Tanzania to receive Sh1.27 trillion World Bank loan to unlock infrastructure bottlenecks

Friday May 27 2022
World Bank

President Samia Suluhu when she met World Bank country director Mara Warwick at State House.

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania will receive $550 million (Sh1.27 trillion) loan from the World Bank to unlock the country’s critical road and airport bottlenecks.

The bank’s new International Development Association (IDA) financing for the Tanzania Transport Integration Project (TanTIP), will also involve enhancing Tanzania’s role as a transit country, and more effectively leverage its national parks for tourism.

This is according to a statement by the World Bank and made available to The Citizen, which indicates that the TanTIP is aimed at improving the safety, climate resilience, and capacity of key road corridors and regional airports.

The fund will also help to improve the capacity of relevant transport sector institutions to plan for and manage the sector.

Therefore, it has been noted that the said loan will focus on three key components such as upgrading and rehabilitation of about 500 km of roads.

These include the Mtwara-Mingoyo-Masasi (201 km), Lusahunga-Rusumo (92 km), Songea-Rutukila (111 km) and Iringa-Msembe (104 km) roads while integrating climate resilience measures to enhance resilience and adaptation of these roads and road network.

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The TanTIP outlined that the second component would be to upgrade and rehabilitate three priority regional airports, which includes Lake Manyara, Iringa and Tanga airports; with a focus on enhancement of safety and capacity of the airports, and enhancement of climate resilience.

According to the WB, although the civil aviation sector is a key facilitator for tourism, but it is at an early stage of development with significant potential for growth. In fact, the country is served by several international airlines primarily using three international airports.

Currently, the regional airports do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate larger airplanes and handle many passengers yet as people’s per capita income increases, the demand for air transport is also likely to continue.

 Moreover, the World Bank maintains that lack of airport infrastructure is a constraint to unlock economic potential in the local economies, especially those which would benefit from growing traffic to the currently underutilised national parks.

For instance, the current state of most airport infrastructure in the country is poor. In fact, air transport infrastructure comprises over 300 airports and air strips, except for the three international and 15 other major domestic airports which have paved runways, all other airports have gravel and grass runways.

Furthermore, the document unmasked the third element for which the funds are meant for, the continued support for development of institutional capacity.

The said support would focus on climate risk management and safety, encouraging gender balance with greater inclusion and career development opportunities for women, supporting project implementation, management, and monitoring.

Mara Warwick, the Bank’s Country Director, said: “Much of Tanzania’s development success over the past decade has been predicated on the critical advantages of its strategic maritime location, its rich and diverse natural resources, its socio-political stability, and its rapidly growing tourism industry."

Therefore, said he: “Investments under this project will contribute to wider government efforts to improve the integration of Tanzania’s economy and its connection with its neighbours and global markets, while ensuring adaptability of the infrastructure.”

On the other hand, Mr Gylfi Palsson, World Bank Lead Transport Specialist, was quoted saying: “The road and airport designs under TanTIP are climate-informed, ensuring adaptability of the road corridors and regional airports to future natural disasters.”

According to him, the project will enhance mitigation measures and mainstream climate resilience considerations in the national road transport sector planning, investments, and management.

It is also noted that the project will directly benefit many communities and firms, including smallholder farmers, agribusiness operators, existing and potential private sector investors, importers, and exporters.

It will also have wider positive impacts on development outcomes such as economic welfare, social inclusion (jobs, gender), equity (poverty, inequality), environmental quality, and economic resilience.

The World Bank’s IDA, was established in 1960, aimed at helping the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

The WB reports indicated that IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa.

It is said that resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries, Tanzania inclusive.

Since 1960, IDA has provided $458 billion to 114 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $29 billion over the last three years (FY19-FY21), with about 70 percent going to Africa.