Airports across Tanzania to be upgraded with European funding
Transport links to remote western Tanzania will be transformed following an airport upgrade and expansion programme funded by the European Investment Bank. Airports in Kigoma, Bukoba, Tabora, Shinyanga and Sumbawanga will be upgraded to ensure international safety standards, provide all weather operations and expanded to cater for projected growth.
The European Investment Bank, the European Union’s long-term lending institution, has agreed to provide EUR 50 million in long-term funding over 20 years. Improvement of these five regional airports is one of the main priorities of the Government of Tanzania’s ten year transport investment programme and will enhance the country’s limited air transport infrastructure seen as a significant obstacle to economic growth.
The airport upgrading is expected to encourage economic development within Tanzania, and support private sector growth through improved transport connections both within the country and to other parts of East Africa. This is recognised as a key objective under the European Union’s Tanzania Country Strategy.
“Improving transport infrastructure is essential for sustainable growth in Tanzania. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting transport projects that help private sector growth, improve connections to remote areas and strengthen regional integration across East Africa.” said Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice President.
“This project will significantly open up and ease transport to and from the regions by providing access to cost-efficient air transport. Some regions have significant potential for tourism,” said Ramadhan Khijjah, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance of Tanzania.
European Union Ambassador to Tanzania, Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi added "Transport and regional interconnections are central to EU assistance to Tanzania, and has since 1975 been recognised as one of the essential sectors to promote economic development of the country. The upgrading and modernisation of these airports will go miles away in opening up the country for more investments."
Upgrading of the five major domestic airports will include provision of all weather asphalt runways at airports that currently cannot operate in the rainy season due to gravel or grass runways. The funding will also improve passenger handling, aircraft parking, allow better access roads and provide secure perimeter fencing. Regional relief operations by the UN and Red Cross to Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo will benefit from improvements to Kigoma airport.
The environmental impact of the project is expected to be minor with no impact upon nature conservation sites expected.
The airport upgrading project is being jointly funded with the World Bank and is expected to be completed by mid-2014. The scheme will compliment European Investment Bank support for air transport in East Africa through funding the upgrade and expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
Notes for the Editor