Tanzania seek India funding for Dar Es Salaam Urban Metro Rail project

bilateral tanzania
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete before a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Friday

Dar Es Salaam: Tanzania is seeking funding from India to build a metro rail network in its commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, the president’s office said in a statement on Saturday.

Dar es Salaam, with a population of over 4 million, is one of the fastest-growing cities in sub-Saharan Africa, but like many other African cities it faces a crippling traffic congestion problem.

President Jakaya Kikwete said in the statement that India’s Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) had expressed interest to invest in the metro rail. He did not say how much the metro project would cost.

The Tanzanian president met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday and made an official request for funding for the project.

Tanzania said last month it plans to spend around $2 billion to build new roads and a bus rapid transit system to unclog traffic in Dar es Salaam.

The plan would include the construction of fly-overs and bridges, using budgetary allocations from the government’s 2015/16 fiscal year starting in July.

The east African region, which has seen significant discoveries of energy in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, has been racing to build new transport links to make up for decades of neglect and under-investment.

Tanzania and India plan to boost annual bilateral trade, which currently stands at around $4 billion, officials said.

India’s Rites Limited won a 25-year concession in 2007 to operate Tanzania’s state-run railway firm but the deal collapsed five years later due to under-investment and inefficiency problems.