China to invest $1 billion in revitalizing Zambia-Tanzania railway

China to invest $1 billion in revitalizing Zambia-Tanzania railway

The project aims to fortify economic ties and boost trade connectivity, underlining China's growing influence in African infrastructure.

China has unveiled plans to invest more than $1 billion in the rehabilitation of the strategic Tazara railway, which connects Zambia's copper-rich region to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam. This announcement was made by the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, Du Xiaohui, during a meeting with Zambia's Transport Minister, Frank Tayali, highlighting China's commitment to enhancing this vital infrastructure over the coming years.

Constructed in the 1970s with Chinese expertise and funding, the Tazara railway has been a crucial transport link for Zambia's copper exports and regional trade. However, decades of underinvestment have left the railway operating below capacity, necessitating significant refurbishment to restore its functionality and efficiency. The revitalized railway promises to be a cornerstone in the region's economic landscape, potentially unlocking greater trade efficiencies and economic opportunities across Southern and East Africa.

This investment not only aims to rejuvenate the ageing infrastructure but also sets the stage for competition with a U.S.-backed railway project designed to link Zambia with Angola's Lobito port. The move reflects the broader strategic contest for influence and infrastructure dominance in Africa, with major global powers keen to strengthen economic and logistical networks across the continent.

The upgrading of the Tazara railway will have a significant impact on regional trade, facilitating smoother transport of Zambia's copper to international markets and strengthening Tanzania's port as a major trade hub. It also aligns with China's Belt and Road Initiative, emphasizing its ongoing commitment to promoting development and connectivity around the world.

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