Railway construction to begin next year - Bihire

The long awaited construction of the railway line that will connect Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania will begin next year. The development was confirmed Tuesday by the Minister of Infrastructure, Linda Bihire, during an exclusive interview, with The New Times.

The long awaited construction of the railway line that will connect Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania will begin next year. The development was confirmed Tuesday by the Minister of Infrastructure, Linda Bihire, during an exclusive interview, with The New Times.

She said that the construction had been planned to begin from Isaka in Tanzania, to Kigali but due to the upgrading of the infrastructure currently going on there, construction works will begin from Dar es Salaam and will kick-off at the beginning of 2010.

“The project is promising and exciting; all stakeholders are positive and responding. Very soon we will have a cheap link to our neighbours which will ease movement of goods and people,” Bihire reiterated.

She added that the project is facilitated by the three countries and implementation will be based on equity share, based on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model which was adopted for the development of the railway line.

Bihire said that upon completion, the railway line will create jobs for Rwandans and ease the burden of expensive transportation of goods and personnel.

She revealed that next month, a roundtable will be convened in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa bringing together the three partner States and African Development Bank; the main development partner in the Multi-million project, to discuss the feasibility report that will be delivered by TPS Engineering.

“The railway will be locomotive but there is a possibility of switching it to electrical. It’s a standard gauge moving 120KMH different from the one now operating in Tanzania which is narrow gauge,” Bihire said.

The cost of the project is estimated at between $2.7bn and 3.5bn.

The three governments have agreed to establish a Joint Technical Monitoring Committee (JTMC) responsible for monitoring and managing the technical aspects while Rwanda has been tasked with coordinating the railway project.

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