Tanzania and Burundi agree on $900m rail link

Gitega, capital of Burundi, will be connected to the sea via Dar es Salaam (GATETE Pacifique/CC BY-SA 4.0)
The government of Tanzania has signed an agreement to extend its standard gauge railway (SGR) to Gitega, the capital of neighbouring Burundi.

Tanzania’s finance minister Mwigulu Nchemba and nominated Tanzanian member of parliament Makame Mbarawa signed the agreement. Mwigulu said the 282km section, which is expected to cost no more than $900m would be financed jointly by the two countries’ governments.

In a statement, Mbarawa commented that the project was important for the two countries as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which uses Dar es Salaam port for its trade.

According to the ministers, the line will allow the export of more than 1 million tonnes of freight and 3 million tonnes of minerals from Burundi.

Tanzania will construct a 156km section from the towns of Malagarasi and Uvinza, near the border, while Burundi will build a 126km stretch to Gitega.

The link will be an extension of the medium-speed SGR currently being built between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza. This project was split into five sections, and is being carried out by Yapi Merkezi of Turkey, Mota-Engil of Portugal, China Civil Engineering Construction and China Railway Construction.

There was no indication of how the work will be funded. The existing sections are relying on state funds bolstered by concessional loans from sources such as the World Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, and as well as the export banks of Turkey and China and the governments of Sweden and Denmark.

Mwigulu said Tanzania and Burundi would work together to source finance for the project.

  • Edited on 26/1/22 to change Makame Mbarawa’s position, thank you for your comments.

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  1. A dreamy uninformed journalist ever; when did Professor Makame Mbarawa become minister in Burundi😂!?

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