(Xinhua) — The Standard Chartered Bank’s Group on Wednesday agreed to give Tanzania a concessional loan of 1.46 billion U.S. dollars for the construction of the Morogoro-Dodoma section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), said a statement by Tanzania’s Ministry of Finance and Planning.
The statement said the agreement was reached in Dar es Salam between Finance and Planning Minister Philip Mpango and Standard Chartered Bank Group Executive Director Bill Winters.
The amount will fund the 426-kilometre section from Morogoro to Makutupora in Dodoma region as more resources were being sought to construct the remaining sections all the way to the border with Rwanda, said the statement.
Winters said he was keen on ensuring that Tanzania gets the financial support to fund projects that benefit the majority of citizens, including infrastructure development.
In May last year, President John Magufuli launched the first construction phase of the SGR from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.
The 522-km Dar es Salaam-Dodoma line is being constructed by Turkish firms.
And in March this year, Magufuli laid the foundation stone for the second construction phase from Morogoro to Makutupora.
President Magufuli said upon completion, the SGR will help create 30,000 direct employment opportunities and some 60,000 indirect jobs.
“The SGR and a dry port in Dodoma will boost the development of central regions,” he said.
The total cost from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza covering 1,219 kilometers is estimated at 7 billion U.S. dollars.
Upon completion, the SGR is expected to usher in the country, for the first time, a fast and modern passenger train with a speed of 160 km per hour and a freight train with a top speed of 120 km per hour.
The SGR will also help ease the flow of goods and people in the neighboring landlocked countries of Uganda, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.