How it all began

The idea to connect Central and Southern African States with the eastern coast through a rail link started as far back as 1947. Both Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) had for a long time wished to agriculturally develop their vast areas in the South West (of Tanganyika) and North East (of Northern Rhodesia), respectively. On the Tanganyika side, plans for this had been discussed for many years while on the Northern Rhodesian side the suggestion was beginning to receive prominence and support by 1963 through the advocacy of Dr Kenneth Kaunda. Earlier, the colonial settlers had undertaken a number of surveys into the project and nearly all had declared that the proposed line was economically unjustifiable. This was at the time of liberation agitations and it was apparent that these conclusions were laced with political thinking. The settlers feared that such a rail link would affect their interests in the region.

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