The Tanzanian and Ugandan governments have initiated the Multinational Lake Victoria Maritime Communication and Transport (MLVMCT) project, focusing on physical infrastructure development.
Implemented through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) in Ilemela District, Tanzania has allocated a 13,827 square meter land for various purposes, including the installation of the Search and Rescue main Station.
Captain Emmanuel Marijani, the Tanzania National Project Coordinator from the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC), emphasized the importance of a communication tower for enhancing maritime security on Lake Victoria, ensuring the safety of all lake users.
The construction cost at the Ilemela site is $1.87 million, in addition to a grant secured by both governments from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Tanzania is also independently funding the construction of Search and Rescue sub-stations at Nansio, Kanyara, and Musoma ports, with installation progress currently at 25%.
Similar developments are underway in Uganda, encompassing the construction of centers for marine accident victims and emergency medical care services. The project includes the purchase and installation of a weather forecasting system, expansion of telephone communication coverage on the lake, and the provision of rescue-related public education to communities around the search and rescue towers.
A unified communication number (110) for rescue services will be established for both countries, allowing anyone in distress on Lake Victoria to make a free call for assistance.
Dr. Masinde Bwire, the LVBC Executive Secretary, highlighted the project’s potential to make marine transport on Lake Victoria safer, more secure, reliable, and dependable, significantly reducing tragedies on the lake. He also noted that the project would facilitate easier connectivity between the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, ultimately benefitting cargo and goods ferrying and other marine services to additional countries like South Sudan and Somalia.
Moreover, studies have indicated that the improved marine transport could generate approximately $60 million in annual revenue for the region.