China signs US$42 million Tazara rehabilitation deal

China 42.5 million Tazara dealThe Chinese government has signed a US$42mn agreement with the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara), enabling Chinese companies to implement rehabilitation projects on the ailing railway

According to a statement released by Tazara, the agreement was concluded by Tazara managing director Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and China’s chief representative for economic and commercial co-operation, Lin Zhiyong.

The deal concerns 12 separate projects, including the modernisation of 42 passenger coaches, the supply of four new mainline locomotives, two diesel shunting locomotives, 30,000 wooden sleepers, track maintenance vehicles and components. Tazara said that Chinese consultants will also provide staff training.

The work will be financed by China through a US$66.2mn loan and grant agreement signed earlier in 2012.

Mbikusita-Lewanika said funds provided to the Tanzanian and Zambian governments by China under 15 different protocols will keep the railway in operation over the next three years. Meanwhile, the two African governments will complete a much-needed programme of recapitalisation, reconstruction and restructuring, he claimed.

Tazara has received regular financial support from the Chinese government in the form of interest-free loans dubbed ‘protocols of economic and technical co-operation’.

Once completed, the projects in the 14th and 15th protocols will drastically increase capacity, doubling the number of locomotives in service by 2015.

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