by Ben Taylor
Arusha by-pass launched
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta in July officially opened the 42km Arusha bypass, at an estimated cost of TSh 197 billion. The bypass seeks to decongest traffic in Arusha and to promote intra-regional trade, part of the regional Arusha-Moshi-Holili/Taveta-Voi road that links northern Tanzania to the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.
The bypass encircles the city of Arusha on its western and southern outskirts. It is a project initiated by the East African Community (EAC), and included the construction of seven bridges.
President Kenyatta, also the EAC chairperson, said at the launch ceremony that infrastructure development was only second to peace and security as a driver of development.
President Hassan said the multinational road would, among other things, boost the tourism industry even as it promotes trade. She said Tanzania was investing heavily in infrastructure including water transport on Lake Victoria by building ships and rehabilitating ports on the lake to facilitate the movement of people and goods in the region. She urged people living near the key infrastructure projects to make use of the emerging opportunities to uplift themselves and spur economic growth.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) director general for East Africa Nnenna Lily Nwabufo said the AfDB had spent 217 million U.S. dollars on the Arusha-Voi road with 112 million U.S. dollars allocated to Tanzania and 105 million U.S. dollars allocated to Kenya, adding that the two governments also made contributions to the project.
Focus now is on the next phase of the wider east-African project, namely the construction of a dual-carriageway connecting Arusha with Moshi and on to Holili/Taveta on the border with Kenya. Works and Transport Minister, Makame Mbarawa, announced that Japan, through its international cooperation agency, JICA, will finance the construction of the 110-kilometre highway.
Without giving details, Prof Mbarawa said JICA has pledged to finance upgrading of the road to a dual carriageway. The works will include construction of a new bridge across Kikafu River to replace the current one built in the 1950s.
Uber faces regulatory challenges in Tanzania, suspends services US ride-hailing giant Uber has suspended its services in Tanzania, saying government legislation that raises fares and cuts its commission made it impossible for it to operate. As a result, Uber said, it had made the “difficult decision to pause operations” in the country.
A new pricing order was issued by the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) explained the company in a statement. Under the new regulations which come into effect this month, fares doubled to 900 Tanzanian shillings (USD$0.40) per kilometre. Further, the maximum commission for ride-hailing companies was set at 15%, less than half the previous figure of 33%.
The transport regulator said the changes were aimed at maintaining competition and ensuring affordable taxis. It defended the rules by saying that all providers save for Uber had conformed to the new regulations.
Uber arrived in Tanzania in 2016, and had capitalised in the country’s low levels of personal car ownership and a lack of efficient mass transport systems. The company said it remained committed to resuming operations in the long-term if the pricing issue could be resolved.