Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Zambian counterpart, Haikande Hichilema, agreed to upgrade the cross-border railway connecting the two countries to speed up economic progress.

The decision to revive the Tanzania and Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) was reached last week in the port city of Dar es Salaam.

“In today’s world, the railway is standard gauge, so through a public-private partnership (PPP) we have agreed to mobilize resources to improve the railway to that level,” Hassan said.

The railway stretches from Dar es Salaam to the heart of Zambia’s copper belt and was built by China as a turnkey project between 1970 and 1975.

Hichilema expressed gratitude to the founding leaders Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda, from Tanzania and Zambia, respectively, for their clear vision.

“As a land-locked country, Zambia will benefit even more from the improved transportation of goods and services through this railway,” Hichilema told reporters.

TAZARA’s Managing Director and CEO Bruno Ching’andu said Tanzania has started to mobilize funding to implement the project.

“We strongly support our leaders who have shown the political will to upgrade this railway,” he said.

TAZARA has been handling traffic for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), providing a vital regional link among the southern, eastern and central African regions with the rest of the world through the port of Dar es Salaam.

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