AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to grant concessional loan to support the government in the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR).
This was unveiled in Dar es Salaam yesterday by AfDB Executive Director of the East Africa constituency, representing seven countries including Seychelles Dr Nyamajeje Weggoro after holding talks with the Deputy Finance and Planning Minister Dr Ashatu Kijaji.
He said the bank, through its board of directors have decided to support the SGR project that will spur the country’s economic growth after being impressed by the performance of the fifth phase government.
The Tanzania line will run from Dar es Salaam port to Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Two other lines will branch off to Musongati in Burundi and to Mwanza port on the shores of Lake Victoria to service Ugandan shippers.
The line to Kigali is expected to ultimately connect to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. “The bank is ready and awaits government proposal in order to find out how much it could finance the project,” he said adding that also the bank will find and work with other stakeholders to realise the project.
The 2561 km long SGR project will cost 7.6 billion US dollars where the first phase of the project from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro Region kicked off recently.
Also, Dr Weggoro said the bank will collaborate with the government to improve the state owned power firm, (TANESCO), particularly on its structure and heavy debts for it to contribute in building the industrial economy.
“AfDB will release funds to improve the efficiency of the power firm. We will discuss and involve other stakeholders in order to support the government initiative of industrialisation,” he noted.
On her part, Dr Kijaji commended AfDB for being Tanzania’s close development ally by supporting mega infrastructure, energy, agriculture and social services projects.
She said AfDB investment in the country has currently reached 1.8 billion US dollars with 75 per cent of being on infrastructure development where roads projects constituted 51.4 per cent, energy 10.1 per cent, water and sanitation 13 per cent and financial sector 25.5 per cent.