Tanzania president lands top continental accolade

Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan

What you need to know:

  • Ms Suluhu, who became the first female head of state to receive the award, used her acceptance speech to laud her predecessor—John Patrick Magufuli—for blazing the trail insofar as Tanzania’s  ambitious infrastructural projects such as roads and railway networks are concerned.

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been awarded the 2022 Africa Road Builders-Trophee Babacar Ndiaye accolade.

Ms Suluhu, who became the first female head of state to receive the award, used her acceptance speech to laud her predecessor—John Patrick Magufuli—for blazing the trail insofar as Tanzania’s  ambitious infrastructural projects such as roads and railway networks are concerned.

“Transport and transport infrastructure constitutes a key component in the realisation of our integration agenda for social and economic growth. The first phase of the standard gauge railway (SGR) will connect the Indian Ocean port of Dar-es-Salaam with neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo through the central corridor. This line is already under construction,” President Suluhu said.

The award, named after the fifth president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), is given to a head of State in recognition of his or her projects and works in the field of roads and transport.

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari is the 2021 recipient of the award. He observed that through building roads, economies are built too. The awards are organised by journalists under their network Media for Infrastructure and Finance in Africa (MIFA).

President Suluhu was named designate Laureate of the Super Prize Great Builder-Trophee Babacar Ndiaye 2022 on account of her personal leadership, as well as huge commitment and investments to expand the road and rail transport network in Tanzania.

In addition, the selection committee noted the support of the Africa Development Bank with an envelope of $290m (Shs1.1 trillion) as part of the revitalisation of road, rail, and air transport in the country.

“The choice of President Samia is very well justified. She has a clear vision and continues to prioritise infrastructure development as a key enabler to Tanzania’s economy. As a result, she is committing significant resources to new roads, railways, ports and airports to further improve the competitiveness of the Tanzania economy and enhance East African regional integration through trade and cooperation,” observed Mr Mike Salawou, Africa Development Bank’s acting director for infrastructure and urban development.

President Suluhu assumed office in March 2021. She was also recently named in TIME Magazine’s ‘Most Influential People of 2022’ list. She rubbed shoulders with US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Apple CEO Tim Cook in the Leaders’ section of the coveted list.

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