Tanzania in 50 mln euro EIB loan to upgrade airports

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Bukoba Airport

DAR ES SALAAM Feb 10 (Reuters) – Tanzania has signed a 50 million euro ($66.5 million) loan facility with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to upgrade regional airports to boost tourism and air transport in east Africa’s second-biggest economy, a senior government official said on Friday.

“This project will significantly open up and ease transport to and from the regions as it will provide access to cost-efficient air transport … some of the regions are potential for tourism activities,” Ramadham Khijjah, permanent secretary in Tanzania’s finance ministry, told a news conference.

Khijjah said the 20-year loan facility would finance the upgrading of Kigoma, Tabora, Bukoba, Shinyanga and Sumbawanga airports.

Projects include the replacement of runways, and the reconstruction of taxiways and passenger terminal buildings.

Khijjah said the EIB was a key player in Tanzania’s infrastructure development, with the bank having previously loaned the country $134.5 million for a power project.

Tanzania earned $1.4 billion from tourism in the year ended October 2011 from $1.2 billion a year ago, helped by a rise in tourist arrivals, according to central bank statistics.

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