Rehabilitation of key international highway linking Uganda to Tanzania starts

Uganda has started rehabilitating a key highway which links to northern Tanzania, giving hope to hundreds of traders who use the road to import and export goods between the two neighbouring countries.

The construction works will be done by Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO) under a loan funding from the African Development Bank.

The age-old 89.5km road runs from the southern Uganda district of Masaka to the border town of Mutukula and will be key in promoting trade between the two countries.

While launching the construction works on March 20, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja said the road will improve bilateral trade between Uganda and Tanzania by linking Uganda to the Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania.

“I instruct the contractor – Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO) – to do a good job,” Nabbanja said.

“The National Resistance Movement [ruling party] is committed to building more roads to facilitate socio-economic transformation across the country,” she added.

The pot-hole riddled road will be constructed at a cost of $178.4 million.

Nabbanja said, “Uganda is now accessible by tarmacked roads – from South to North and from East to West.”

“However, in many areas, this improved road infrastructure is not being utilised by Ugandans to engage in productive activities to improve household incomes,” she added.

Both cargo and passenger vehicles use this route, which also connects to Burundi.

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, major imports from Tanzania include gold, rice, trailers and semi-trailers, rolled iron and non-alloy steel, dried and salted fish, as well as wheat.

Statistics from other sources indicate that in 2022, Uganda exported $135M to Tanzania. “The main products exported from Uganda to Tanzania were Coated Flat-Rolled Iron ($40.7M), Raw Sugar ($16M), and Hair Products ($7.77M). During the last 27 years the exports of Uganda to Tanzania have increased at an annualized rate of 15.6%, from $2.67M in 1995 to $135M in 2022,” sources state.

Most of these products were exported by road through the Mutukula border point.

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