China will finance the rehabilitation and extension of the railway linking Tanzania to Zambia by adding Burundi, the DRC and Rwanda
Zambian, Tanzanian and Chinese government officials gathered last week in Dar es Salaam to discuss details of the development plan for this railway line that currently links the Tanzanian capital to the city of Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia.
This plan provides for the rehabilitation of 1,860 kilometers of existing railways as well as the construction of new sections to the Tanzanian port of Bagamoyo, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
The railway should thus link three African economic blocks in the long term: COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), SADC (Southern African Development Community / Communauté de développement d’Afrique australe) and the EAC (East African Community).
“This plan to modernize and extend the railway was discussed at the 6th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in December 2015 in Johannesburg,” said Zambian government secretary general Rowland Msiska. The plan also provides for the management and operation of the railway line to a Chinese company.
The Tanzania-Zambia railway was built in the 1970s by the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority with Chinese funding to open up Zambia, a country without access to the sea, and to create an alternative to the passing railway. by Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe, editor’s note) and South Africa, two countries then subjected to an apartheid regime and therefore boycotted by most of the independent countries of Africa.
In 2005, the governments of Tanzania and Zambia agreed to privatize the line due to the significant drop in traffic observed and the investment required to repair the locomotives. The method of privatization has not been determined, but it has been decided to give priority to Chinese investors due to the country’s historic involvement in this railway line.