Tanzania SGR project threatens Mombasa port business
Tanzania has moved ahead of Kenya in the race to control the cargo import and export transport business cargo in the East African Community (EAC).
This follows the signing of a $2.2 billion (about Sh260 billion) deal between President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government and China to construct the final section of the Standard Gauge Railway line aimed at linking the country with its neighbours in the west.
The 2,561-kilometre network will link the port of Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on Lake Victoria, with eventual spurs to Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who witnessed the signing, said the construction of the 506 km final section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Tabora to Kigoma would be completed in 2026, nine years after it began.
“Upon completion of the SGR, Tanzania will be in a better position to utilize its strategic geographical positioning to facilitate cross-border trade,” she said, as reported by Citizen.
“We have to borrow for this important infrastructure and other sustainable development projects because we don’t have enough local resources,” she said, dismissing criticism the country was taking on too much debt.
Meanwhile, Kenya is struggling to fund the remaining part of the SGR construction from the port of Mombasa to Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen recently conceded President William Ruto’s government is seeking partners to help in extending the construction works, with the railway from Mombasa currently terminating at the resort town of Naivasha.
The Tanzanian railway line to Mwanza could increase competition for Ugandan traders who currently rely on the Port of Mombasa.
Tanzania has already taken over a majority of the cargo transport business to DR Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi from Kenya.
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