Lusaka: The Tanzanian government has called for the urgent revitalisation of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) to strengthen regional integration and economic growth. Tanzanian Deputy Minister of Works Harrison Mwakyembe said here on March 10 that railway lines and roads are the cornerstone of growth, sustainable development and access to markets. Dr Mwakyembe said this when he opened a two-day East Africa roads and rail infrastructure summit in Dar es Salaam under the theme ‘From Landlocked Challenges to Land-linked Opportunities.’
He said plans are under way to link TAZARA with the central line, which involves countries including Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr Mwakyembe said the distance between TAZARA and the central railway line is 200 metres, and the only constraint is that TAZARA uses modern gauges while the central railway line uses old ones, which could be worked on.
'It is very unfortunate because railway transport is supposed to be very efficient and cost-effective in the transportation of bulky goods covering long distances but because of poor railway services, there has been a shift to using roads, which causes the deterioration of roads,' he said.
The summit has attracted various stakeholders from Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda and host Tanzania.
Dr Mwakyembe said public-private partnerships are rare in the road and rail sub-sectors because of perceived risks. He urged Zambian and Tanzanian representatives at the forum to take advantage of the summit to develop innovative strategies and programmes which will attract the right private sector investors to improve TAZARA.