The contract was signed by Tanzanian foreign minister, Mr Palamagamba Kabudi, and his Chinese counterpart, Mr Wang Li, on January 6.
The north-south line will link the port of Mwanza on Lake Victoria to southern town of Isaka. The $US 1.32bn line will be funded by the Tanzanian government.
The line is part of the country’s $US 6.7bn standard-gauge railway project, which was announced in April 2017, and is intended to replace the country’s colonial-era metre-gauge network.
The project is intended to create an international route connecting Tanzania’s eastern port of Dar es Salaam, via the Tanzanian interior, with two western branches splitting at Isaka. One branch will run to Lake Victoria, offering shipping connections to Uganda and Kenya, and the other will run west to Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The line is being constructed in five phases:
- Dar es Salaam - Morogoro: a 205km six-station section which began construction in 2017 under a consortium of Yapi Merkezi, Turkey, and Mota-Engil, Portugal. A test run was successfully completed on a 20km section near Soga in July 2019
- Morogoro - Dodoma - Makutopora: a 348km eight-station section which will be funded through a $US 1.46bn loan agreement with local and international lenders, announced in 2018
- Makutupora - Tabora - Isaka: a 435km section which will connect the eastern network to Isaka, where the line splits into two branches
- Mwanza - Isaka, and
- Isaka - Rusumo: a 371km $US 942m section which will connect the line to the border with Rwanda.
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