A World Bank statement describes the project as “a necessary first step to the eventual upgrade and expansion of the broader Central Corridor transport network.”

“The location and the size of Tanzania, its mineral and agricultural resources , its tourism potential and its critical role as a transport hub for its landlocked neighbours, provide unrivalled opportunities for the development of modern transport infrastructure and services,” said Philippe Dongier, the World Bank’s country director for Tanzania.

“We are excited to support the government’s efforts to rebuild its rail and intermodal transport system. The project will also indirectly help to boost agricultural trade, create jobs and improve overall livelihoods for the country and neighbouring countries.”

The financing will support the Rail Development Project designed to increase the reliability of the rail infrastructure and train operations; strengthen logistics in the port of Dar es Salaam and its rail terminals; and strengthen railway operations.

The funds will also be used to lay tracks, build new terminals, repair or reconstruct bridges and support the institutional transformation of the sector.

“Besides constraining economic activity in Tanzania and reducing the competitiveness of the country’s tradable sectors, poor infrastructure on the East African Central Corridor creates delays and high costs for transporting goods between Tanzania and its landlocked neighbours (Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda), as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Henry des Longchamps World Bank task team leader for the project.

He added: “The project will help improve a critical link in the regional rail network that is necessary for both competitiveness and improved regional and global economic integration.”

Rehabilitating and upgrading the railway line will improve the transport linkages for the population living in the western part of Tanzania, an area that has a high concentration of agricultural activity, the World Bank says.

“The project will help increase transport capacity in Tanzania which will build competitive alternatives to road transport, and lead to greater traffic volumes that will facilitate the development of economic activities and job creation along the corridor areas,” said Yonas Mchomvu the World Bank co-task team leader for the project.

Source: The East African

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