AfDB to throw weight on SGR projects

THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed interest to finance the implementation of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project in Tanzania.

The remark was made by Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba when he met and held talks with the AfDB Group Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr Beth Dunford.

Shortly after their meeting in Dodoma, on Tuesday, Dr Nchemba said that AfDB has expressed interest to participate in the mega strategic project of the SGR in some areas that have not been completed.

Recently, the governments of Tanzania and Burundi applied for financing from the AfDB toward the cost of the construction of the Tanzania/Burundi (Uvinza – Musongati – Gitega) SGR section. In May this year, the government announced an invitation for the initial selection work of the same.

This will be the phase one of the Tanzania – Burundi – DR Congo SGR project and intends to apply part of the proceeds from the loans to make payments under the contract for works for construction of  SGR under Design and Build Arrangement.

The two governments have entered into a bilateral agreement and appointed the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) as the implementing agency the multinational project.

In the meeting yesterday, Dr Mwigulu also noted that the AfDB has also expressed its intention to cooperate with the government in increasing capital to Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank Limited (TADB), which is the catalyst for the implementation of agricultural projects in terms of irrigation and value increment.

He added that other areas that he discussed with AfDB director include projects for specific areas of agriculture in promoting the participation of youth in production activities and projects for specific areas of livestock.

Speaking on President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s idea of establishing the Youth Bank, Dr Nchemba said that they have agreed that a team of experts will meet and discuss how that would be implemented.

Moreover, Dr Nchemba thanked AfDB on behalf of the government, for the support they provided in various development sectors including infrastructure, energy, agriculture, water and education.

He noted that approximately 2.6 billion US dollars have been provided by the AfDB for the implementation of 24 projects, where the agricultural sector has been given four per cent of all funds that have been extended by the bank.

“The fund has been used in production projects including promoting the cultivation of crops such as wheat, sunflower and increase income for the farmer,” he noted.

He further explained that African countries have resolved to increase investments in irrigation schemes, value addition of agriculture products and creates better environment for product storage. He said the government is implementing all these by increasing the budget for the agricultural sector.

“The government has increased the budget from 294bn/-for the year 2021/20222 to 970.8bn/- for the financial year 2023/2024,” he added

For her part, Dr Dunford congratulated the government for its development efforts and promised that AfDB will continue to cooperate with Tanzania in achieving various projects including agriculture, livestock and fishing sectors.

The meeting, led by Dr Nchemba was also attended by the Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega, Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries of the three ministries.

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