The development of infrastructure remains the key to sustainable integration and socio-economic development within the East African region.
But the various inadequacies in other sectors must be addressed fully if the goals stipulated under the East African Community framework are to be attained.
The drive towards improved infrastructure in the sub-region calls for more prudent measures following the recent enforcement of the Common Market Protocol.
For Tanzania, infrastructure development cutting across national borders must be accorded high priority considering that the country has much potential to become a logistical hub for landlocked central African countries.
This is why we view with positive light the disclosure early this week by EAC Secretary General Juma Mwapachu that the sub-regional body was planning to build a railway line to link Tanga and Kampala to boost the economy and facilitate smooth implementation of the bloc’s Common Market Protocol.
Mwapachu said the planed railway line from Tanga to Kampala via Musoma would strengthen the economies of the five EAC partner states and facilitate fair competition in the implementation of the protocol.
The project has been on the drawing board for far too long to remain unimplemented. President Yoweri Museveni of Ugandan was quoted some five years ago as saying the Musoma link was the lifeline of the Uganda of his dreams. He went further and called for private and public partnership to ensure the dream came true.
We strongly feel that, with the support of Uganda and other countries in the sub-region, measures could safely be taken to expedite implementation of this all-important project.
It is public knowledge that Dar es Salaam port has stretched its capacity to the point of being a liability in economic terms.
The port now handles about 95 per cent of Tanzania’s own international trade in addition to serving neighbouring landlocked countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The port has a rated capacity for 4.1 million tonnes of dry cargo, 6.0 million tonnes of bulk liquid cargo, 3.1 million tonnes of general cargo and one million tonnes of containerised cargo. It could easily offer more efficient services to its customers and improve its image if some of the cargo were, say, diverted to an expanded Tanga port.
We therefore wish to urge the government of Tanzania and other stakeholders to concurrently implement the Tanga-Musoma-Kampala railway line project and the Tanga port expansion project.
Experts say that Tanga port, currently with a handling capacity of 500,000 tonnes per year, could easily double its capacity with some relatively minor investments in infrastructure, maintenance and improved operational management.
The experts add that investment to the tune of only between $8m and $10m would enable Tanga port, right at its present location, to handle a much higher cargo volume and better compete with Dar es Salaam and Mombasa ports.
Honestly, we see no reason for the Tanga-Musoma-Kampala railway line project to remain a mere dream this late.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
Looks like this railway would need to run around the northern end of Lake Victoria which would mean running through Kenya. Either that or a ferry across the lake.
Tanzania, Uganda all for Arusha-Musoma railway
BY RODGERS LUHWAGO
30th June 2011
The proposed multi-billion-shilling railway project to run from Tanga via Arusha to Musoma will steer clear of the much contested stretch in Serengeti National Park by 100 kilometres to preserve the ecosystem, Transport minister Omari Nundu said here yesterday.
He was speaking to the media after the signing of a USD3billion Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Tanzania and Uganda for the development of three ports and a railway line.
The project will consider concerns by Tanzanians and the international community over the need to preserve Serengeti National Park’s ecosystem.
The plan to steer clear of the particular stretch follows reports by the international media that the government has dropped plans to build a highway through the world-famous park.
The reports also suggest that the government has informed UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee that it would continue with its plans to build an Arusha-Musoma highway but without touching the 53km stretch through the national park.
The two East African Community partner states are out to put up a Tanga-Arusha-Musoma railway line and ports at Tanga (Mwambani) and Musoma in Tanzania and Kampala in Uganda.
The breakdown of the cost shows that USD1.9bn will be directed into developing the railway line, USD695.5m into financing the development of Mwambani Port, USD72.6m into developing Musoma Port and USD320m into the construction of Kampala Port.
“This is an important day for our two countries and our region. It is an occasion we have been waiting for for many years. Finally, the day has come for signing the Memorandum of Understanding for the joint project,” said minister Nundu at the ceremony.
He said the signing of the MoU signalled the continuation of the two countries’ strong economic relations and cultural partnership in fostering social and economic development.
“The project demonstrates a common a resolve by both governments to develop adequate, reliable, cost-effective, efficient and seamless transport and telecommunication systems so that the railway sub-sector becomes more competitive,” he added.
The minister revealed that the governments of the two countries have started negotiating with development partners while also mobilising funds from internal sources, private sector and financial institutions.
