Ministers for Infrastructure of Rwanda and Tanzania yesterday met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to consider implementation of the countries’ joint 521kilometre Isaka-Kigali Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project which is estimated to cost $2.5 billion.
Besides adoption of feasibility studies already conducted in the two countries, key outcomes also include an agreement to lay the foundation stone by October, and the two countries jointly mobilizing funds for construction of the joint project with each country meeting the cost of infrastructure in its own territory.
A related joint communiqué indicates that James Musoni, Rwanda’s minister of infrastructure, was invited to visit Tanzania from Friday to Saturday, by his counterpart, Prof. MakameMbarwa, Tanzania’s minister of works, transport and communications.
On Saturday, the two ministers held a meeting to arrange the implementation of the two countries’ Presidents given on January 14 that ministers responsible for transport in the two countries meet within two weeks to deliberate on how to implement construction of the joint railway line.
“The Ministers meeting was preceded by the meeting of the Permanent Secretaries responsible for transport of the two countries and the Permanent Secretary of Finance and Planning of Tanzania,” reads part of the communiqué.
“The Ministers reiterated their strong commitment to further strengthen the relationship for the mutual benefits of the two countries and their people and the prevailing commitment to realize the implementation of the Isaka-Kigali railway project and its significance to reduce transport cost, foster physical integration of transport modes, economic growth and improved social services in the sub region.”
The meeting was also attended by Tanzania’s minister of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Dr. Augustine Mahiga, and other senior government officials from both countries.
Deliberations were on key implementation issues of the project, including: progress already made by Tanzania on construction of the SGR – from Dar to Morogoro and from Morogoro to Makutupora; and they also agreed to adopt the railway feasibility studies already conducted in the two countries.
The ministers adopted the proposed project delivery method of design and build similar to the Dar to Morogoro and Morogoro to Makutupora SGR project for purpose of uniformity of standards.
“Issues regarding train operations and track access shall be agreed in future separately,” reads the joint communiqué.
Furthermore, the ministers agreed on the proposal to adopt the setup of the existing joint technical monitoring committee for the Dar-Isaka to Kigali or Keza-Musongati (DIKKM) project reduced to Tanzania and Rwanda.
They adopted the proposed timeline towards implementation of the Presidents’ directives so as to lay the foundation stone by October, 2018.
Rwanda and Tanzania agreed on joint construction of the SGR from Isaka (northwestern Tanzania) to Kigali, to facilitate movement of goods and services, following a meeting between Presidents Paul Kagame and John PombeMagufuli, during the former’s one-day working visit to Dar-es-Salaam, mid this month.
After the leaders’ meeting, President Magufuli, among others, said they want the construction “to start immediately” because the feasibility studies and designs are complete.
Nearly 80 per cent of Rwanda’s imports and exports go through Tanzania.
Sources say both countries ministers of finance are scheduled to meet in Dar on January 29 on the same project and to discuss on the finance mechanism of the joint project.