Plans for a new Tanzania railway are currently underway and construction is set to begin next year.
The new 691 km railway system will connect landlocked Burundi and Rwanda with Tanzania and make the transportation and exportation of goods and resources more efficient for each of the three countries.
The project is expected to cost approximately $4 billion and take approximately five years to complete.
“The main objective of this project is to reduce the cost of imported merchandise,” Burundi’s transport minister, Philippe Njoni, told Reuters on Monday.
According to Mr. Njoni, construction of the project will primarily be funded by Burundi and Rwanda, as well as by other additional donors.
However, Mr. Njoni also said that both Burundi and Rwanda will work together with Tanzania in order to seek additional financing.
Mr. Njoni indicated to Reuters that discussions have already begun with the African Development Bank, the entity that took the original responsibility of financing the initial feasibility studies for this construction project.
According to Mr. Njoni, “economic studies showed that the railway will lower the cost of transport of merchandise from 40% (of the total costs) to 5%.”
The completion of this Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania railway will increase the potential for exports from the three countries.
Some of these benefits will include an increased capability for the exportation of coffee, which is Burundi’s primary hard currency earner, as well as an increase in the ability to move minerals, such as nickel, through the Dar es Salaam and Mombasa ports.
These benefits, in addition to others that have been anticipated, are expected to have a large impact on the economic plans of each of the countries involved in this project.
“Burundi will be able to easily export 15,000 tons of coffee in a very short period of time,” said Mr. Njoni, “the project presents a great advantage on the economic plan of our respective countries.”