Rwanda won't opt out of Northern Corridor Standard Gauge Railway project - Govt

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Claver Gatete, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. (File)

The Rwandan government has rejected claims that it was abandoning the Kenyan Standard Gauge Railway route in favour of the Dar-es-Salaam-Isaka-Kigali/Keza-Musongati Standard Gauge Railway.

Media reports had earlier quoted Claver Gatete, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, as having said that Rwanda was opting out of the Kenyan route because the Tanzanian route was cheaper and shorter.

“Rwanda is not pulling out of the Kenyan railway route. What I pointed out was that the Tanzanian route is shorter and slightly cheaper compared to the Kenyan Standard Gauge Railway. To suggest that Rwanda was pulling out of one railway route in favour of the other is simply misleading,” Gatete said in a statement sent to The New Times yesterday.

Studies conducted by the East African Community (EAC) indicate that the Tanzanian railway route would cost Rwanda about US$800 to $900 million dollars, while the Kenyan one would cost US$1 billion.

“We do not favour one route over the other because we see both the Northern and Central corridors as critical in cutting transport costs and facilitating trade to and from the ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam,” added the minister.

“We intend to have access to both routes by railway. Nothing has changed and that decision still holds.”

In June 2013, the first infrastructure summit of the Heads of State of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, held in Kampala, agreed to construct a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) system linking Rwanda and Uganda to the port of Mombasa to enable faster socio-economic transformation of the East and Central Africa economies.

The project was estimated to cost $13 billion.

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