Two Chinese firms to build $1.32 billion Tanzanian rail line

Palamagamba Kabudi, Tanzania's Foreign Minister, addresses a news conference at the launch of Twiga Minerals Heralds Partnership between Tanzania Government and Barrick Gold Corp in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania October 20, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Herman/File Photo

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Two Chinese companies have won the contract to build a 3.0617 trillion shillings ($1.32 billion) modern rail line in Tanzania, the East African nation’s foreign minister said, extending more than a decade of Chinese involvement in the country.

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Railway Construction Limited will build the 341 km link to connect the Lake Victoria port city of Mwanza in the north to the town of Isaka, on the way to the Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam.

The Tanzanian government will pay for the line, Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said late on Wednesday, ahead of the signing of the agreement in the presence of his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, who is on a visit.

It was unclear when work on the project would begin.

President John Magufuli, who was re-elected in October last year, promised to continue implementing major projects as he seeks to build an industrialised nation.

The Mwanza-Isaka line is part of a more than 2,561 km railway network that Magufuli’s administration plans to build from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam into the hinterland.

As China builds infrastructure across Africa, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation has undertaken several construction projects in Tanzania, including the Ubungo road interchange. It is also working on a rapid transit bus system in Dar es Salaam.

China Railway Corporation has carried out several projects in Africa, including the Ethio-Djibouti railway.

($1 = 2,314.0000 Tanzanian shillings)

Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Barbara Lewis