Tanzania seeking to outdo Kenya in SGR projects
Tanzania, a neighbouring country to Kenya and a close partner in bilateral trade, has announced its plans to expand the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). On Monday, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania presided over the signing of the expansion of the electric train SGR project.
The new project will run from Tabora to Isaka and will be constructed by Turkish Yapi Merkez. President Suluhu also saw the signing of an agreement with the Korean company Korail, which will issue guidance and educate the locals on how to run the train.
The 165-kilometer project will connect eight provinces of Dar es Salaam, Pwani, Morogoro, Dodoma, Singida, Tabora, Simiyu, Shinyanga, and Mwazi.
President Suluhu also said there are plans to expand the project to connect the landlocked neighbouring countries. This includes Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, and South Sudan. Uganda and South Sudan are among the countries that are hugely dependent on the Kenya railway to move their goods from the coastal port of Mombasa.
In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta invited his Uganda counterpart Yoweri Museveni to join Kenya in the joint development of the SGR to ensure it continues to Kampala, Uganda.
“The SGR train had evidently improved transport of cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi and I am now keen on the joint development of the SGR line to Kampala in Uganda,” Mr Kenyatta said then.
According to the president, the move would cut down travel time to one day while President Museveni said the move would be a game-changer, especially for the movement of cargo from Mombasa to Kampala. However, to date, no progress has been made on the project that ends at Suswa, Narok County.
The Tanzanian government has also started testing its SGR electric train, which hits a speed of 160Km/h compared to Kenya’s SGR which uses diesel and can move up to 120Km/h.