He said the two governments would cooperate fully in the implementation of the project through a Joint Task Force that would monitor the technical issues of the project and a Project Coordination Unit that would coordinate implementation at a higher level.
“A specific progress reporting schedule to a committee of the ministerial permanent secretaries and eventually a ministerial council will be drawn up soon after the signing of the MoU,” Nundu elaborated.
He said Tanzania considers the project as one of the government’s priorities in the Transport Sector Investment Programmes, adding that the project was also included in the East African Railway Master Plan adopted in March 2009 in Dar es Salaam.
Uganda’s Works and Transport minister, Abraham Byandala, meanwhile noted that his landlocked country depends heavily on the Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports for her imports and exports, adding that transport costs to the ports come to about 35-37 per cent of the value of exports and imports.
Dodoma — Tanzania and Uganda last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to construct a multi-billion dollar Tanga-Arusha-Musoma Railway line.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Minister for Transport Mr. Omar Nundu said "this is an important day for our two countries. This is a continuation of our strong economic relations and cultural partnership, in fostering social and economic development of our two countries."
Nundu said that Tanzania and Uganda had reached that decision as a way of developing adequate, reliable, cost effective, efficient and joint transport and telecommunication systems to boost railway transport between the two countries.
During the signing ceremony, Tanzania was represented by Minister Nundu and Uganda was represented by its Minister for Works and Transport, Engineer Abraham Byandala.
Nundu said that $1.9b of the $3b will be used to construct the railway project, while $696 million will construct the Mwambani Port in Tanga region. And $ 72.6m will go to Musoma Port, while $320 million will develop the Kampala Port.
In the multi-billion railway project, the two countries have said they will consider a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for the development of agriculture, agro-industry, manufacturing, transport and service sector among others.
However, Nundu said the project of the Tanga-Arusha-Musoma Railway will not cut through the Serengeti National Park, something that had raised hot debate from local and foreign activists who strongly argued that the project would destroy the heritage and ecosystem of the park.
Tanzania has increased infrastructure spending in thebudget by 85% to Tshs2.78 tn($1.73 billion).
4th October 2011
Tanzania and Uganda yesterday agreed to speed-up construction of the Tanga-Musoma-Uganda railway.
The two countries also agreed to expand Tanga and Musoma ports as well as to build a new port in Uganda for feeding the new railway line intended to connect the two countries.
The agreements were reached during a brief visit by Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, who jetted in Dar es Salaam for official talks with his counterpart, President Jakaya Kikwete.
The talks were held at the State House after President Museveni was received at the Julius Nyerere International Airport by his host. The Ugandan leader left shortly after the talks.
During the talks, the two leaders consented to speed-up the construction of the railway line to open up the third Ugandan gateway for cargo transportation from the Indian Ocean.
Other gateways that Uganda uses for transportation of its cargo to and from the Indian Ocean are the Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania and Mombasa port in neighbouring Kenya.
They said the construction must start as soon as possible and the two formed a task force to supervise the process. The task force will be formed by ministers of transport, finance and foreign affairs of the two countries.
Under the initiative, goods will be transported by rail from Tanga port to Musoma, where they will be ferried to Uganda through Lake Victoria.
According to a State House press statement released after the talks, the two leaders made the decision due to the benefits of the railway line to the economies of the two countries.
“They have also made the decision taking into account that without close and proper supervision of the two counties of Tanzania and Uganda, it will take many years for the railway line to be constructed,” it said.
The idea to have a railway line connecting the two countries from Tanga to Musoma was initiated by the first President of Tanzania, the late Julius Nyerere, but its implementation was delayed due to various reasons.
The Uganda leader arrived in the country around 11am at the airport where he inspected a guard of honour, watched traditional dances before proceeding to the State House for official talks with Kikwete.
Apart from the eight years (1971 to 1979) of dictator Idi Amin’s rule, Tanzania and Uganda have enjoyed a close relationship based on mutual co-operation, good neighbourliness and solidarity.
Even during those dark years, Tanzanians remained sympathetic to their Ugandan brothers and sisters. Many, including current President Yoweri Museveni, found Tanzania the ultimate safe haven.
The relationship between the two countries is therefore on a firm foundation built during the struggle for independence of the two countries and the blood of the gallant Tanzania and Ugandan combatants who sacrificed their lives to free Uganda from the dictatorship.
It is in the same light that we see the short - but important - one day working visit to Tanzania by President Yoweri Museveni two days ago.
