Tanzania secures $272 mln African Development Bank loan for new airport

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Tanzania has secured a $272 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to build a new international airport at its administrative capital Dodoma, part of a programme to expand the East African nation’s infrastructure.

The airport will be built in Msalato, 12 km (7 miles) from Dodoma and will take four years to build, the Abidjan-based lender said in a statement late on Thursday.

The airport will have a capacity to handle 1 million passengers annually, though the city has a population of just over 2 million people, AfDB said.

In October, the government said it had finished moving all its administrative functions to Dodoma from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer” for the way he pushes through projects, promised when he was elected in 2015 to reform Tanzania’s economy, which investors and opposition politicians say is held back by red tape and corruption, and said he would start a programme to develop public infrastructure.

The new airport and a high-speed railway already under construction would increase development in Tanzania’s countryside, Amadou Oumarou, director of AfDB’s Infrastructure and Urban Development Department.

As of November, its lending portfolio to Tanzania stood at $2.1 billion, with just over half of it going to transport projects, according to AfDB data.

Tanzania is not alone in the region in pumping resources to improve its air transport network.

Rwanda said in early December that Qatar Airways had agreed to take a 60% stake in a new $1.3 billion international airport, with an initial capacity of 7 million passengers a year.

Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Susan Fenton

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