Tanzania will receive a $305 million loan from the World Bank to expand its main port in it main commercial city Dar es Salaam, where congestion and inefficiencies are hampering ambitions to transform the east African nation into a regional transport hub.
The port, whose main rival is the bigger but also congested port of Mombasa in Kenya, acts as a trade gateway for landlocked African states such as Zambia, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and Uganda, as well as the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“The World Bank has agreed to give Tanzania loans for various development projects, including a credit of $305 million for an expansion project at the Dar es Salaam port,” Finance and Planning Minister Philip Mpango said in a statement.
The World Bank said in a 2014 report that inefficiencies at Dar es Salaam port was costing Tanzania and its neighbours up to $2.6 billion a year. Tanzania wants to lift capacity at the port to 28 million tonnes a year by 2020 from 15 million tonnes currently.
The loan deal was announced following talks in the capital between Tanzanian President John Magufuli and Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s vice president for Africa.
Officials said Tanzania was also in talks with the World Bank for a $425 million additional funding to expand a new public transport system in its commercial capital.
The Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit System inaugurated by Magufuli on Wednesday was built by a $290 million loan from the World Bank.
The project, aimed at easing congestion in Dar es Salaam’s gridlocked streets, is expected to benefit around 500,000 people in the city of 4 million.