CCECC Initiates Technical Inspection of Tazara

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A task force sent by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) recently landed in Dar es Salaam in order to conduct a comprehensive technical and business inspection of the Tazara railway before the proposed takeover of the railway by China. Currently, the CCECC is conducting talks with the governments of Tanzania and Zambia to run the Tazara operations as geopolitical pressure rise regarding the control of the trading routes of very critical minerals in Africa.

The sent taskforce from China shall conduct the inspection works all the way from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri-Mposhi in order to assess the business and operational model of the Tazara railway. This will enable setting up of the stage for CCECC to submit a revitalization proposal for the railway to the major shareholders of the railway line which are both the Tanzanian and Zambian governments.

The taskforce consisting of 11 members is led by Peng Danyang who is currently the Managing Director of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line. The role of Denyang in this inspection team indicates that China could model the concession of Tazara on the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line which runs under a public-private partnership (PPP) model which involves the Ethiopian and Djibouti governments and CCECC’s subsidiary.

Also read: Tazara Railway Set to Undergo a Major Upgrade

Tazara Upgrade Cost

The government of China has plans of upgrading the Tazara which runs a distance of 1,160 kilometres between the two neighboring countries by investing a total of approximately $1 billion in the upgrade project. The taskforce of CCECC shall be involved in productive discussions that will be focusing on very crucial aspects that include the management and operational model of the railway line, the financing plan that has been proposed that will be enabled by the China Development Bank, policies of local taxation, and other related issues.

The target for the conclusion of the takeover negotiation talks with CCECC has been set to April 2024 by Tanzania and Zambia. This concession is expected to provide a much-needed lifeline to the approximately 50-year-old TAZARA which is said to be utterly under performing. According to the various observers, the keen interest of China in taking over this railway line is closely connected to its desires of utilizing the railway line to transport mining exports from the countries of Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. Additionally, China also possesses quite substantial number of mines of copper and cobalt minerals in both the DRC and Zambia.