The government of Tanzania has said it is in final touches of inviting international tenders for the construction of a standard gauge railway (SGR) from Isaka dry port to neighbouring countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
"Tenders for the construction of the SGR project to Rwanda and DRC will be announced anytime from now," said Hassan Abbasi, chief government spokesperson and permanent secretary for the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports.
He told a news conference in the capital Dodoma on Sunday that President John Magufuli had already given directives on construction of the Mwanza-Isaka SGR that will connect to the two neighbouring countries.
Abbasi said construction of the SGR from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Morogoro covering about 200 kilometers has reached 75 percent, adding that construction of the SGR from Morogoro to Makutopora in Dodoma has reached 28 per cent.
"Tanzanians will this year begin enjoying travelling in electric trains plying on SGR," said Abbasi, adding that the government has until now spent about Tsh2.957 trillion (about $1.3 billion) on construction of the SGR.
He said permanent secretaries from the country's ministries will next week spend two days inspecting progress made.
In November 2019, Magufuli had said the governments of Tanzania and Rwanda were in final touches of negotiations to construct the SGR from the Isaka dry port in Tanzania to Rwanda.
He said feasibility studies for the SGR linking Tanzania and Rwanda have already been undertaken, adding that the two countries were now looking for financiers of the project.
Trade and Development Bank, a trade and development financial institution in Africa, said in November 2019 it had approved a $1 billion soft loan to Tanzania for implementation of infrastructure projects, including the construction of the SGR.