Tanzania, Zambia agree to upgrade Tazara to SGR level

Wednesday August 03 2022
Samia, Hichilema

President Samia Suluhu Hassan hands over Kiswahili books to her Zambian counterpart Hakainde Hichilema at the Dar es Salaam state house yesterday. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania and Zambia yesterday resolved to revamp the railway line that connects the two countries as part of their measures to improve bilateral ties.

– the bi-national railway linking the Southern Africa Regional transport network to Eastern Africa’s seaport of Dar es Salaam – will now be upgraded to a standard gauge railway (SGR) through partnership with the private sector and development partners, leaders of the two countries said.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan who was speaking during state visit of her Zambian counterpart Hakainde Hichilema, said the old line does not deliver what was expected, calling for upgrade to open up new business opportunities along the routes that connect the two countries.

“In today’s world, railway is SGR. So through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), we have agreed to come up with a project to improve the Tazara railway into that level,” she said during press briefing at State House.

Tanzania is also constructing 1,219 kilometres of SGR from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza.

The two heads of state also discussed issues around the modernisation of the 1,710km crude oil pipeline (Tazama) that links the two countries as well as how to eradicate some tax and non-tax barriers to unlock trade.

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“We ask the associations of lorry drivers from both countries to meet with the government and identify problems and find solutions. We want to address issues of permits and charges that currently hinder smooth exchange,” said President Hassan.

She also mentioned the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya power grid interconnection project, that will make sustainable power supply in the three countries and possibly supply to other neighbouring countries.

“When we were talking, my colleague said that Zambia is now almost 90 percent connected with green energy and I told him that by 2024 we will also reach 80 percent and when the Ruhudji and Rumakali projects complete, we will be almost at 100 percent,” she said.

President Hassan also said Tanzania and Zambia discussed how to improve production of agriculture products whereas Zambia has had an abundance of quality seeds it can supply to Tanzania at affordable prices.

The two presidents also witnessed the signing of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in defence and tourism cooperation.

The two countries with a shared history and brotherhood also agreed to foster political and social relations among its people around issues of security and regional integrations.

For his part, Mr Hichilema said they would seek to reinvigorate the relationship and leverage on them by maximizing the benefits derived from the foundation invested by the state founding fathers.

“We really have the duty to carry that relation carved by our independence leaders, and again from shared platforms the countries must maximize the benefit accrued from these relationships,” he said.

One of the issues that Zambia has picked up from Tanzania, he said, is on the success of organizing and management of artisanal miners.

“The issue of the mining sector that Tanzania has done well is bringing artisanal miners, arranging them properly and transiting them from illegal to legal miners. It is one of the things that Zambia has to learn from here,” he said.