Samia, Ndayishimiye exploring joint railway section financing

23Oct 2021
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Samia, Ndayishimiye exploring joint railway section financing

​​​​​​​PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Burundian counterpart Évariste Ndayishimiye yesterday discussed plans to jointly mobilize resources to finance a railway line from Uvinza in Kigoma Region to Musongati in the neighbouring country.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan with her guest, Burundi President Évariste Ndayishimiye, at Chamwino State House in Dodoma yesterday. Photo: State House

Addressing reporters after the meeting between the two leaders at the Chamwino State House, President Samia said a joint team of experts had already conducted an assessment of the project and initial stages of its financing, including loan facilities.

She said that when she visited Burundi back in July the two agreed on a number of things including strengthening bilateral relations and building the Uvinza- Musongati railway. “We also agreed on exchange programmes in the fields of agriculture and livestock, and in educational services mainly in teaching of Kiswahili and French,” she said.

Construction of the 260 km railway from Uvinza to Musongati and then to Gitega was a grand move facilitating the movement of people, goods, and services, she said, noting that discussions in the State House yesterday covered several other areas including communications, trade and investment, aside from political matters.

 “I have told the President that Tanzania has invested heavily in the National Information Communication Technology Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) and we have allowed 100 gigabytes to be used by our Burundi neighbours, so we urge Burundi residents to also use opportunities that the broadband network offers,” she stated.

Tanzania will import fertilizer from Burundi thus assuring farmers with enough supply of the input for the coming season, she said, noting that a consignment of fertilizer from Burundi is expected to be delivered in the next few days, helping to ease price pressures on the product.

She commended the Burundian President for coming to Tanzania, assuring him full cooperation in the issues they covered, highlighting that the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is going on well.  The Dar es Salaam to Morogoro part has now reached 91 percent, the president noted.

The project is being implemented in five phases, the 202km Phase 1 (Dar es Salaam–Morogoro), Phase 2 (Morogoro–Makutopora) which has reached 61 percent of construction. Preparations are also ongoing for the 341km Isaka–Mwanza section while the government looks for funds to finance the 294km Makutupora–Tabora section and the 130km Tabora-Isaka section, she explained.

The government has provided a ten-acre plot at the Kwala-Ruvu area in Coast Region for the construction of a dry port to enable Burundian traders to store their cargo before freight to Burundi, which will reduce handling costs, she remarked.

For his part, President Ndayishimiye assured East Africa and the world that peace has been restored in the country, enabling its people to conduct economic activities freely.

“A number of refugees are also coming back from various camps, indicating that Burundi is now peaceful,” he said, noting that Burundi raised the possibility of starting to import coal from Tanzania so as to revive its iron sub-sector.

He praised President Samia for outstanding leadership and pursuit of development, explaining that he had come to Tanzania to scale up bilateral cooperation. He assured his Tanzanian counterpart of his country’s commitment to strengthening existing bilateral cooperation.

Burundi is implementing several strategic projects including renovation and expansion of the port of Bujumbura and ship building, he said, starting his three-day state visit that will see him visit Zanzibar, holding talks with President Hussein Ali Mwinyi today.

The two leaders laid a foundation stone at Nala near the capital where the Burundian firm Itracom is building a $180m fertiliser factory.

The two leaders will team again tomorrow for a tour of Dar es Salaam port, SGR construction site and the Kwala dry port, where Burundi was allocated 10 hectares.

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