Construction of Tanzania’s first toll expressway scheduled for 2023

What you need to know:

  • He stated that the minimum driving speed would be 120 kilometers per hour, and that there would be no humps.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is about to write history, as the government on Wednesday, declared to start construction of the country’s first ever toll expressway from 2023.

The 215-kilometer road from Kibaha to Morogoro will be built through a public-private partnership (PPP) as the government works to effectively engage the private sector in transportation infrastructure construction.

"This process has started, and by April or May next year, we will have already acquired a contractor to start the project," the Minister for Works and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa, announced.

He was speaking during the opening of the 15th Annual Joint Transport Sector Review Meeting (JTSR 2022).

Prof Mbarawa pointed out that a private investor will inject funds for the project construction and equally be in charge of running it, adding that the new expressway will run alongside the current normal highway.

"An investor will be charging a toll fee for those who would wish to drive through it. To pass on this road is optional because the normal road will still be in use," he said.

He told the conference that the project will be a model for enhancing rapid movement in elevating the country’s road infrastructure.

Pooling of resources between the private sector, the government and development partners will speed up the construction of railways, roads, airports and ports, he stated.

"This will provide employment opportunities and revive infrastructure that is necessary for investment to take off," he said.

He also cited plans to change the status of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (Tazara) and the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) to pave the way for the private sector to participate in the railway transport service by purchasing carriages and operating them.

"Improved infrastructure would enable the railway system to serve the local market and neighbouring landlocked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)," Said Prof Mbarawa.

He assured that the government was willing to engage the private sector in projects development through engineering, procurement, and operating.

On his part, Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) acting chief executive officer, Mr Kingdom Mbangula, said procurement for the project had started and the transaction advisor was making project documentation.

The new toll expressway will have two lanes on each side, eliminating slow speeds and congestion, which leads to accidents in overtaking, he told the conference to make an assessment of the country’s transport sector.

The road builder intends to ensure that this project is executed at required quality standards and completed on time, he said.

He stated that the minimum driving speed would be 120 kilometers per hour, and that there would be no humps.

Though the cost of the project and a period for investment returns to prospective investor was yet to be established, Mr Mbangula, however, hinted that the experience shows that such kinds of investments take about 20 years for the investor to make returns.

Speaking on behalf of the development partners, the African Development Bank (AfDB) country manager Patricia Laverley, assured of continued support to the transport sector in the country.

"Indeed, Tanzania is exceptional. It’s one of the countries with huge share of budget allocated to infrastructure development," she stated.

She underscored the importance of effectively engaging the private sector in the transport infrastructure development, saying "what should be done is to encourage more private sector investment in the sector considering that Tanzania is huge in terms of geographical size."

The AfDB has allocated 60 percent of its loanable funds for infrastructure building to stimulate economic development among African countries, she said.

For his part, a meteorologist from the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA), Wilbert Muruke, said the authority has been a major stakeholder in the transport sector through issuance of weather forecast reports which help during implementation of the projects as well as maintenance.

He said, during the construction of the infrastructures, contractors use the weather report to know the right weather season for construction.