The meeting comes just a week after directives issued by the heads of state of the two countries for relevant ministers to meet earliest to chart the modalities for the railway’s construction.
Presidents John Magufuli and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, agreed to undertake the project that is seen as a way of easing transport of both people and goods between the two countries.
Yesterday’s meeting between Tanzania’s Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Prof Makame Mbarawa and Rwanda’s Minister for Infrastructure James Musoni was preceded by a meeting of the responsible ministries’ permanent secretaries and permanent secretaries of Finance and Planning from the two countries.
- The signing event was attended by Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Augustine Mahiga and Finance nd Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango, while on the Rwandan side it was Rwandan Ambassador to Tanzania Eugene Kayihura.
Briefing reporters after the signing ceremony, Prof Makame Mbarawa said, “Upon completion, the Isaka-Kigali railway will stimulate economic activities between the two countries, hence bolster development.
“Rwanda depends entirely on Dar es Salaam port, therefore once the project is over, cargo will be transported for twelve hours from Dar es Salaam port to Kigali and not two days as is the case now.”
Prof Mbarawa said they agreed to adopt the railway’s feasibility studies which had previously been conducted in the two countries
The proposed railway project will be similar in design to the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro and Morogoro-Makutopora SGR project for the purpose of uniformity of standards.
Also the parameters used for the design of the ongoing project will be the same for the Isaka-Kigali railway project.
“As partner state we have also agreed to jointly mobilise funds for the construction and each country will meet the cost of infrastructure in its own territory. Issues regarding train operations and track access will be agreed in future,” he said, adding:
“Tanzania is strongly committed to further strengthening relations for the mutual benefit of the two countries and their people and the prevailing commitment to realise the implementation of Isaka-Kigali railway project and its significance to reduce transport costs.”
It was agreed that presidents Magufuli and Kagame would lay a foundation stone for the project by October, this year.
Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure Musoni expressed appreciation at the way Tanzania responded to the project proposal.
“Rwanda is fully prepared to ensure that the project becomes a success. We are looking forward to further deliberations on the project,” he said.
For his part, Finance and Planning Minister Dr Mpango said he would be meeting his Rwandan counterpart on January 29, this year to discuss funds mobilisation.
He said they would also have to decide on the financing mode, whether it will Public-Private Partnership (PPP) or budget financing.
Presenting a Permanent Secretaries Report on the Implementation of the SGR before the ministers, Director of Transport infrastructure at the Ministry for Works, Transport and Communication Rogatus Mativila said preparation of a bilateral agreement will be in February this year followed by a financing model agreement the same month.
He said tenders will be announced in May 2018, followed by signing of construction agreements with constructors in August, this year, and foundation stone laying in October 2018.