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East Africa to invest billions in railways

Staff writer |
East Africa is set for a multi-billion dollar rail infrastructure investment as governments in the region try to bolster economic linkages and intra-regional trade, according to Imara Equity.

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Tanzania is poised to inject more than $85 million between 2013 and 2014 in the country's infrastructure in an effort to advance the country's poor rail infrastructure. According to officials of Tanzania Rail Limited (TRL), long term strategies also include the acquisition of 58 locomotives, 1,960 freight wagons, 44 passenger wagons and other upgrades whose price tag is expected to reach $680 million.

Plans to inject another $330 million for the upgrade and coordination of Tanzania's rail services with southern and central Africa are also afoot.

With a capital outlay of $1.4 billion, Tanzania will restore the railway line from capital Dar es Salaam to Tabora and Kaliua- Mpanda line to Kasanga Port on Lake Tanganyika.

"The project is crucial in linking Dar es Salaam's port with the landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda," Stergomena Tax, Tanzania's permanent secretary in Ministry of East African Community, was quoted as saying in Imara's research. It will take four years and cost a total of $5.2 billion to build the rail line connecting Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, Canadian consultancy firm Canarail said after conducting the feasibility audit in the project.

In Kenya, civil engineering firm, China Road and Bridge Corporation, has started the construction of the $3.8 billion SGR Railway line. The resurgence in rail haulage in East Africa is critical to the advancement of trade and regional economic unity in East Africa.

"We believe that the current initiatives are to be lauded as they will help foster high economic growth and facilitate greater intra-regional trade," Imara said in the research.

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