TAZARA to re-engage Chinese investors to revitalise operations

THE Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) plans to engage Chinese investors to revitalise operations of the railway line that is underperforming due to insufficient capitalisation.

TAZARA Council of Ministers, comprising the Ministers responsible for Transport, Finance and Industry in Tanzania and Zambia which met in Lusaka, Zambia recently, directed the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) to complete the process of engaging the Chinese investors, who have expressed interest in reviving TAZARA.

“We noted that despite the abundance of potential traffic for TAZARA, the Authority has continued to perform poorly due to lack of sufficient capitalisation,”

“Further, taking into account the directives of the Heads of State of Tanzania and Zambia, who met in August 2022 and directed that TAZARA be revitalised quickly, the Council directed the JTC to complete the process of engaging the Chinese investors, who have expressed interest in reviving TAZARA,” a statement from the council of ministers’ meeting reads in part.

The Council emphasised that it was critical that a lasting solution for TAZARA be found, through the engagement of the Chinese investors and therefore, directed that the engagement should commence by the end of April 2023 and negotiations be completed within one year, the statement further said.

Meanwhile, a review of the TAZARA Act has been concluded with the Zambian government given time to review the proposed changes in the Draft Bill in order to align the contents of the Bill with the aspirations of the new dawn administration.

The TAZARA railway jointly owned by the governments of the Tanzania and Zambia on a 50-50 basis is a key route for copper exports through Dar es Salaam port from Zambia and Africa’s biggest producer, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

However, the 1,860-kilometer (1,156-mile) network has suffered from a lack of investment since it was built and funded through an interest-free loan from China in the 1970s.

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