TANZANIA and Burundi have agreed to implement infrastructure projects that connect the two countries, in a grand move which will continue facilitating movement of people, goods and services.
The Heads of States of the two countries, President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Burundian Counterpart Evariste Ndayishimiye also agreed on the need to take bold measures on improving business and strengthening further the existing bilateral ties.
This was said yesterday by President Samia shortly after she held talks with President Ndayishimiye at the Bujumbura State House in Burundi.
The Tanzanian Head of State is in Burundi for a two-day state visit. The trip is in response to an invitation from President Ndayishimiye.
The duo discussed the importance of building road and railway infrastructure that link the two countries, to continue facilitating movement of people, goods and services.
The infrastructure projects include upgrading of the KasuluManyovu section in Tanzania and Rumonge-Gitaza road section in Burundi on the central corridor. Moreover, plans are in place for construction of a railway line from Uvinza in Tanzania to Msongati and Gitega in Burundi.
“This slot will be connected with the ongoing Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma,” said President Samia, adding that they have in-structed ministers for Finance and Transport dockets from both countries to combine efforts on looking for funds for financing the projects.
President Samia further said that they have also agreed to continue inviting investors from both parts to utilise the available opportunities for the interest of economic growth.
Going forward, she said trade volume between the two countries has increased to 201bn/- in 2019, up from 83.9bn/- that was recorded in 2015.
She said so far the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) has registered a total 18 projects by Burundian investors worth 209bn US dollars.
According to her, at least 3,544 Tanzanians have been employed in the projects registered by investors from Burundi. “Also, there are some Tanzanian companies that are operating in Burundi, including Azania, Inter Petrol Ltd and CRDB Bank, just to mention a few,” noted the Head of State.
She further noted that they also agreed to continue removing tax and non-tax trade barriers for the sake of attracting a good number of investors as well as attracting construction of a one stop border post at the borders of the two countries.
In another development, the president said that Tanzania is taking a number of initiatives to improve marine transport especially in Lake Tanganyika.
“We have started renovating the oil tanker that has a capacity of carrying 350 tonnes. We shall also constrict two ships for cargo and passengers respectively,” said President Samia.
In yet another development, she also encouraged the Burundi business community to continue using the Port of Dar es Salaam in their business, saying Tanzania is ready to handle all the cargo form its neighbouring country.
“At least 95 per cent of Burundian cargo pass through the Port of Dar es Salaam, last year alone a total of 476,809 tonnes of cargo for Burundi passed through Tanzania,” explained the Head of State. Issues of peace and security also featured in their talk, with President Samia saying they have also agreed to continue maintaining safety at the border posts.
“We also discussed the need to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and environmental protection, arts, sports and tradition,” she added.
President Samia further assured her Burundian counterpart of Tanzania’s commitment to continue convening international communities to remove sanctions against Burundi.
She also said Tanzania is supporting Burundi’s move to join the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The President also witnessed the signing of agreement documents, and today she will address a business forum between businessmen from Tanzania and Burundi as well as discussing various issues, especially investment opportunities in the two countries.