11 December 2018

Rwanda, Tanzania Ministers Meet in Kigali to Fast-Track Rail Project

Photo: New Times
(file photo).

The Minister of Infrastructure, Claver Gatete, and his Tanzanian counterpart, Isack Kamwelwe, are meeting in Kigali as they seek to lay out a plan on the implementation of the Isaka-Kigali Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.

The meeting follows weekend sessions by senior technocrats from both countries who sought to explore the remaining details pertaining to the project.

This is the second meeting by the two ministers in a space of two months following another one in October in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Gatete told his counterpart that his presence in Kigali shows "a very serious commitment by the government of Tanzania" on the project.

"We are meeting now to make sure we have a clear road-map on implementation. We'll be discussing quite a lot in terms of technical details and charting the whole timeline," Gatete said.

The October meeting, among other things, directed the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) to mobilise necessary funds for payment of the upcoming invoices from the consultants working on the project.

It also directed Permanent Secretaries responsible for transport to fast-track the ratification of the bilateral agreement for the financing and implementation of the joint project.

Permanent Secretaries responsible for transport and finance were directed to meet and discuss on the financial model before the ministers meet and conclude the matter "not later than" November 15.

Kamwelwe said he hoped the report by Permanent Secretaries which was requested in the October session would help in the current deliberations.

"During our previous meeting, in October, we directed Permanent Secretaries to form a team of experts to analyse the best project financial model that can be adopted to finance this project. This meeting will digest proposals," he said.

According to Kamwelwe, they will also look into the interest by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and consider their capability and commitment to finance the project.

Knowledge on the latter, he said, will assist the two countries in determining key elements, including the decision making process, type of public private partnership and modes of operation.

Initial estimates suggest that the 521-kilometre Isaka-Kigali SGR project will cost an estimated $2.5 billion.

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