Tanzania construction projects of new major roadways are currently underway throughout the central parts of the country in order to open the region up for additional trade and business.
Throughout this process, the Manyara region will be receiving special attention with the Minjingu-Babati-Singida road and the Babati-Dodoma-Iringa section of the Great North Road being specifically singled out for upgrading.
According to President Jakaya Kikwete, who spoke at the recent inauguration of the 240 kilometer Arusha-Athi River road, work has already begun on paving the road linking Arusha and Singida, a project that is receiving its funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
In addition to this project, President Kikwete also announced that another major highway system linking Tanzania and Kenya had been singled out to receive upgrades under the East African Road Project (EARP) network.
Included in this project is the Malindi-Mombasa-Horohoro-Tanga-Pangani to Bagamoyo road as well as the Mombasa-Voi-Mwatate-Holili-Moshi section of the road.
Included within the framework of the EARP is another major Tanzania road construction project which leads from Nyakanazi-Kigoma-Mpanda-Sumbawanga to the Zambian border and has been designed in order to provide shorter and faster access to southern Africa for travelers from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.
Additionally, President Kikwete said that more roads were being planned to build up the link between Tanzania and Burundi as well as Rwanda and Uganda.
According to Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the AfDB, the bank has injected over USD 3 billion into the East African economy to be used for infrastructure development projects and specifically in the upgrading of the roads system.
The East African Community regional roads upgrading program was originally initiated in 1998, since then, according to Dr. Kaberuka, the development of infrastructure has remained one of the top priorities of the EAC.
The current USD 156 million Arusha-Namanga road reconstruction and upgrading project is the first major project to be implemented under EARP and is being mutually financed by the AfDB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
According to a report by the Arusha Times, representatives from Tanzania have called on the EAC to modify the current regional road project in order to include Burundi and Rwanda.
In addition, Tanzania has also applied for addition financial support from the AfDB in order to support additional road projects so as to continue to improve the road connectivity within the region as well as with other African countries.
Estimates from EAC officials have indicated that the cost for road improvement projects in the region would require at least USD 10 billion, a sum which will require that additional potential financiers be approached for funds.