The government of Tanzania has inked a deal to link its Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The agreement which was signed between Transport ministers of the three countries Isack Kamwelwe (Tanzania), Jean Bosco (Burundi) and Roger Biasu (DRC), gives Burundi and DRC direct access to the Dar es Salaam Port, greatly boosting Tanzania’s Central Transport Corridor.

Tanzania transport minister Mr. Isack Kamwelwe affirmed that the deal is in line with the completion of a preliminary feasibility study of detail design plans which was successfully done by the consultancy company Gulf Engineering Ltd.

Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)

The rail line will start from Uvinza district in Kigoma region in north western Tanzania to Gitega, via Msongati region, in Burundi, covering a stretch of 240km. It will then be extended to the eastern regions of DRC according to the agreement. Tender for the project will be issued out this year.

Upon completion, Tanzania’s SGR line will be 1,457 km stretch from Dar es Salaam to the shores of Lake Victoria. DRC’s President Felix Tshisekedi commended the deal and said that the extension of the SGR line to Rubavu from Kigali would open trade opportunities for the landlocked DRC which depends largely on the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa to access the sea.

Tanzania will become the third country in East Africa to start enjoying modern railway services after Kenya and Ethiopia. Kenya, was the first in the region to start constructing an SGR line, completing over 500km between Mombasa and Nairobi, and also inaugurating its passenger services in June 2017.