Tanzania and Burundi have signed an agreement to build a $900-million railway that will connect the neighbouring East African nations.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a 282 km line from the western Tanzanian town of Uvinza to Burundi’s capital Gitega in the western Tanzanian town of Kigoma on Sunday.
Tanzania, which wants to become a regional trade and transport hub, is building a standard gauge railway line to connect the port of Dar es Salaam to landlocked neighbors, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tanzania Finance Minister, Mwigulu Nchemba said the two governments will jointly seek financing for the railway, adding that the final cost will likely not exceed $900-million.
Tanzania will construct a 156km section from the small town of Malagarasi to Uvinza, while Burundi will construct 126 km stretch to Gitega, the statement said.
Tanzania is aiming to build a 2,561km standard gauge line linking its main its main Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam to Eastern and Southern Africa’s hinterland.
In addition to links to Burundi, the rail would also connect the port with eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Construction of the first 1,219 km phase, connecting Dar es Salaam to the city of Mwanza in northwestern Tanzania on the shores of Lake Victoria, is under way.
In December, Tanzania signed a contract with Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi to build the latest section in that line, a 368km stretch connecting the central town of Makutopora to the northwestern region of Tabora.