China Exim Bank Will Lend Tanzania $7.6 Billion for Railway

  • Planned railway line to help Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi traders
  • Construction seen starting by 2017, Tanzanian government says

Export Import Bank China will lend Tanzania $7.6 billion for a railway that will help the East African nation’s landlocked neighbors including Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda transport goods to its port on the Indian Ocean, a government official said.

Tanzania and Exim Bank China will finalize “technical issues on the contract” and sign the financing deal for the 2,200-kilometer (1,367-mile) project soon, Gerson Msigwa, a spokesman for Tanzania’s presidency, said Wednesday by phone from the capital, Dodoma. The standard gauge line will become a major trade artery between Tanzania and its landlocked neighbors, he said.

The railway line will run from Dar Es Salaam port to Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Two other lines will branch off to Musongati in Burundi and to Mwanza port on the shores of Lake Victoria to service Ugandan shippers. The line to Kigali will ultimately connect to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tanzania is a “reliable borrower” and the railway line to the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, will lift the economies of other countries in the region, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, President John Magufuli said in an e-mailed statement. Construction may begin this financial year, he said.

The country is the continent’s fifth-biggest gold producer and has estimated reserves of 58 trillion cubic feet of natural gas being developed for export by companies including Statoil ASA and BG Group Plc.

Other than the railway, Tanzania is also planning an LNG plant that could cost as much as $30 billion and a $10 billion port at Bagamoyo. It also clinched a deal to host a $3.6 billion oil pipeline to transport Uganda’s crude to its Indian Ocean port at Tanga.

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