Tazara: Why China built a railway that many thought would fail

This short film made by CGTN documents the history, present situation and prospects of the Tazara Railway which links Zambia and Tanzania. 

By far China’s largest foreign aid project at the time, it was built during the first half of the 1970s, when China was itself still a poor country and after the United States, Britain, Japan and even the Soviet Union had all refused to build it. It enabled landlocked Zambia to get its copper to port whilst avoiding countries then still under colonial and white racist rule.

The 1,800 km railway took five years to build, with 50,000 Chinese workers taking part in the project. 65 of them gave their lives. 

In recent years, the railway has encountered problems, with freight traffic, not least due to the availability of other options since the liberation of all countries in southern Africa. Nevertheless, it still plays an important role in the lives of local people and communities. A joint statement adopted by China and Zambia in September last year, during the state visit of the Zambian president, saw China pledge support to the railway’s upgrading and renovation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *