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Zambia marks 47th anniversary of commissioning of TAZARA railway

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Railway Project
Railway

Zambia on Friday held a ceremony to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the commissioning of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) railway, a bi-national railway linking Zambia and Tanzania.

Held at the TAZARA railway station terminal in Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia, the ceremony was attended by Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui, Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics Frank Tayali, as well as officials from TAZARA, the railway firm.

In his remarks, the Chinese ambassador said his government will shoulder the due responsibility of working together with Zambia and Tanzania on the revitalization of the railway line.

He has since proposed the setting up of a tripartite working group whose responsibility will be to promote the reactivation of the railway line.

According to him, it was the responsibility of the current generation to transform TAZARA into a road to development, prosperity and new modern high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

While acknowledging that the railway line was built as an immortal monument of the China-Zambia all-weather friendship and spirit of China-Africa friendly cooperation, the Chinese envoy noted that it should not just be a monument.

He pointed out that the railway line needed to be more efficient and be integrated into Zambia’s transportation system and be able to meet the potential transportation demand.

The Zambian minister said the railway line needed to evolve, innovate and adapt to the changing dynamics of the global transportation industry by remaining competitive, customer-focused and environmentally sustainable.

He said there was a need for the three countries to expedite discussions on how TAZARA will be revitalized and recapitalized. “We would like TAZARA to evolve into a modern, efficient and reliable transportation system, contributing significantly to the economic growth and development of our respective countries including paying their operational costs and salaries,” he said.

He also acknowledged the strong ties and cooperation among the three countries, which have been instrumental in the growth and success of the railway line despite challenges.

According to him, the railway line was a symbol of collaboration, friendship, progress and determination of the three developing countries in their quest for independence.

Bruno Chingandu, the TAZARA managing director, said the existence of the railway line for the past 47 years has despised sentiments from the West who had predicted that it would be a white elephant.

He said the railway line has managed to be in operation despite challenges it was facing hence the need to revitalize it as it has a pivotal role to play in the southern African region’s transportation industry.

According to him, the railway line has brought immense benefits such as the growth of towns where it passes, putting many villagers into the mainstream economy while small traders have been using it to conduct their business between the two countries.

He said the revitalization of the railway line will go a long way in lessening the burden placed on roads which have seen frequent damages and a cost to governments.

The construction of the railway linking Tanzania and Zambia started in 1970 and finished in 1976, covering 1,860 km from the Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi to Tanzania’s Dar-es-Salaam.

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