China may bail out TAZARA

THE Chinese government is considering to assist in the recapitalisation of the financially ‘crippled’ Tanzania-Zambia Railways (Tazara) to improve its operations.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming said discussions are ongoing among Zambia, Tanzania and China on options of boosting the operation capacity of the railway line co-owned by the two African countries.
“We, together with [the] two governments, want to maintain good service and take care of the railway. China stands ready to assist in the revival [recapitalisation] of Tazara because China holds the project dearly.
“Tazara is a landmark of the friendship between China and Zambia and Tanzania, and Africa as a whole,” Mr Yang said when he presented credentials to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya yesterday.
In 2010, the Chinese government provided a US$30 million interest-free loan to revive operations of the railway.
Mr Yang said recapitalisation of the railway is critical for accelerating of trade between Zambia and Tanzania, and beyond.
Receiving the credentials, Mr Ngwenya hailed China for its commitment to support Africa’s economic growth.
“China has actually become Africa’s largest trade partner, and Africa is now China’s major import source, second overseas construction project contract market and fourth largest investment destination,” he said.
Mr Ngwenya said the economic regional bloc is committed to work with China in areas of agriculture, investment and trade, science and technology and infrastructure development.
He also said COMESA is confident that the EXIM Bank of China will provide finance for the construction of the COMESA headquarters in Lusaka.
A mission from COMESA is expected to travel to China to complete the negotiations that will pave way for the construction of the COMESA headquarters.

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