Plans to build Angola-Tanzania trans-African railway pick up pace

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Plans to build Angola-Tanzania trans-African railway has picked up pace. The railway will connect the ports of Dar es Salaam in the east of the continent and Lobito in the west. According to Sandri De Oliveira, Angola’s ambassador to Tanzania, the project would involve building a narrow-gauge (1,067mm) railway between Lobito in Angola to the Zambian border. The line would then be extended through Zambia as far as the central town of Kapiri Mposhi.

The Angola-Tanzania railway would enable the transit of goods from American, Asian and European markets. “In order to have the railway link with Tanzania, the Angolan government would construct a new railway line into Zambia that would further link to the 1,860km Tanzania–Zambia Railway,” said De Oliveira. He further added that Angola was counting on Tanzania’s collaboration in this effort.

The railway would connect the Tazara line with Angola.

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On 5th September 1967, an Agreement for the construction of TAZARA was concluded in Beijing, China, between the three Governments of China, Tanzania and Zambia. The initial idea was for the railway line to start from Kidatu in Tanzania to Kampoyo in Zambia.

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority was established in March 1968 and the survey and design work commenced in October 1968 and finished in May 1970. The surveys by the Chinese produced favourable recommendations, which completely disregarded all conclusions of earlier surveys. By now it had been decided that the line would start from Dar es Salaam and end at Kapiri Mposhi.

Construction of the line started in October 1970. The then Presidents Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania officially inaugurated the commencement at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia, respectively. This was the beginning of the most awe-inspiring engineering feats ever performed by China in Africa.