The impact of Tanzania-Zambia railway on development of Mbeya District

The rail transport 1n Tanzania is closely related with the history of economic development in the country. role The railways have played a crucial .in the location of economic activities and in transporting commodities from the production zones to be exported to foreign markets. With the more government programmes aimed at increasing agricultural productivity ln the country, the rail transport 1S required to provide more and efficient serV1ces to meet the demand in transportation. The historical study of the origin and evolution of East African railways in Tanzania reveals that 1n railways were responsible. perpetuating the export oriented economy and in doing so it caused regional development disparities. The north reg10ns were being developed while the south which lacked rail transport facilities was left undeveloped. After Tanzania attained its independence, the whole outlook and motive force of the railway underwent radical change. The railways were called to serve the general public because it was the people of the Tanzania who would provide the revenue of railway and generate volume of traffic. It is 1n the light of this new approach that the impact of the new Tanzania-Zambia Railway is being VI studied in Mbeya District. Before the railway was constructed through to Zambia, the district was very much isolated from the rest of the country In terms of transportation facilities. The high costs of road transport discouraged farmers and investors to produce more or locate their industries in Mbeya. It was thought that locating industries in this part would be uneconomic. The completion of the railway project promises a turning point and it is hoped that rail transport is to provide cheap and reliable transport to stimulate growth of economic activities. The studies, therefore, examines the influence of the railway on development factors and economic activities to see how these are changing since the rail transport began operation. The impact is seen in terms of changes taking place in population densities, distribution of settlements and increased programmes in agriculture and industrial activities being proposed in the district. The study does not quantify the impact beGause of lack of data and time available for detail data collection was short. In order for the railway impact to be effective in district development, development strategies are suggested in the last chapter with the purpose of stimulating further production in agriculture and increasing economlC activities In rural areas. It VII lS expected that increased productivity from economic activities in the district will create demand for rail transport facilities while at the sametime stimulate rural development.