The World Bank pledges US$ 600 million for an integrated Lake Tanganyika transport programme to improve trade competitiveness along the Central Corridor

CCTTFA Executive Secretary Capt. Dieudonne Dukundane (second left) leading meeting delegates in visiting the road connecting Kigoma (Tanzania) and Bujumbura (Burundi) via Manyovu border

The World Bank (WB) recently pledged US$ 600 million to support an integrated Lake Tanganyika transport programme to improve trade competitiveness along the Central Corridor. The amount is part of the the $1 billion programme to implement various projects in the Lake Tanganyika Basin.

WB pledges were availed recently during a workshop of Regional Bodies within the Great Lake Region concluded recently in the Burundi Capital, Bujumbura.

The workshop identified top priority projects that are aimed at unlocking of the Lake Tanganyika Riparian States of Burundi, DRC, Tanzania and Zambia from high transport costs, which exorbitantly stands at 40% of the freight value.

The identified projects, which ranges from ports and maritime, roads, railways, One Stop Border Posts, Inland Container Terminals, ship rehabilitation and environment were unveiled at the meeting dubbed: Stakeholders Workshop on Integrated Corridor Development: The Lake Tanganyika Integrated Transport and Environment Program, from 2nd to 3rd November 2017.

The workshop was jointly organized by the Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (CCTTFA), the East African Community Secretariat (EAC), the Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA) and the Word Bank Group (WBG) to identify priority projects and mobilize funds for the multi-sector program covering transport and trade, environment and water resource management for countries within the Lake Tanganyika Basin.

The workshop was attended by representatives from Tanzania, the DRC, Uganda and Burundi. Other Development Partners who were also present including: the Africa Development Bank, the European Union, Trade Mark East Africa, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Belgium Cooperationand the NEPAD Agency; reaffirmed their prior, ongoing and future support towards the same initiative, bringing the total investments close to USD $1billion during the next five years. It was also noted the readiness of the Kuwait Fund to support this programme.

Some of the key projects for Tanzania include modernization of Kigoma Port, construction of Karema Port in Katavi, construction of Katosho In-land Container Terminal in Kigoma and Construction of Manyovu/Mugina One Stop Border Post (OSBP) on the border between Tanzania and Burundi.

In DRC modernization of the Kalemie, Kalundu and Baraka Ports are on programme agenda as well as construction of the Kalundu-Kamanyola- Bukavu road.

Some of Burundi projects include construction of Bujumbura-Rumonge- Nyanza Lac, Mugina/Manyovu and Gatumba-Kavimvira OSBPs as well as access roads and Cross-Border Markets.

Construction of Rusizi II OSBP, Lake Kivu Development Ports and Ferries are some of the projects earmarked for development in Rwanda.

The Bujumbura workshop also identified some regional projects  targeting Safety ofNavigation improvement and  and environment measures to preserve the lake resources.

In his opening remarks, the Guest of Honour the Minister for Transport, Public Works and Equipment of the Republic of Burundi, Eng. Jean Bosco Ntunzwenimana noted that the communities along Lake Tanganyika were enduring the cost of transport on export and imports of up to 40% of the value of transported goods.

Minister Ntunzwenimana highlighted that the multimodal transport (central railway-Lake Tanganyika) can bring down the cost of transport of about 30% compared to the road transport.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the CCTTFA, Capt. Dieudonne Dukundane provided some key figures justifying the development of an integrated transport programme for the Lake Tanganyika basin.

Capt. Dukundane noted the high transport cost, the dilapidated lake ports infrastructure and equipment, the upstream financing on Dar port and the central railway line and the population of about 60 million along the Lake Tanganyika basin.

He asked the participants to reflect on why they were attending the workshop and proposed that the workshop should address the issues of transport costs, safety and security and efficiency in order to help cut transport cost by about 30% through the use of the multi-modal transport systems (road, rail and water).

The EAC Director General of Customs and Trade, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko said that an integrated and efficient transport and logistics system was critical for attaining a competitive economy.

He informed the workshop that through the Inter-Modal Strategy the World Bank and other Development Partners had already committed about US$ 500 million for implementation of the Lake Victoria Transport Program which commenced in 2015.

Mr. Bagamuhunda expressed his delight on the take-off of the Lake Tanganyika Transport Programme which was poised to bring numerous benefits for the Lake Tanganyika riparian states and communities along the Lake Tanganyika in terms of reduced transport cost as well as safer, secure and environmentally friendly shipping across the lake.

The LTA Executive Director Eng. Jean Marie NIBIRANTIJE, informed the participants that LTA is promoting environmental protection and fisheries management actions in the four countries that are Parties to the Convention on the Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika.

He also mentioned the collaboration between LTA and the World Bank  led to the identification of other projects such as watershed management along the various ports to better control sediments that are a major problem for accessibility to some of them.

Mr. Nestor Coffi, the World Bank, Country Manager in Burundi noted that high transport costs and long delivery times remained as major obstacles to increased trade and economic growth, and reported that research had shown that the use of intermodal transport will significantly reduce high transport costs in the sub region.

Mr. Coffi informed the Workshop the WBG was working in close collaboration with EAC and the LVBC to implement the Lake Victoria Transport Program under the Integrated Corridor Development Initiative.

He further assured delegates of the readiness and commitment by WBG to supporting the Riparian Countries, EAC, Central Corridor and LTA to design and implement the Lake Tanganyika Integrated Transport and Environmental Programs and reaffirmed that the WBG transport and environment teams will work closely with Stakeholders in a coordinated manner to support the development of an integrated approach to activities in and around the lake.

He reminded the participants that declining fish stock, sedimentation of the lake ports and access channels, declining water quality, dilapidated port superstructure and the aging fleet of vessels serving the lake needed to be addressed to ensure the livelihoods 60 million residents of the wider basin was not jeopardized.

At the end of the meeting the Central Corridor Secretariat was tasked to coordinate the preparation of a detailed spatial Project Database for the Lake Tanganyika Transport & Environmental and a capacity building programs to enable a smooth programme design and management. They also agreed that project implementing agencies and coordinators to collaborate closely with Development Partners of finalizing project preparation and packaging plans.

Other areas agreed included to establish an institutional framework for Project Implementation Committee involving ministry/implementing agency, coordinating agency and development partners which shall meet bi-annually to update progress of the project.