Rwanda, Tanzania seek to fast-track railway project

Minister for Infrastructure, Amb Claver Gatete was in Tanzania to discuss the implementation of the Isaka-Kigali Standard Gauge Railway project. Sam Ngendahimana.

Rwandan and Tanzanian ministers in charge of transport met on Monday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to discuss the implementation of the Isaka-Kigali Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project and reiterated the desire by both countries to hasten the project.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Amb Claver Gatete, and his Tanzanian counterpart, Eng. Isack Kamwelwe, led the two countries’ respective delegations.

“The two ministers held an official meeting to review progress and agree on major policy and strategic actions to be taken by respective governments to facilitate and expedite implementation of the Isaka-Kigali Railway project,” reads part of the communiqué.

“The ministers reiterated the commitment of both countries to this important project and their desire to fast-track the implementation of the project towards the directive of Heads of State to make the two countries connected by the standard gauge railway to facilitate transport and trade along the corridor”.

The communiqué indicates that the ministers reviewed and deliberated on key implementation issues of the project and, among others, agreed that the Tanzanian government will fast-track the longstanding payments related to the project.

The meeting also directed the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) to mobilize necessary funds for payment of the upcoming invoices from the consultants working on the project.

No amounts of money or pertinent details are mentioned in the statement.

The ministers also directed Permanent Secretaries responsible for transport to fast-track the ratification of the bilateral agreement for the financing and implementation of the joint project.

Permanent Secretaries responsible for transport and finance were directed to meet and discuss on the financial model before the ministers meet and conclude the matter “not later than” November 15.

The 521-kilometre Isaka-Kigali SGR project will cost an estimated $2.5 billion.

At the end of January, Rwandan and Tanzanian Finance ministers met in Dar es Salaam to discuss possible funding options for the project. At the time, Gatete was the Minister for Finance.

His delegation then met with his Tanzanian counterpart, Dr Philip Mpango and his team as a follow up to the previous meeting held January 20 by the countries’ Ministers for Infrastructure on the same project.