africa development Economy Infrastructure Rail Tanzania Transport

Tanzania’s electric train transport to commence December 2019

Tanzania braces itself to construct Africa’s best railway transport but will have to wait to unveil the glory of the SGR


The government of Tanzania revealed that electric train transport should begin its operations by December next year. The country’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is over 30 percent completed in its first phase of construction which entails 300 kilometers from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.

The railway transport project is undertaken by the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi, in partnership with a Portuguese firm, Mota-Engil Africa, unlike Kenya’s SGR that was built by a Chinese engineering firm, China Communications Construction Company. Tanzania as well landed a cheaper deal in comparison to Kenya, as Kenya’s infrastructure cost a whopping $3.8 billion, while Tanzania’s only cost $1.92 billion. While Kenya perhaps looked to strengthen the bilateral agreements with China, its top investor, Tanzania opted for a different option due to cheaper operation costs, and better quality. Tanzania’s infrastructure is dubbed to be Africa’s best, an accolade to shun its competitor.

Three years into the helm of the East African country and President John Magufuli is already marking great achievements in propelling the economic development of the country. As infrastructure remains a top priority in most East African countries economies, governments have committed to extending their expenditure in upgrading their infrastructure to boost trade and attract more investors to their countries.

Director General of Information Department and Government’s Chief Spokesperson Dr. Hassan Abbas attested the SGR was a pivotal project the Parliament was focusing on to boost transport network, reach more regions to facilitate business and grow the country’s economy. The efficient movement of both people and goods is vital for business, to and from their destination especially in the neighboring landlocked countries of Uganda, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda.

The latest Ethio-Djibouti standard gauge railway project is the first trans-boundary and longest electrified railway on the African continent. However, with Tanzania making progress, it could be more competitive in the region. Innovation and technology have encouraged countries to make necessary adjustments to fit in the dynamism of the changing environment to remain relevant and on top of the ranks in the global ratings of ease of doing business to attract more foreign investments.

The multi-million project has created over 26,000 employment opportunities in the country and propelled the economic performance of the industrial sector. Tanzania seeks to be a middle-income economy by 2025 through industrialization and is making steps towards its vision.

More job opportunities will be created once the mega-infrastructure project becomes fully operational in 2019.

Tanzania is using concrete sleepers on SGR which improves its durability. It gives the railway network the capacity to carry heavy loads of up to 35 tonnes per excel. The modern railway line will as well have a 1,435 mm width (equal to 1.435 meters) which is pivotal in enabling the train to be stable, faster and more secure.

Source: The Exchange

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