Burundi to save $70 million thanks to SGR link with Tanzania

by MMC
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Arusha. The completion of a standard gauge railway (SGR) linking Burundi to the port of Dar es Salaam would save the former $70 million per year in transport costs.

Without the railway currently under construction, this landlocked country would have lost nearly a billion dollars in ten years, an amount necessary to build one.

“Not investing in a railway has cost our economy dearly,” said Burundian Infrastructure Minister Dieudonné Dukundane.

Speaking at the recently concluded Africa Investment Forum in Morocco, the minister said the SGR, which will extend to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), would be a game-changer for the economies of three countries.

“This will be a game changer in trade and exploitation of the rich mining potential available to the three countries,” he said.

The minister added, quoted by news agencies: “This would allow our country (Burundi) to save around $70 million in transport costs.”

Burundi’s capital, Gitega, the terminus of the proposed rail line, is about 1,500 kilometers from the port of Dar es Salaam used by the landlocked country for its foreign trade.

A round trip is 3,000 km. With a railway (SGR) in place, this will help Burundi’s struggling economy save almost $100 per tonne. “And if we managed an activity of almost a million tonnes per year, we would save no less than 70 million dollars,” he stressed.

Tanzania and Burundi recently reached an agreement to jointly construct a 282 km long standard gauge railway (SGR) that will connect the two countries.

The project would cost around $900 million, according to the Finance Ministry, which did not reveal funding details.

The proposed railway line will connect the town of Uvinza in the Kigoma region to Gitega in Burundi. The route will facilitate the transport of millions of tonnes of goods per year.

This will include more than three million tonnes of minerals from Burundi to Tanzania, according to Finance Minister Mwigulu Nchemba.

While Tanzania will develop a 156 km stretch from Malagarasi to Uvinza, Burundi will construct a 126 km stretch to Gitega.

The new rail line will also connect the landlocked eastern port of Dar es Salaam to Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan was among African heads of state who attended the African Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco.

She said that due to a huge connectivity gap in Africa, Tanzania has focused on attracting significant infrastructure investments “to strengthen connectivity with its neighbors”. East African Community (EAC) Secretary-General Peter Mathuki told the forum that the regional organization would push for additional investment in infrastructure. These will include infrastructure projects on key corridors linking the Great Lakes region to the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa “to boost trade”.

Leaders who spoke at the forum touted the role of transport corridors in Africa’s integration and in facilitating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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