Joint ventures,stock listing key to Tanzania-Zambia rail, pipe uplift

04Aug 2022
The Guardian
Joint ventures,stock listing key to Tanzania-Zambia rail, pipe uplift

A NEW epoch is dawning in bilateral ties between Tanzania and Zambia, in the wake of the short visit by President Hakainde Hichilema in Dar es Salaam, with accords signed that may change the picture in the two vital infrastructure units, the railway line and oil pipeline.

For one thing, the rail line is already of the standard gauge level, thus likely to be adaptable to modernised speed trains, despite that this much wasn’t being discusses as yet. It is as if the projects need a new coat of paint.


The revitalization of ties between the two countries to take a higher economioc profile is partly a result of a changing international situation that is pushing African countries to become as self-reliant as they can manage.

That obviously won’t be realized in a day but there has to be preliminary measures, where the quest to uplift five decades old infrastructure to be aligned to modern logistics requirements is a major step. When it is done, it provides a foundation for an industrialization thrust.


The wider picture of the accords on the rail and pipeline infrastructure was the wish to work closely with Zambia in promoting trade and investment, which starts with logistics and anchors in the removal of trade barriers. In her remarks, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the two countries have agreed to mobilize resources to revive the railway line to make it modern, lessening the pressure on roads in the two countries. When transport costs are lessened, so are prices, and that provides a better atmosphere for industrial investments, thriving on low costs.


A measure of goodwill was equally visible in other areas, for instance as the two leaders agreed to liaise to remove trade barriers by reviewing custom duties and cross border levies on goods carried by small scale traders. At first, traders from both countries crossing the respective border points will be serving small markets within the vicinity, and then to the respective capital cities or major cities generally.


Then they will discover that some of the goods have a market if one crosses another border to the west, and reciprocally. It is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) being realized with a giant step of reviving dormant infrastructure being used at sub-optimal level, eliminating barriers, widening reach.


Equally noticeable was likely cooperation in supplying processed meat for the beef market in Saudi Arabia with joint venture initiatives. For one thing, the joint venture model is also applicable to uplifting infrastructure, to lessen loan burdens on concessional and non-concessional lenders. It is something to be pursued later.


When a workable joint venture format is in place and cutting across a range of strategic activities, not just meat processing, it will be easier to dream of southward bound industrialization, now visible in the coastal area, more or less.


The presence of iron ore (without direct back up of coal in the current situation) is in need of a workable costing structure to host a few industries that can feed budding iron-based industries in the region. The dream goes back to the 1970s, but it appears there was a half a century lag between the dream and the basics of its coming into reality being put into place.


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