During the meeting, the Ugandan leader and his host, President Jakaya Kikwete agreed to speed up construction of a railway from Tanga Port in Tanzania to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria.
From there, cargo would be shipped to Uganda where another port would be constructed on the shores of the lake.
According to a statement issued by the State House after the meeting, the two leaders formed a taskforce to oversee fast-tracked implementation of the project.
No doubt this project would significantly help to improve transportation of goods for the land-locked Uganda. But we also see this project as both a challenge and an opportunity for Tanzania.
Our ports have had a poor record, with inefficiency, bureaucracy and a horde of recurring problems leading to delays in clearing goods from the port.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was recently quoted in a section of the international media as saying that if Tanzania could lease Dar port to Rwanda that would be the end of his country’s economic woes.
Whether we agree with him or not, that’s not the issue. The point is we have to marshal all our energies to ensure that our ports meet the expectations of their increasing users – including Uganda.
But the project is an opportunity to do business with potential dividends to the country’s economic growth.
The rail would for sure prompt revival of economic activities in its path, some of which collapsed with the abandonment of the Tanga-Arusha railway.
When we talk of Uganda, we are talking of a country that is going to be using Tanzania to transport not only its agricultural produce. Uganda will soon be exporting oil that has been discovered in the shimmering fringe of Lake Albert in Africa’s western Rift Valley.
Tullow Oil, a U.K.-based oil exploration company, is reported to have discovered as much as 2.5 billion barrels of oil, enough to change everything in Uganda. The value of the oil windfall is estimated at $2 billion a year for the next 20 years.
And President Museveni is on record to have demanded that instead of exporting crude oil a refinery should be built allowing Uganda to sell fuel to other countries in the region and profit more from the resource.
This project is of immense value for both Tanzania and Uganda. Let’s grab the opportunity.
Uganda will soon be exporting oil that has been discovered in the fringe of Lake Albert in Africa’s western Rift Valley. Tullow Oil, a UK-based oil exploration company, is reported to have discovered as much as 2.5 billion barrels of oil, enough to change everything in Uganda. The value of the oil windfall is estimated at $2 billion a year for the next 20 years. President Museveni is on record demanding that instead of exporting crude oil a refinery should be built, allowing Uganda to sell fuel to other countries in the region and profit more from the resource.
At a meeting early in October, President Museveni and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania agreed to speed up construction of the proposed new railway from the Tanzanian port of to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria. From there, cargo would be shipped to Uganda where another port would be constructed on the shores of the lake. According to a statement issued by State House after the meeting, the two leaders formed a taskforce to oversee fast-tracked implementation of the project.
Railway to link Tanga to Kampala
Category: East Africa
Published on 24 December 2011Hits: 23
The governments of Tanzania and Uganda have commissioned a Chinese firm, Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to carry out a feasibility study on an envisaged railway that will link Tanga to Arusha and Musoma. The study willl cost 600bn/-.
From Musoma the railway will progress to Kampala in Uganda. The agreement, which was signed recently, will also boost the construction of a new port in Pangani area in Tanga.
The initiative is carried out with a focus to improve East African economies for the member states which are coming closer in co-operation day by day.
The agreement was concluded by the Minister for Transport, Mr Omar Nundu and Minister for Infrastructure of Uganda, Mr Chebrot Stephen, in Dar es Salaam. "Both countries have agreed to contribute funds for construction of the railway line and the port at Pangani in Tanga," said Mr Nundu.
On his part, the Director of CCECC, Mr Wang Xiangdon, said his company has been implementing various projects successfully together with the government of Tanzania.
He said that his company is the one that constructed the famous Tanzania-Zambia Railway line (Tazara). The Uganda minister also said that Uganda and Tanzania have a long history of co-operation, so these projects will strengthen the political and economical partnerships in these two countries.
Meanwhile, Minister Nundu gave his condolences to the flood victims when speaking with journalists and advised the people not to return to their old residences. "I advise the victims not to return to their old homes. They should also accept the advice of not building in lowlands, he said.
Speaking to the loss caused by the floods, the minister gave the example of Gulwe in Dodoma Region, where the railway line was affected by floods because people had farmed in the mountains causing deforestation.
According to him, the ministry is new so they want to work with people who are willing to work hard and they are going to remove anyone who does not obey government directives.
Uganda and Tanzania have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese construction company to build a railway line passing through the Serengeti National Park to Kampala. However, conservationists have opposed the development, saying it is against international conservation treaties and that it will affect seasonal migration of the wild beasts through the park.
