Dec. 20, 2016


Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa MP

Tanzania

Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa MP

Minister, Works, Transport and Communication

TBY talks to Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa MP, Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, on improving infrastructure, the maritime industry, and developing telecoms.

BIO

Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa MP has an MSc in marine engineering from Astrakhan State Technical University in Russia and a PhD from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He joined Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa as a Senior Lecturer in the department of mechanical engineering. He was promoted to the position of Associate Professor in October 2005 and finally to that of full Professor in July 2009. Professor Mbarawa’s research interests are the combustion of gases, flue gas desulfurization, filtration combustion in porous media, soot formation in laminar diffusion flames, alternative fuels, renewable energy resources, and biomass combustion.

Long-term development can only be achieved through a modern and interconnected network of infrastructure. What is the government's approach to tackling this issue?

Infrastructure is an important asset for any country. There is no development or economic progress without the proper infrastructure to support it. In 2016, the government decided it wanted to build a network of state of the art infrastructure for Tanzania to become a middle-income country by 2025. Our mission at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication (MoW) is to build this state-of-the-art infrastructure for town roads, ports, and aviation. To this end, in 2016 the government allocated TZS2.496 trillion to transport projects in the country. Some of this will go toward the building of a standard gauge railway from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, Tabora, Isaka, and on to Mwanza, around 1,219km of track. We also want to connect from Isaka to Musoma so trains can go to Kigali in Rwanda, which involves another 361km of track. Furthermore, we want to connect Tabora to Kigoma to transport goods on to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The railway network that we will build will have a total of 2,506km of track. Phase I will include 1,219km of track and phases II-IV will follow over time.

What are the government's plans for new marine and port infrastructure projects?

In terms of marine transport, this is important for northern Tanzania, where we have Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Eyasi; hence, we need to develop our marine sector. In 2016, we put out a tender for a new ship to be built for use on Lake Victoria. We invited overseas companies to tender for this work. The ship will be for 1,200 passengers plus 400 tons of cargo. We also want to repair all our existing vessels on both Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. In terms of maritime port infrastructure, starting with the Port of Dar es Salaam, this is important to the economy of Tanzania and our neighboring countries. Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, and Zambia all use the Port of Dar es Salaam because it is safe; it provides a service to five landlocked countries that depend on Tanzania's ports for access to the sea. We want to make the Port of Dar es Salaam a logistics hub for East African countries. Not only that, we also want to have proper connections and state-of-the-art equipment to fulfill the requirements of a logistics hub for the region. For Tanzania, this port is the heart of our economy; therefore, in 2016 the government plans to spend USD250 million through the Port of Dar es Salaam for infrastructure works there. At the same time we are in negotiations with The World Bank for funding to further develop the Port of Dar es Salaam. We expect to get a contribution of USD600 million. The first priority is to increase the depth of the port and we also want to widen the entrance.

What is your strategy for supporting the development of the telecoms infrastructure?

Telecommunications is important for any country. If a country wants to work effectively and efficiently it needs a proper ICT system. The government of Tanzania has invested around USD200 million in building the national ICT backbone infrastructure. Every region and district of Tanzania has been connected to the national ICT backbone and Tanzania has 24,000km of fiber-optic cables, most of which was the result of PPPs, and 3G is accessible in many parts of the country. That technology can be used to alleviate the poverty problem in this country and is ultimately the only way we can minimize the gap between our urban and rural population. To this end we are investing in young entrepreneurs. For example, in 2014 we developed the Dar es Salaam incubator to foster entrepreneurship to ensure that these young innovators are part of the development of Tanzania.

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