THE Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank (WB) yesterday approved the disbursement 300 million US dollar (more than 490bn/-) to support Tanzania's efforts to create a reliable open access railway infrastructure from Dar es Salaam to Isaka.
A statement issued by the bank in Dar es Salaam said the funds are from the International Development Association (IDA), with the aim of strengthening the Dar es Salaam-Isaka section of the East African Central Corridor.
The project is a first step to upgrade and expansion of the broader Central Corridor transport network and to strengthen the countries rail agencies' ability to manage the infrastructure, traffic operations and network regulation.
"The location and size of Tanzania, its mineral and agricultural resources, its tourism potential and its critical role as a transport hub for its landlocked neighbours provide unrivaled opportunities for the development of modern transport infrastructure and services, said Mr Philippe Dongier, the World Bank's Country Director for Tanzania.
"We are excited to support the government's efforts to rebuild its rail and intermodal transport system. The project will also indirectly help to boost agricultural trade, job creation and overall livelihoods for the country and neighbouring countries' people." The financing will support the Intermodal and Rail Development Project designed to increase the reliability of the rail infrastructure and the train operations; strengthen logistics at the Port of Dar es Salaam and the rail terminals and strengthen rail operations. The funds will go to relaying rail tracks, building new intermodal terminals, repairing or reconstructing bridges and supporting the institutional transformation of the sector. "Besides constraining economic activity in Tanzania and reducing the competitiveness of the country's tradable sectors, the poor infrastructure on the East African Central Corridor creates delays and high costs for transport of goods between Tanzania and its landlocked neighbours," said Mr Henry des Longchamps, the bank's Task Team Leader for the project. Moreover, the project will help improve a critical link in the regional rail network that is necessary for both competitiveness and improved regional and global economic integration. It also contributes to the World Bank Group's (WBG) two broad goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Rehabilitating and upgrading the rail line will improve the transport linkages for the population living in the western part of Tanzania, an area that has a high concentration of agricultural activity. "The project will help increase transport capacity in Tanzania, which will build competitive alternatives to road transport and lead to greater traffic volumes, that will facilitate the development of economic activities and job creation along the corridor areas," the World Bank Co-Task Team Leader for the project, Mr Yonas Mchomvu, said.