Tanzania, Burundi sign pact for Uvinza-Gitega SGR link

18Jan 2022
Adela Madyane
The Guardian
Tanzania, Burundi sign pact for Uvinza-Gitega SGR link

​​​​​​​THE governments of Tanzania and Burundi have signed an initial agreement for the construction of the 282 km long Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Uvinza in Kigoma Region to Gitega city in Burundi.

The agreement was signed here yesterday by the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, the Minister for Works and Transport Prof Makame Mbarawa and on the Burundian side was the Minister for Infrastructure, Works and Settlements, Dr Deogratius Nsanganiyumwami and the Minister for finance, Budget and Economic Planning Dr Domitien Ndihokubwayo.

The Finance minister said after the signing that the two governments have begun looking for sources of funding for the project, expressing assurance that the two countries, working together can get funds for the project.

Tanzanians, Burundians and people in other countries that will economically benefit from the project should rest assured that the funds will be found, he declared.

Tanzania has considerable experience in sourcing for funds for implementing strategic projects of this kind, in like manner as it did in relation to the other parts of the SGR construction, he stated, referring to the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro and then to Makutupora SGR portions.

The proper cost for the Burundi link will be set out after the completion of engineering studies, but it is estimated at around $900m, he asserted, lauding the presidents of the two countries for moving to strengthen economic cooperation between the two states.

Implementation of the project will unlock trade opportunities between the two countries and with other neighbouring countries, he observed.

Prof Mbarawa said project implementation will start in the near future, billed to bring into use modern fast trains travelling at 160 km/hour or thereabouts.

On the Tanzanian side, the railway portion will take up the 156 km Uvinza-Malagarasi rail section whereas the Burundi part starts from Malagarasi to Musongati and onward to Gitega, which is 126 kms long

“This project is important for our country, Burundi as well as Congo DRC that use the port of Dar es Salaam for its imports,” he said, underlining that the completion of the project will simplify cargo transportation.

Burundian minister Nsanganiyumwami said that presidents Samia Suluhu Hassan and Evariste Ndayishimiye had agreed on intensifying cooperation between the two countries and the project is an important step in opening up the two nations’ economies.