Tanzania will receive World Bank financing for the Port of Dar es Salaam to the amount of US$305 million, it was announced after talks between President John Magafuli and Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s vice president for Africa.
Tanzania is seeking a larger loan amounting to $785 million which will be used for various infrastructural projects. The $305 million is specifically directed for the expansion of the port and the tackling of deficiencies in its service.
Three years ago the World Bank reported that the cost of inefficiencies at the Port of Dar es Salaam was costing Tanzania and its neighbours a staggering $2.6 billion annually.
Tanzania’s neighbours — Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern DRC all look to the port of Dar es Salaam as their gateway to the sea. Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC have the choice of either Dar es Salaam or the Kenyan port of Mombasa as their ‘port of choice’ whilst Zambia and Malawi can also look south to Mozambique and South Africa. Therefore the standard of efficiency at Dar es Salaam becomes a critical factor in Tanzania benefiting from landlocked neighbours.
The port currently handles around 15 million tonnes of cargo a year, a figure that the government hopes will increase to 28 million tonnes by 2020.
With Kenya’s standard gauge railway connecting the port of Mombasa inland and reaching towards the Uganda border, the urgency facing Dar es Salaam to improve its services has been raised a notch.