WALKING THE TALK: BUILDING A PROSPEROUS TANZANIA

MASSIVE road infrastructure projects being implemented across the country places Tanzania among sub-Saharan African nations with largest road networks.

The country currently has a total road network of 91,049km of roads of which 33,012km are national roads and the remaining 58,037km as district, urban and feeder roads.

The Tanzanian government has over the years taken deliberate measures and committed resources towards expanding the road network and leverage Tanzania’s comparative advantage by acting as a bridge economy that links the EAC and SADC regional markets.

This is crucial for the East African nation to tap into her enormous potential as a logistics hub, linking the markets of the EAC and SADC regional trading blocs.

As the government says in the 3rd National Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III), 2021/22-2025/26, geography and size are two of Tanzania’s comparative advantages. Tanzania is the 30th largest country in the world with over 945,087 km2 of land and water bodies.

It also borders eight other countries, six of which are landlinked, and is a member of three regional trading blocs with a combined market size of over 600 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product of approximately US$ 1.0 trillion.

Road infrastructures that will create solid intra and inter-linkages will crucially cement Tanzania’s position as an ideal location for investments in market-seeking industries that target the emerging African markets in EAC and SADC.

The government, hence, has regularly been beefing up the budget for the Ministry of Works and Transport, which is in charge of road infrastructures across the country.

In the financial year 2022/23, the government allocated a total of 1.42tri/- for the ministry.

Only recently, President Samia Suluhu Hassan launched the 42.4 kilometres of the East African Cooperation (EAC) Arusha Bypass Road.

The project whose inauguration was also attended by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and other heads of State from East African Community (EAC), is envisaged to create more opportunities in trade, business and investment sectors for Tanzania and the other regional members.

Apart from President Samia and Kenyatta, other heads of State who attended the event were Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Evariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia).

Speaking on the project, President Samia said the target was to fuel economic activities, especially in the tourism sector for people in Arusha, and others in the northern regions.

“This road is going to open up economic opportunities, among others in the tourism sector, I urge people living near the project area to make better use of the opportunities coming across for the economic gains at individual, national and block levels,” she said.

The project that was constructed at a cost of 197.4bn/- being a soft loan from African Development Bank (AfDB), is part of the multinational Arusha-Holili-Voi road, which is a successor to the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road that was completed in 2012.

It forms part of the larger East African Road Network consisting of 15,000 kilometres of the international highways and part of the Trans African Highway (TAH) number 8 from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt via Gaborone in Botswana.

The efforts to unlock economic potential also covered the southern highlands regions including Njombe, Mbeya and Iringa, which are rich in agriculture.

The determination to stimulate the economy in the three regions turned to reality as in early this month, President Samia inaugurated a number of projects including a 107.4-kilometre tarmac road connecting Njombe and Makete districts in Njombe Region.

Construction of the road started in 2017 at a cost of 243.4bn/- and it was undertaken in two phases. The project was crucial in unlocking business and tourism opportunities between Makete and neighbouring regions and it will also link to neighbouring countries.

The president also inaugurated the 39-kilometre Kikusya-Ipinda-Matema road in Kyela District, a 39-kilometer Chunya-Makongolosi road section in Chunya District all in Mbeya Region.

She also laid the foundation stone for the construction of a One Stop Border Post at the Songwe-Kasumulu entry point to facilitate movement of goods and to enhance trade, asking Tanzanians and all other road users to ensure that the infrastructure of the road is protected from vandalism.

“I call upon you to safeguard these infrastructures because they are your property,” she said, adding that Chunya-Makongolosi road will help to open up Mbeya Region by linking it with other regions, including Singida, Tabora and neighbouring countries by increasing movement of people and goods.

The President also warned drivers to stop abusing the infrastructure by breaching traffic regulations which lead to accidents.

“When we construct these infrastructures, the accidents also increase because the drivers violate traffic rules… These roads are meant for serving people and promoting economic growth and not to kill them… I want you to abide by laws,” Samia stressed.

The Minister for Works and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa said that the road section is part of the main road stretching from Mbeya- Chunya- Makongolosi – Rungwe to Singida with 528 kilometers.

This road will link three regions of Mbeya, Singida and Tabora. On his part, Tanzania National Roads Agency Chief Executive, Rogatus Mativila said that the road section with 39kms has been constructed by Chinese Company CR15BG at a cost of 67.46bn/-.

On May 18th this year, President Samia also inaugurated the Tabora-Mpanda road that has been constructed at a cost of 473.8bn/-.

The 343-kilometre road will open up economic opportunities in Tabora, Mpanda and Rukwa regions. The road also links Tanzania with the neighbouring country of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and ease movements of people and goods to Zambia, which will improve trade.

The government also allocated the budget for constructing a road from Mpanda to Karema Port in part of efforts to connect Tanzania and DRC through the Katavi Region.

President Samia further commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) for supporting Tanzania on constructing different road projects that are so beneficial for the country.

Some of the projects that were undertaken with the support from the AfDB include Namtumbo Tunduru (193km) Dodoma Iringa (260km), Dodoma-Babati (188km), Sakina-Tengeru (14km), Arusha bypass (42.4km), Mbinga-Mbamba Bay (66km), and the 202km road from Tunduru to Mtambaswala.

She said, the AfDB has also provided loan to Tanzania to execute different ongoing projects such as Kabingo-Kasulu-Manyovu (266km), Mkange-Pangani (128km), Pangani Bridge, and Dar es Salaam Rapid Bus Transit (Dart) infrastructures, Dodoma Outer Ring Road, Mnivata-Tandahimba-Masasi (160km) and the Msalato Airport in Dodoma.

In the financial year 2022/23, the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) planned to implement a total of 467.11 kilometres of roads at tarmac level, construct 14 bridges as well as rehabilitating 32.47km of roads in the highways.

The agency also planned to construct 103km of regional roads in 2022/23.

Also, the government during the current fiscal year plans to continue to emphasise on the construction of roads to open up economic opportunities and those connecting Tanzania with neighbouring countries in the form of Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Financing (EPC + F).

The projects include Kidatu – Ifakara – Lupilo – Malinyi – Londo – Lumecha (Songea) Roads, (499 km); Handeni – Kibirashi – Kibaya – Kwa Mtoro – Singida (460Km);  Karatu – Mbulu – Haydom – Sibiti River – Lalago – Maswa (Simiyu) (389 km); Kibaha – Mlandizi – Chalinze – Morogoro Expressway (158 km); and Igawa – Songwe – Tunduma (Expressway) (218.0 km).

The government will complete ongoing construction of road networks that connect regions, including Tabora – Kigoma and Nyakanazi –Kigoma and prioritise in construction of roads networks important for the economy including Makongorosi – Itigi – Mokiwa, Mafinga – Mtwango – Nyololo – Mgololo, Kahama – Nyang’wale – Geita and others.

The FYDP III has placed priority in taking comparative advantage of the geography and size of the country to enhance competitiveness.

However, according to FYDP III, the challenges besetting the infrastructural sector in Tanzania extend beyond road and transport to unlock Tanzania’s infrastructural potential to attract all sorts of manufacturing and processing industries, the document suggested for a need to hasten implementation of various projects which included complete construction of 2,500 km of paved roads, construct 6,006 km of paved roads, begin construction of 14 bridges and complete construction of seven bridges.

 

 

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