Tanzania is planning to build a bridge that will connect mainland to the Islands of Zanzibar to ease movement of goods and people, which if undertaken, the 50 km bridge will be the first in Africa.
The ambitious project, which is expected to cost over $2 billion, will be one of the largest infrastructure investments in Tanzania’s history.
This was revealed by the deputy minister of Works and Transport Godfrey Kasekenya in Parliament on April 28, confirming that talks that began on March 11, 2023 are in advanced stages.
The bridge is expected to be 50km long, making it one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. The structure will span the Indian Ocean and will be designed to withstand extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes and typhoons.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced the project during her recent visit to Zanzibar, stating that the bridge would boost trade, tourism and investment between the two regions.
“This is a historic project that will change the face of Tanzania and boost our economy. It will create thousands of jobs and open up new opportunities for our people,” she said.
According to Kasekenya, the two parties had met with the prospective investors of M/S China Overseas Engineering Group Company (COVEC) who have shown interest in building the bridge.
He noted that the outcome of the meeting is still being worked on by both parties in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, saying that the plan for the construction of the bridge will involve a partnership with the private sector.
He was answering a question that was asked by Mwantum Dau Haji (CCM Special Seats) who wanted to know when the construction of the bridge would kick off.
The project is expected to take five years to complete and will be financed through a combination of public and private investment. The Tanzanian government has already secured a $1.2 billion loan from the African Development Bank to finance the first phase of the project, while the remaining funds will be raised from the private sector.
The idea of the bridge first came up in 2020 when some Tanzanians in diaspora introduced a plan to construct a sea bridge to link Unguja Island and Dar es Salaam.
The idea sparked a lot of debate among citizens with some arguing it is a day dream. But science and technology has proved that the project to construct about 50 km Zanzibar/Dar es Salaam Bridge is possible if funds are available.
Despite the concerns, the project has been widely welcomed by Tanzanians, who see it as a symbol of progress and development. The bridge is expected to become an iconic landmark and a source of pride for the people of Tanzania.