Two of China’s biggest international infrastructure firms have won a contract to build a $1.32bn railway in Tanzania linking the Lake Victoria port city of Mwanza in the north to the town of Isaka, a distance of some 341km.
It is part of a long-planned 2,561km of new rail lines envisioned by the country’s infrastructure-minded President John Magufuli, who was elected for a second term in October last year.
The idea is to link the port metropolis of Dar es Salaam to Tanzania’s deep interior. Turkish contractor Yapi Merkezi and Portuguese firm Mota-Engil are building other segments of the corridor (see Further reading).
China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Railway Construction Limited will build the Mwanza-Isaka line, reports Reuters.
Tanzanian foreign minister Palamagamba Kabudi (pictured) said the Tanzanian government would pay for it.
He spoke to reporters on Wednesday before signing the agreement in the presence of his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, who was visiting the country.
A date for the start of construction was not given.
China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation built the Ubungo road interchange and other schemes in Tanzania, including a rapid transit bus system in Dar es Salaam.
China Railway Corporation built Ethiopia’s railway to the port of Djibouti.
Image: China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, left, meets his Tanzanian counterpart Palamagamba Kabudi in December 2020 (Chinese Embassy in Tanzania via Twitter)
Tanzania’s long road to rail connectivity:
- 2020: Denmark, Sweden in $1.5bn loan for Tanzania’s 550km railway
- 2018: Work on railway from Tanzania to Kigali, Rwanda to start in December
- 2017: Turkish contractor YapÄ± Merkezi wins $1.9bn Tanzanian rail link
- 2017: Turkish and Portuguese firms to start building Tanzania’s grand railway
- 2017: Tanzania courts Turkey for its rail megaproject, casting doubt on China’s role
- 2016: Tanzania asks China to begin work on $7bn rail ASAP
- 2015: Chinese firms win $9bn Tanzanian rail scheme amid East African transport boom