The governments of Rwanda and Tanzania have agreed to a joint railway project that will see the two countries construct a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that will stretch from Isaka in Tanzania to Kigali.
The development was confirmed by Tanzanian President, John Pombe Magufuli following his meeting with his Rwandan counterpart, President Paul Kagame in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
President Kagame is also the Chairman of the RPF Inkotanyi.
“We have agreed to start the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway from Isaka to Kigali. We have instructed the infrastructure ministers from the two countries to meet within the next two weeks to start planning the implementation of the project.
He said the two leaders want the construction to start immediately since the feasibility studies and designs are complete.
The meeting between the ministers will, among other aspects, consider the financing models of the project before a tender announcement for the project is issued.
According to studies conducted by the East African Community (EAC) indicate that the Tanzanian railway route would cost Rwanda about US$800 to $900 million.
The Standard Gauge Railway from the port of Mombasa via Uganda is expected to cost Rwanda close to US$1 billion, initial studies had shown.
Rwanda has maintained that the country intends to implement both routes (via Tanzania and Kenya) to increase efficiency and reduce cost of transport of goods.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli, in a briefing after the meeting, said that Tanzania commits to support President Kagame as he takes over the African Union Chairmanship.
“We will support him as the chairperson of the African Union. We are glad as we know his capabilities. I have assured him that Tanzania and our friends will support him during his term as the AU chair as he tries to improve the welfare of citizens,” President Magufuli said.
The RPF Chairman said that, as he takes on the position of AU chairperson, he is well aware of long- standing challenges, such as unemployment, among African youths.
The Chairman on January 1 assumed the chairmanship of the African Union for the year 2018.
To tackle this, he said, countries ought to work together to develop business and investments, which will translate into job opportunities for Africa’s young people.
“It also involves individual countries fulfilling their responsibilities as well as young people being innovative and ambitious. As government, we need to give them education, skills and provide a conducive environment for them to be able to do what they can,” the Chairman said.