China has pledged to fund construction of a $62m Transport University in Tanzania.
China’s new Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Wang Ke delivered the pledge to President John Magufuli when the latter hosted the new diplomat at State House earlier this week.
A press statement said the delegate also delivered greetings and a message from China’s President Xi Jinping, to which President Magufuli responded in kind.
At the moment, Tanzania the Tanzania National Institute of Transport (NIT), a public higher learning institution that was established back in 1975 as a wing of the then National Transport Corporation (NTC).
Once established, the China funded Transport University will become the only one of its kind across sub-sahara Africa with exception only to those in South Africa.
Government officials say more details about the university including its location, the construction process, the time it will take to complete the construction and details of the curriculum, will be made public in due time.
The funding offer comes in response to Tanzania’s earlier request for the support. The press statement says Tanzania requested the grant from China.
Tanzania’s Transport Sector
Tanzania’s transport sector is in need of a lot of development that requires huge financial investment. The urban areas are fraught with traffic congestion while rural areas suffer from a lack thereof.
To meet these challenges, Tanzania has taken major steps among which is seeking international aid.
Recently, Germany through the company Strabag constructed the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which began operations (2016).
With five phases to go, construction of phase one was completed in 2015 at a total cost of €134 million funded by the African Development Bank, World Bank and the Government of Tanzania
China was not left out in its support to the country especially in infrastructure development. The route BRT is serviced by a fleet of 140 Chinese built buses.
Earlier this week, Japan proposed introduction of trains to ease the burden on road transport a project dubbed Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).
Population in major cities is projected to grow rapidly over the next few years. Dar es Salaam is expected to become home to more than 12m people by 2040.
The growth demands better infrastructure and housing and so the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) proposed an Urban Transport Master Plan (DARTMP) at a cost of 23/-Trn
Marine and air transport also lag behind and need concerted efforts to grow and in this regard, the China funded Transport University will play a key role.
In his response to the envoy’s message, President Magufuli acknowledged that such a transport institute would be of great significance when it comes to improving the transport sector in Tanzania.
The press statement said “…a transport university will greatly help Tanzania to increase the number of professionals in its aviation sector, especially at this time when the government is purchasing planes to as parts of efforts to revive Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL).”
The sector is extremely short staffed, while the demand is in excess of 450, the Tanzania Air Operators Association (Taoa) says as of November 2012 there are only 183 local pilots in the country.