The Serengeti is a continuation of the Greater Mara Ecosystem which is famous for its exceptional population of big cats, game, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October, famously called the Great Migration.
The Minister for Transport, Mr Abraham Byandala, yesterday confirmed to Daily Monitor the signing of the MoUs which begin with the China Civil Engineering Construction Company conducting a feasibility study worth about $450 million for the proposed railway route from Tanga port to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria from where a new railway ferry route will then connect across the lake to a proposed new lake port in Uganda.
The new port would then be connected by a rail link to Kampala and beyond.
Mr Byandala said construction of Bukasa port has already began. This is despite the fact that two lake ports already exist at Port Bell and Jinja, which are currently underutilised.
“I signed for the state minister to travel and sign the documents and if he did travel then the memorandum should be signed,” Mr Byandala said. He added that Parliament did not need to approve the deal because the Chinese are carrying out the feasibility study free of charge. The railway would also open up pending mining concessions in the area between Serengeti and Musoma and possibly give the much needed green light for a soda ash factory at Lake Natron in Tanzania.
According to Prof. Wolfgang Thome’s blog, the past president of the Uganda Tourism Association, the timing of the signing of the MoU was well chosen as many, including conservationists, are on vacation and could not pay much attention.
Uganda’s conservation groups, who were not aware of the latest developments, said this move paints a bad picture to the country which has signed conservation treaties and it is important the Ministry of Transport makes public the feasibility studies and mitigation measures put in place for scrutiny.
“The government should follow certain guidelines in major investments in protected areas like the national park. This development should not have a negative impact like disrupting the migration routes for wild animals, we are interested in seeing the Environment Impact Assessment for the route,” the Executive Director Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, Mr Godber Tumushabe, said.
The Executive Editor of the Ecological Christian Organisation, Mr Isaac Kabong, said if the project will disrupt wildlife and tourism, then it is a setback to the conservation and tourism sector of the region and a bad name to the country for not honouring conservation treaties.
GANDA (eTN) - The environmental assaults on many fronts in Tanzania, often written about here and described as the “Corridor of Destruction” in previous feature articles, now seems to come home to roost to Uganda, too, according to regular “green” sources in Kampala.
Disquieting reports are emerging from environmental watch dogs in Uganda that the planned construction of a new railway line from Tanga – where Tanzania intends to build a new deep sea harbor right inside the Coelacanth Marine National Park – to the Lake Victoria town of Musoma will result in several hundreds of hectares of forest, wetlands, and swamps on the Ugandan side being cleared and drained to build a corresponding new lake port.
While all infrastructure already in place, the project only needs upgrading from the Ugandan as well as the Tanzanian side, and here, I am talking about enlarging the existing and substantially underutilized ports of Tanga on the Indian Ocean and Mwanza on Lake Victoria in Tanzania and Port Bell, as well as Jinja in Uganda. It is mindboggling that new ports and a new railway line should be constructed literally only a few dozen kilometers apart from the existing rail line, itself due for upgrading and modernization to standard gauge standards in the coming years, and the ports already in place.
No road or rail infrastructure to the proposed new site on Lake Victoria presently exists, raising the questions as to what exactly is being planned there and who in particular is to benefit from such a white elephant mega project, flogged on the Ugandan public as development and progress just the same way as Tanzanian officials wish to make one believe that eradicating the breeding ground of East Africa’s flamingos at Lake Natron, to make way for a soda ash plant, is progress too, as would be a highway and railway across the Serengeti plains even if the great migration would be finished within a few years.
The National Forest Authority and NEMA in Kampala have reportedly denied any knowledge of plans to drain wetlands in the absence of any EIA (environmental impact assessment) conducted so far or to cut down an entire forest, something Uganda seems to have become notorious for, considering the attempted give away of a quarter of Mabira Forest to have an ailing sugar company grow cane instead of keeping over 7,000 hectares of tropical trees.
But then here, as in the case of the Serengeti Highway, there is now true hope for the environment getting its day in court, as the East African Court of Justice, going by a recent statement of the court registrar, is more than willing to accept such cases where national legislation and regulations are being bent or broken and the national court systems are unable or unwilling to provide a fair hearing.
Time for the environmental fraternity across Eastern Africa to share their notes and observations and strategize how to tackle such moonshine projects, which with a bit of common sense, could not just avoid costly duplication using money needed for education and health, but avoid lasting damage for our environment.
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