KIGALI - Ministers in charge of railway infrastructure development from Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania have agreed to set up a roadmap for the planned inter-state rail project and also come up with a legal and regulatory framework for its implementation.
This was announced Thursday at the conclusion of a two-day inter-ministerial and stakeholders’ meeting in which the findings on the project’s feasibility study were presented by an American firm, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF).
“The Ministers reiterated their commitment to establish a roadmap for the project, including establishing a legal and regulatory framework for implementation of the railway project,” reads a communiqué from the meeting.
“The ministers expressed gratitude to BNSF for their keen interest and diligence in delivering a well prepared study which would assist in securing potential investors,” the statement adds.
Among key observations is that the project needs to be considered as an integrated regional railway development and that construction works of all new lines (Isaka – Kigali/Keza - Gitega – Musongati) as well as upgrading of existing lines should start simultaneously.
A traffic forecast of 30 million tonnes by the year 2031 was found to be acceptable.
The second issue, the statement says, is for the three governments with the assistance of AfDB, to engage a project management consultant to prepare a bankable railway project document and gather investors/project developers.
Construction works on the crucial railway line is likely be completed by 2014.
The railway project is expected to provide an efficient common multinational transport network that will prop up regional economic integration and develop zones with high mining, agriculture, industrial and commercial potential in the wider region, encompassing the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and beyond.