DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) --Tanzania's Ministry of Finance and Planning on Thursday signed a facility agreement with Standard Chartered Bank for a 1.46-billion-U.S.-dollar loan to finance the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) project from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Makutupora in the capital Dodoma.
Running approximately 550 kilometers long, the SGR project is one of the country's biggest projects connecting Dodoma to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro and Makutupora, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
Speaking at the event to sign off the deal, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, said with the help of Standard Chartered and other partners, the project financing will further increase direct employment in Tanzania.
Sanjay Rughani, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Tanzania, said that deal signified investor confidence in the market and demonstrated Standard Chartered's international network capabilities and commitment to Tanzania.
"We are delighted to have reached this milestone in Tanzania to fund the SGR project that will deliver massive benefits to Tanzania and support the government's 2025 vision of making Tanzania an industrialized country," said Rughani.
Rughani added that the bank will continue to leverage its unique network reach, and the credibility it has built over time, to further position Tanzania as the go-to destination for investments.
Once complete, said the ministry's statement, the SGR project will provide a safe and reliable means for efficiently transporting people and cargo to and from the Dar es Salaam port.
According to the Tanzania Railways Corporation, it is expected that the railway will address current congestion challenges and decrease freight service charges by 40 percent, as the railway will be able to haul up to 10,000 tonnes of freight, equivalent to 500 lorries per trip, said the statement.
The SGR will also connect Tanzania to Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, playing a key role in enhancing regional trade, said the statement.
The project has already created more than 8,000 new direct employment opportunities for Tanzanians and has opened up opportunities for the local communities surrounding the project area to access social services such as shelter and food.