World Bulletin / News Desk
Uganda and Tanzania on Saturday launched the construction of the “world’s-longest pipeline” to transport highly-viscous crude oil from landlocked Uganda to the port city of Tanga in Tanzania.
The $3.5 billion project is a significant milestone for Uganda, which is expected to start pumping its crude oil reserve to international markets within three years, according to officials.
Uganda, one of the East African Community member states, is estimated to get approximately 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil -- more than enough to put the country on the path of economic development.
The 1,445-kilometer (899-mile) long pipeline will start in the western region of Uganda, where crude reserves were discovered a decade ago, to Tanzania's Indian Ocean seaport of Tanga.
Speaking during a foundation stone-laying ceremony, President John Magufuli said the unique pipeline would immensely benefit Tanzania economically.
“I would like to assure President Museveni, about the safety of this mammoth project which will have many benefits to Tanzanians,” Magufuli said.
The president urged the contractor -- the French oil giant Total -- to speed up the construction work so that citizens from the two countries could benefit from the project before his first term in office ends.
“I don’t understand why we should wait for three years to complete this project. Make sure you finish this project before 2020,” he said.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said huge reserves of natural resources in east Africa would boost trade and the economy of the regional bloc.
“In my opinion, East Africa, especially Uganda is unstoppable now. There’s nothing to stop us from growth and transformation,” Museveni said.
Earlier, Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals Medard Kalemani said the project would open a new chapter of economic development for Tanzanians by generating approximately $2 million income and thousands of jobs.
“More than 10,000 people will be employed and more than 140 villages where the pipeline passes will get electricity,” he said.
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