23 April 2019

The government of China has announced plans to
offer approximately US $1.2bn to the Tanzania Zambia Railway
Authority (TAZARA)
the rehabilitation of the railway line shared by the two states (Tanzania and

Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, Wang Ke, said her
country is ready to explore ways and means of upgrading and overhauling the
TAZARA line once a consensus is reached.

The ambassador noted that the embassy had initiated
talks with the government over the fund stressing that her country was ready,
willing and able to support the refurbishment, and reminded that joint efforts
by China, Tanzania and Zambia in overcoming numerous difficulties and obstacles
was highly needed to reach the target.

In addition, TAZARA Deputy MD, Dr. Bertram Kiswaga
said that additional efforts would go a long way in ensuring the performance of
the railway was improved. The meeting recommended major renovations to the
rusty narrow gauge railway line and approve of plans to link Tazara to
Tanzania’s multibillion-dollar Bagamoyo port, as well as to Malawi, DR Congo,
Rwanda and Burundi.

TAZARA was constructed as a turnkey project between
1970 and 1975 through the interest-free loan of US $500m from the People`s
Republic of China, with commercial operations starting in July 1976, covering
1,860 km from Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi North East of Zambia.

The Chinese government provided about US $1bn in financial
support, 50,000 engineering and technical personnel and one million tonnes of
material and equipment despite facing financial difficulties at that time.

At its completion, the TAZARA railway was the longest railway line in the sub-Saharan Africa. It was also the largest single foreign-aid project undertaken by China at the time.

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