Tazara renovation process has recently made a big step as a $1 Billion Chinese Tazara Revamp proposal was issued to Zambia. The railway line was first constructed in the 1970s under the funding of the Chinese and is set to be upgraded under a public private partnership (PPP).
The railway project that links the copper belt in Zambia with the city of Dar es Salaam is expected to compete with the US-and EU-backed link between the areas that are endowed with resources and the port of Angola. The Chinese control on this crucial railway line will enable them access minerals that will also be important in their fast-growing economy.
$1 Billion Chinese Tazara Revamp Funding
Originally, the Tazara railway was funded by the government of China under Mao Zedong as a foreign project aid.
In the current vie for control over critical trade routes by the global powers, China has set up plans of spending a total of $1 billion to rehabilitate the key railway (Tazara) that links the copper belt of Zambia to the Port of Dar es Salaam under its Belt and Road Initiative program.
On 7, February 2023, the ambassador of China to Zambia, Du Xiaohui, handed over the $1 Billion Chinese Tazara renovation proposal to refurbish the Tazara railway to the minister in charge of transport in Zambia, Frank Tayali, stating that the $1 billion investment would be implemented via a public-private partnership in the coming years.
In September 2022, the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority had also set plans in reopening the passenger train services between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.
Likewise, the route had been closed in order to allow the the maintenance of Chambeshi railway bridge on Chambeshi River located in the northeastern part of Zambia.
Challenges Affecting the Tazara Renovation
Unfortunately, the head of public relations of the Tazara, Conrad Simuchile, stated that the reopening of the Chambeshi Railway Bridge would face delays as a result of the unforeseen challenges that were experienced in finishing the works by the Engineering Contractor of the project.
Earlier on, President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania and her Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Huchilema reached an agreement on refurbishing the Tazara railway which has a length of 1,860 kilometres.
This plan was revealed at a joint conference that was held in the State House in Dar es Salaam during a one-day visit by the president of Zambia in Tanzania at the invitation of his host.
“The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is the way forward in the current world, we have thus reached an agreement to mobilize funds together through the public private partnership and also involve our partners to help us in building of the Tazara,” said Samia Suluhu in the joint press conference.
The duo showed concern with Tazara by noting that the project has been underperforming and not delivering to its full potential.