Tanzania on Monday asked for a loan from state-owned Export Credit Bank of Turkey (Eximbank) to help finance a stretch of a new railway it hopes will help it open up east Africa’s hinterland and compete with neighbouring Kenya as a trade hub.
Tanzania wants to construct a 2,561 km standard gauge railway connecting its main port of Dar es Salaam to land-locked neighbours, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda.
President John Magufuli said he made the funding request to visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during talks in Dar es Salaam on Monday. Turkish firms are among those that have submitted bids for the standard gauge project.
Magufuli said he sought financing for a more-than 400 km stretch of track.
“I am confident that we will secure that loan,” the Tanzanian leader told reporters after hosting talks with Erdogan.
Turkey has deepened trade ties with Africa since Erdogan took power in 2002, seeking to bolster its strategic influence on a continent where China and more traditional donors like Britain, France and the European Union have a strong presence.
Tanzania said in July it had secured a $7.6 billion loan from China’s Export-Import Bank (Exim) to build part of the new railway network.