THE construction of a railway line to link three countries will commence in March, this year following the completion of a feasibility study and will be financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and United State Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
Addressing an inter ministerial meeting in Dar es Salaam on Friday, the Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, said the railway line would overturn the current trend whereby a big chunk of goods is moved by road as opposed to rail.
"As Burundi plans to export 2.5 million tonnes of nickel per year, the new railway line will facilitate the transportation of minerals from Burundi to Dar es Salaam Port, hence boosting the economic development," said the minister.
The railway from Dar es Salaam, Kigali to Musongoti will facilitate the transportation of goods in the Central Corridor covering five countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda.Rwandese Minister of State in Charge of Transport, Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana, said Rwanda in particular being the landlocked country, would benefit significantly from the proposed railway project by producing optimal connection to the sea.
"The central railway line which connects Rwanda and its neighbours to the Dar es Salaam Port will provide a cheaper alternative for bulk transport and help improve the competitiveness of Rwanda and the entire region," he said.He pointed out that the partnership between the public and private sector would be deepened through an appropriately structured Public-Private Partnership initiative for the implementation of the project.
Dr Nzahabwanimana noted that the three partner states have a purpose on this project for the past ten years, to open markets in landlocked countries of Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC."The easy movement of goods by sea has potential to enhance agricultural and industrial output by improving market opportunities and reducing transaction costs and also by creating employment," he said.
Burundian Minister for Transport, Public Works and Equipment, Eng. Moise Bucumi, said the railway line would promote regional economic integration, adding that the railway line will facilitate commercial, mining and industrial development.
The meeting has witnessed the establishment of the Joint Technical Monitoring Committee (JTMC) from three partner states for reviewing and recommending on the results of the feasibility study.