AS Tanzania bids farewell to one of the most successful year—2022, the country may perfectly stand tall for two mega projects, the Msalato Airport and the much-envisaged Outer Ring Road in the new capital city, Dodoma.
Among the colourful events that will remain on the country’s record books is the ceremony for laying a foundation stone for the over 630bn/- project for the construction of the Msalato International Airport, which will be among the country’s major airports.
Held on October 30, 2022 and graced by President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, the ceremony sent positive shocking waves and signals for business and investment opportunities as well as a roadmap for the country’s economic development upon completion in December 2024.
Upon completion, the Msalato Airport will enable Dodoma City to compete with or even overtake the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam in generating the country’s income.
The project is estimated to cost 272 million US dollars (over 630bn/-) and is co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.
The funding package, comprises a 198.6 million US dollars loan from the bank, 23.52 million US dollars from the African Development Fund (ADF) and 50 million US dollars in co-financing with the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) — a co-financing facility of the People’s Republic of China managed by the bank.
The airport is set to benefit an estimated population of more than 200 million people in East Africa and the international trade networks including business travellers and tourists.
Gracing the laying of the foundation stone, President Samia expressed optimism that the project will catalyse the country’s economic growth, while a considerable number of Tanzanians from Dodoma and other parts of the country are set to get employment opportunities.
She noted that this was one of the country’s largest aviation projects.
The event was attended by hundreds of residents from inside and outside the country, including AfDB’s country manager Dr Patricia Laverley and the Minister for Works and Transport, Professor Makame Mbarawa, among others.
In December 2019, the Board of Directors of the AfDB approved a 272 million US dollars loan to Tanzania for the construction of the new international airport at Msalato area about 12 kilometres from the Central Business District of the capital city.
The project involves the construction of high-capacity airport infrastructure to meet the expected growth in air transport from the city’s new role as the administrative capital of Tanzania.
Work will be carried out over four years and will include a passenger terminal, a runway, and air navigation equipment.
The project includes other related operational services such as a fuel distribution company, water supply systems, electrical power distribution substations and a fire-fighting service.
Others are a parking apron, control tower, passengers’ terminal and office buildings, car parking lots, shops, supermarkets, and banking facilities.
Ancillary facilities include fuel depots, airport catering, general aviation facilities and electrical, mechanical services, including transformer and generator rooms, a mechanical ventilation plant, refuse disposal units and pump rooms.
Speaking at the colourful ceremony, the Head of State said that after completion of the first phase of the project in December 2024-the Msalato International Airport would have the capacity to accommodate major aircrafts (Boeing 747) with the capacity to carry about 350 passengers.
According to her, during the 2022/23 financial year, the government was well determined to implement projects that would catalyse development for the people.
“Our target is to increase business competition with other countries in the East African Region, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the world at large as well as expanding markets for our local products,’’ she said.
President Samia said that the Msalato Airport project would increase employment opportunities both direct and indirect, directing the contractor executing the project to ensure that all works that can be done by locals be directed to Tanzanians living in the country’s capital.
However, the President was quick to warn unscrupulous locals who will secure jobs during the implementation of the project to desist from trying to steal procured equipment for the implementation of the project.
Speaking at the event, the Minister for Works and Transport Prof Makame Mbarawa said the airport, which will have a runway of 3.6 kilometres during phase I, was expected to open socio-economic activities that would benefit Tanzanians individually and the country at large.
Prof Mbarawa said the project will be implemented in two phases and the facility will be able to handle more than 1.5 million passengers annually.
AfDB’s country manager said the air transport network will not only improve the domestic and regional connectivity through Dodoma but also connectivity for Tanzania and other continents like the Middle East, Asia, Europe and America.
“Allowing international flights to land here will help to transform Tanzania and improve the rural part of the country,” she said.
“On behalf of the president of the AfDB we would like to reaffirm our commitment to supporting your government to ensure that this airport is built by December 2024 and it helps to transform the people of Tanzania so that this whole country becomes a middle income country,” said Dr Laverley.
In complementing business activities at the envisaged airport, the government is equally implementing yet another project for Dodoma Outer Ring Road which is expected to be a top-notch infrastructure and substantially increase economic activity in and around the city.
On a visit to the site recently, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa encouraged the contractor to speed up the pace of construction in order for the project to be completed on time and to the necessary international standards.
According to experts, the Dodoma Outer Ring Road project would not only transform the look of Dodoma City and make it one of the city’s landmarks, but it would also link Tanzania with Burundi, Uganda, and Rwanda, as well as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
As per the project’s write-up, the project’s implementation is a response to the need for better logistics services to handle the projected population boom as well as the expansion of economic activities in Dodoma, the country’s political capital.