Tanzania, Burundi sign multimillion-dollar SGR deal

Monday January 17 2022
the ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line in Tanzania.

The ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line in Tanzania. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY

By BEATRICE MATERU

Tanzania on Sunday signed a multimillion-dollar deal with neighbouring Burundi to build a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) linking Gitega to the Indian Ocean.

The planned 282 kilometre SGR railway line will run from Uvinza in Tanzania's Kigoma region to Gitega in Burundi.

“Today, Prof Makame Mbarawa and I, we signed a bilateral agreement with the government of Burundi to build a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Uvinza, Tanzania, to Gitega, Burundi,” said Mwigulu Nchemba, Tanzania’s Minister of Finance and Planning.

Without revealing how much the project would cost, Mwigulu said the two countries have agreed to jointly finance the project.

“We have agreed with my counterpart, Minister of Finance in Burundi, to look for areas we can get fund to jointly finance the project,” adds Mwigulu.

The SGR project is intended to link the Dar es Salaam port to landlocked neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Uganda, and through these two, to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Once complete, it is hoped that the new railway will replace the old meter-gauge railway system, reduce road congestion and decrease freight costs by 40 percent.