President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday received the 2022 Africa Road Builders-Babacar Ndiaye Trophy in recognition of her government’s commitment to improving transport infrastructure in the country.
She is this year’s recipient of the trophy, an annual prize sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and organised by Acturoutes – an information platform on infrastructure and roads across Africa; and the Media for Infrastructure and Finance in Africa (MIFA), a network of African journalists specialising in road infrastructure.
Speaking shortly after receiving the trophy, on the sidelines of the ongoing annual AfDB meetings, President Samia dedicated the award deserves to be attributed to her predecessor, the late Dr John Magufuli, for his significant contribution to overseeing the development of infrastructure in Tanzania.
“This award deserves to be given the late Dr John Magufuli, my predecessor, unfortunately he is not alive to witness the fruits of his hard work and dedication” she said.
She described the late Magufuli as the one who was involved in infrastructure upgrades in the third and fourth phases of government as Works and Transport minister and later became the front-runner in those endeavors when he assumed the country’s presidency (in late 2015).
president stated that she was receiving the award with mixed feelings because the implementation of the projects took a long time from feasibility study and fundraising to implementation, so with only a short period of her leadership, she could not have implemented it all.
She noted that the building of road infrastructure was heightened in earnest during the third-phase government under the late Benjamin Mkapa when economic growth empowered the government to set up a Road Fund and including by seeking assistance from international financial institutions.
She added that the fourth phase presidency under Jakaya Kikwete took over the baton and did a great job in expanding the road network, ensuring that tarmac roads linked all regions in the country, the president further noted.
President Samia said Africa has all it needs for self-sufficiency, including arable land, minerals and marine resources but the continent risked remaining unused if no effective strategies were devised and taken up.
“Now, in order to better manage these resources Africa, must produce, process and trade within the borders of our continent. It is in this context that the free trade zone of Africa can make sense,” she elaborated.
She briefed participants on Tanzania’s efforts to improve infrastructure, including the standard gauge rail (SGR) connecting Dar es Salaam port with landlocked Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo via the central corridor.
She commended the AfDB for its “significant contribution” to helping Tanzania close the funding gap in that within 15 years, the bank has provided US$2.93 billion for the implementation of such projects.
“The country still needs support from the bank as there are infrastructure gaps that need to be improved, including three regional and one national road projects which are vital to economic prospects”, she said.