How Tanzania enhances connectivity

  • Samia asks Africa governments to embrace private enterprises

MARRAKECH : PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has outlined various measures Tanzania is taking to address the challenge of connectivity and promote economic growth, including investing heavily in road construction.

The Tanzanian leader said that connectivity is a major challenge in Africa, thus the continent should invest a lot to address the gap.

“The government of Tanzania has invested a lot in connecting the country with its eight road accessible countries including Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi among others.” President Samia said here yesterday at the Africa Investment Forum.

The forum is organised by the Pan-African lender African Development Bank (AfDB) and other multilateral financial institutions. This year’s theme is “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains”.

President Samia said roads, railways and waterways are critical in moving goods and people across the continent and outlined Tanzania’s plan to connect East, Central and Southern Africa.

She said Tanzania is dealing with connectivity through working with all eight neighbouring countries.

Dr Samia said the country also uses marine transport through its various ports such as Dar es Salam Port, which she said is a major gateway to Eastern and Central Africa.

Others are Tanga Port which gives access to the Northern part of Tanzania and to the neighbouring countries and  Mtwara Port, which is opening the Southern Corridor of Tanzania going to Malawi as well as Zanzibar Port.

She said Tanzania also has inland ports such as Mwanza Port in Lake Victoria as well as Kigoma Port in Lake Tanganyika.

“Kigoma Port can take you to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) easily…so we are working on all this connectivity. We also have railway networks which connect the ports,” said Dr Samia.

She mentioned the railways found in the country as northern railway, central railway, noting that plans are under way to construct new railways.

“The central railway is the upgrading of the Asian railway and we are now constructing Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) which will connect the Dar es Salaam Port to Burundi through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) then Rwanda and  Uganda,” she said.

The Head of State also said that the country is also connected by air, through Air Tanzania which is currently transporting people and goods to the neighbouring countries and even outside Africa.

“So that is how we are connected,” she said, adding that Tanzania is endowed with varieties of minerals for technology intensive industry.

“Tanzania has cobalt, graphite, we have lithium and many others as well as energy sources, such as gas, solar and hydro power. What Tanzania can do now, is to invest and make sure that we have enough power,” she said.

She revealed further that the country boasts arable land for agriculture and has invested heavily in human capital development and modernisation of its economy.

“Technology and digital innovation have been given priority. We have established several startups for the youth for them to be able to engage in various sectors such as innovation,” she added.

Dr Samia also acknowledged the critical role of the private sector in the growth of the continent’s economies and asked governments to embrace private enterprises.

“We are working with the private sector. We have created a favourable environment for the sector to thrive in our country,” said the president.

For his side, the President of African Development Bank Group and Chairperson of Africa Investment Forum, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said that Africa’s economy witnessed a GDP growth of 3.8 per cent in 2022, higher than the World average of 3.5 per cent.

Dr Adesina said that pre-pandemic top performing African countries are projected to be back in the league of 10 fastest-growing economies in 2023/2024.

He also expressed his optimism that Africa’s population will reach 2.5 billion by 2050 equivalent to 25 per cent of the global population.

“What we already know is the world is becoming more African for the huge population of 477 million people between the ages of 15 and 25. Africa will be a key for supplying global labour force,” he said

Moreover, he said Africa’s food and Agriculture market will be worth one trillion US dollars by 2030, adding that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a consolidated market size of 3.4 trillion US dollars.

Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, who was also on the panel, called for resource cooperation and action for Africa to realise its development goals.

“The president of Tanzania mentioned the connectivity issue, which is very important because the connectivity facilitates not only the movement of goods but also people. African countries need to cooperate and work together for action because we already know the problem,” he said.

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