The Tanzanian government has announced that it will soon invite international tenders for the construction of a standard gauge railway (SGR) to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), building and construction magazine, Construction Review Online reported.
Tanzania's chief government spokesperson and permanent secretary for the ministry of information, culture, arts and sports, Hassan Abbasi, said that the government was in its final touches of negotiations, Construction Review Online reported.
“Tenders for the construction of the SGR project to Rwanda and DRC will be announced anytime from now; president John Magufuli had already given directives on construction of the Mwanza-Isaka SGR that will connect to the two neighbouring countries," said Abbasi.
Abbasi also confirmed that feasibility studies for the SGR had already been undertaken, adding that the two countries were now looking for financiers of the project.
The rail link project is part of a $14.2-billion plan to build around 2 500 km of standard gauge rail lines in the country over the next five years, Construction Review Online reported.
"It is intended to reduce road congestion and decrease freight costs by 40%. Each freight train is expected to transport up to 10 000 tonnes, equivalent to 500 lorry-loads. It will also connect Tanzania to Burundi and Uganda, making it an important enabler of regional integration," said Abbasi.
Tanzania will become the third country in East Africa to have access to modern railway services, after Kenya and Ethiopia.
Kenya was the first country in the region to start the construction of an SGR line, completing over 500 km between Mombasa and Nairobi, and also inaugurating its passenger services in June 2017.