African Development Bank Promote Tanzanian Railway

Later this month the African Development Bank will hold a presentation and roadshow designed to attract additional financing for a new railway linking the port in Dar es Salaam with surrounding landlocked countries. It is expected that nearly $8 billion dollars will be required to complete the project. The lender based on the Ivory Coast is linking up with the World Economic Forum in order to try and attract additional investment for the massive project.


The line will extend over 2200 kms and is widely hoped that it will transform many of the industries in the area, It is though a huge project and much of the finance is still to be raised. The planned standard gauge line has much of it’s funding in place and it is hoped will be operational soon. Tanzania has hopes to become the logistical hub of Eastern Africa and become an important trade center for neighboring countries.

The line will end in the Capital of Rwanda – Kigali and two other lines will branch off to Lake Victoria and Burundi. The Kigali line is expected to eventually connect to the Democratic Republic of Congo although this would require additional investments. Much of the money is expected to come from Chinese banks and other Asian investors, there will certainly be a large contingent of Asian investors at the roadshow. It is hoped that the investment will be spread so that there are no controlling investors although all understood this may not be possible,

Tanzania is the third largest economy in East Africa behind Kenya and Nigeria. It is also rich in mineral wealth for example the fifth largest gold producer and there are large reserves of natural gas which have not yet been exploited due to infrastructure issues. Many people in these countries have to relay on much poorer communications for example simple things like residential VPN services like this can cost an awful lot of money even if they are available.

The first phase of the Kenyan link, measuring 609km and costing $3.2bn, is scheduled for completion by June 2017. Construction of a second 120-kilometer leg begins by the end of this year, according to the government.

Tanzania is also planning a liquefied natural gas plant that could cost as much as $30bn and a $10bn port at Bagamoyo. It has also agreed to host a $3.6bn pipeline to transport Ugandan crude to its Indian Ocean port at Tanga.

John Williams
Author of BBC iPlayer in Canada

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