Lusaka - China has offered US$66.2 million for the resuscitation of the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).
TAZARA says it needs US$770m to revive operations following years of underfunding from partners Zambia and Tanzania.
According to Zambia’s Transport and Communications Minister, Yamfwa Mukanga, the railway company secured a US$23.5-m special grant for the rehabilitation of the railway line and related infrastructure, and a further US$42.6-m interest-free loan for other operational considerations.
TAZARA, built with Chinese money, connects Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Zambia has pledged to contribute US$8m towards recapitalisation of TAZARA, while Tanzania has committed itself to servicing a debt owed to some 500 retirees.
Minister Mukanga said the Chinese bailout would likely be concluded at a meeting of officials from Tanzania, Zambia and China in late March this year.
The assistance is within the framework of the 15th Protocol of the TAZARA Financial and Technical Co-operation.
Recently, more than 1 600 TAZARA workers in Tanzania downed tools to press management and the government to find a permanent solution to the firm’s financial problems.
Management had to suspend the passenger train service in Tanzania.