Zambia needs over $200 million to fix the railway linking it to Tanzania

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The government of Zambia needs more than 200 million USD to fix the Zambia – Tanzania Railways (Tazara) according to Zambia reports.

Tazara’s new managing director Bruno Ching’andu has calculated themoney required to stabilise the operating company and to upgrade the line.

The railways line has debts of $700m and needs another $200m for new rolling stock and track improvements.

“The debts which the authority acquired in the past have negatively affected the operations of the authority. But, if these debts could be cancelled, the institution can to get back to its normal operations.” Ching’andu said

The Tazara Authority is unable to finance the rolling stock and infrastructural improvements with the huage debt. Zambia and Tanzania governments paid several years’ worth of outstanding fuel bills in the first part of last year, in addition to millions of dollars in employee salary arrears.

Last year Zambia said the railway needed an investment of $1.2bn over the next five years to turn it into a profitable commercial enterprise.

Tazara was built in the 1970s by the Chinese government, with Chinese finance and workers. It was developed to give Zambia a means of exporting its copper, via the Port of Dar es Salaam, without moving it through Apartheid-era South Africa. It still carries Zambian copper but a lack of investment over many years has restricted revenue.

Given China’s role in the project, Beijing has been said to be the most likely investor in the railway.