Back to the roots: TAZARA pro­vides in­sights of the feat

The African - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMILA SHEMNI

The Tan­za­nia Zam­bia Rail­way Author­ity (TAZARA), will now see rapid de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­i­tated by an ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion as man­i­fested through the newly launched book pub­lished by the Chi­nese Govern­ment.

Dubbed: “A mon­u­ment to China-Africa Friend­ship-First­hand Ac­count of the Build­ing of the TAZARA’ the book has pre­sented a vivid re­pro­duc­tion of the un­for­get­table his­toric feat and hard course of build­ing TAZARA.

Speak­ing dur­ing the launch­ing cer­e­mony at TAZARA head­quar­ters in Dar es Salaam last week, the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Salim Ahmed Salim, said the book has come in time for Tan­za­nia to use

the his­tory and nar­ra­tions pro­vided in the book to ad­dress the cur­rent chal­lenges and see the way for­ward to achieve sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment in fu­ture. Salim had pre­vi­ously also served as Tan­za­nia Am­bas­sador to China.

“It is a book which I know con­tains nar­ra­tions which will re­mind fu­ture gen­er­a­tions the virtue of sac­ri­fice and de­ter­mi­na­tion,” he said.

Re­call­ing the his­tor­i­cal visit of Pre­mier Chou En Lai to Tan­za­nia in Fe­bru­ary 1965, fol­lowed by the visit to the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China by Pres­i­dent Mwal­imu Julius Ny­erere in June 1965, he said the two high level vis­its laid down a solid foun­da­tion to the build­ing of TAZARA.

“Back in 1969 when I was as­signed as the am­bas­sador of my coun­try to China, there were some crit­ics who pur­sued the op­po­si­tion by re­fer­ring to im­pend­ing doom of TAZARA. But TAZARA has sur­vived and served its prin­ci­pal ob­jec­tives,” he elab­o­rated.

He added that through the po­lit­i­cal free­dom that has been achieved, TAZARA has taken up an­other war fron­tier that of eco­nomic free­dom.

On his part, the am­bas­sador of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in Tan­za­nia, Dr Lu Youqing, said the book lays down sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment for TAZARA to boost their per­for­mance in pro­mot­ing eco­nomic growth.

“The book pro­vide us a new chance to cher­ish the mem­ory of the mar­tyrs, build on past achieve­ments while keep­ing up with chang­ing cir­cum­stances and pro­mote the con­tin­u­ous de­vel­op­ment of the new type of strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween China and Africa,” he said.

The TAZARA Deputy Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Eng. Dr­se­ven Be­tram Kiswaga, said de­spite the chal­lenge of suf­fi­cient funds to run the rail and in­ad­e­quate hu­man re­sources that in the last Fi­nan­cial Year, the Author­ity reached its worst

per­for­mance ever, trans­port­ing around 87,000 tons of freight, still sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments have been achieved in re­cent years.

“We are ex­pect­ing to move about 150,000 tons by the end of the Fi­nan­cial Year in June 2016 de­spite the ex­ist­ing chal­lenges.

Our tran­sit time be­tween the two ter­mi­nal points of TAZARA has im­proved from 30 days to less than seven days in the last 10 months and our cus­tomers are happy that we are now able to de­liver freight within a week,” he said.

TAZARA is an in­te­gral part of the south­ern Africa Re­gional Rail Trans­port Net­work. It is a rail link of ap­prox­i­mately 1,860 km. The rail­road is de­signed with a 1067 mm gauge that per­mits through traf­fic op­er­a­tions with con­tigu­ous rail­way of South­ern Africa. Equipped with ad­e­quate fa­cil­i­ties, TAZARA has a de­signed ca­pac­ity of 5 mil­lion tonnes of freight a year.

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