DAR-ES-SALAAM, The transport ministers of Tanzania and Rwanda have met here over the weekend to deliberate on how to implement the construction of the 521-kilometres Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to link the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to the town of Isaka in northern Tanzania.

Tanznian Minister for Woks, Transport and Communication Professor Makame Mbarawa and the Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure, James Musoni, agreed during the meeting to jointly mobilise funds for the construction of the project with each country to meet the cost of infrastructure or through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

The meeting was held following the directives given by Tanzanian President John Magufuli and his Rwandan counterpart, President Paul Kagame, on Jan 14, for the the ministers to meet within two weeks to plan for the implementation of the railway.

Prof Mbarawa and Musoni's meeting on Saturday, which was preceded by a meeting of Permanent Secretaries of transport and finance ministries from both countries, was also attended by the Tanzanian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation and Finance and Planning, Dr Augustine Mahiga and Dr Philip Mpango respectively, and Rwandan High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Tanzania Eugene Kayihura.

Prof Mbarawa said the Isaka-Kigali SGR project would ease transportation of cargo and passengers from the Dar es Salaam port. The railway to be constructed is in a form similar to that of the SGR from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro (in eastern Tanzania) and will ensure transportation of cargo from Dar es Salaam Port to Kigali is done easily and timely, he said.

According to the Minister, upon completion of the Isaka-Kigali SGR railway, the train is set to take12 hours to travel from Dar es Salaam to Kigali at a speed of160 kilometres per hour for passenger trains and 120 kmph for cargo trains.

Prof Mbarawa said that the construction of the Isaka-Kigali SGR railway line was equally beneficial to Rwandans who for a long time have been using the Port of Dar es Salaam to receive their goods.

They have been using the port for a long time and they spend one to two days transporting their cargo over 1,319 km from the Dar es Salaam Port to Rwanda, he noted. The Isaka- Kigali, according to the Minister, is also set to help in economic growth and improved social services in Rwanda and Tanzania.

Commenting on the implementation of the project, Dr Mpango said he would meet the Rwandan Finance Minister on Jan 29 to discuss and deliberate on the ways o facilitate the implementation of the project.