Tanzania has secured USD 1.5 billion in financing from Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania to build a railway from Dar es Salaam to Matukopara.

The Tanzanian Finance and Planning Ministry and Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania said that the loan, which was coordinated by the bank, was the largest ever raised by the ministry. The main funders were the Export Credit Agencies of Denmark and Sweden.

Philip Mpango, Tanzania’s finance minister, said the project financing will increase employment in Tanzania, and enable communities to thrive as they gain access to social services.

“I would like to thank the governments of Sweden and Denmark. These two nations have shown us their true friendship not only in words but also in action. Please convey our country’s sincere appreciation to the Export Credit Agencies and lenders in your countries,” he said.

Other contributors to the loan were the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Trade and Development Bank and the African Export-Import Bank.

The rail link is part of a USD 14.2 billion plan to build around 2,500km of standard gauge rail lines in the country over the next five years. The rail will reduce road congestion and lower freight costs by 40%. Each freight train can transport up to 10,000 tonnes, equal to 500 lorry-loads. It will also connect Tanzania to Burundi, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo.