims to significantly reduce the distance, enhancing Mombasa Port’s accessibility in the region.

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