Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

24 July 2014

Tanzania: Mtwara-Mbamba Bay Railway Very Welcome

IN our Wednesday's edition of the 'Daily News' we published a story, on Page one regarding the government's plan to construct a railway line that will connect Mtwara Port in Mtwara Region and Mbamba Bay in Ruvuma Region.

The arrangement was revealed by President Jakaya Kikwete on Tuesday, when addressing a public rally in Namtumbo during his six-day tour of Ruvuma Region. The president said construction of the railway line would unlock the country's southern corridor to the rest of the country and the world at large.

We understand that the country especially the southern part of it, is blessed with abundant natural wealth which is yet to be exploited in full. The available resource diversity include huge deposits of iron ore at Liganga, and coal at Mchuchuma in Iringa Region and Ngaka in Ruvuma Region.

Production estimates show that there would be a time when around one million tonnes of iron ore or coal would need to be transported from each of the mining sites to a certain destination.

That is not a small amount. Appropriate measures must therefore be undertaken to ensure availability of facilities to haul the minerals from the respective regions. We also understand that these are very heavy stuffs which need very strong means of transport. The planned railway line will be the most ideal.

Apart from revitalizing the mining and haulage of coal and iron ore, the railway line would as well facilitate development of rural industry in the area which also has high agricultural potential. The area has a natural wealth which also offer tremendous investment opportunities.

In order to unlock those opportunities and thus enable the country to secure its deserved share of global investments, reliable transport facilities are much needed.

It is our sincere belief that the railway will invigorate local agriculture by opening up distant markets and stimulating local production. That would see rapid expansion of trade in agricultural produce including perishable food.

When operational, the railway line must thus act as a catalyst for the development of the Southern Corridor which basically has abundance of unexploited markets in Northern Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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