Rwanda’s mountainous terrain and lack of access to the sea puts the country at a great challenge of high infrastructure costs, according to the African Development Bank (ADB) official.
Alex Rugamba, Coordinator of Infrastructure Consortium for Africa at ADB told Business Times in an Interview that Rwanda could however lower theses costs through the planned Isaaka-Kigali railway line because long distance cargo is much cheaper with railway corridors.
His remarks follow the World Bank’s report that was launched last week, indicating that road and rail corridors need to be managed collaboratively to smooth transport and trade services in Africa’s 15 landlocked countries.
According to the bank, integration will avoid the extensive border delays.
The report highlighted that non-tariff barriers cost landlocked African countries 80 percent of actual driving time from the port to the destination of goods.
Eng. Linda Bihire, Rwanda’s Infrastructure Minister said that the country is also challenged by high intensity rainfall that damage roads.
“It’s more expensive to construct on hilly areas because it requires very confiscated designs yet with limited resources,” Bihire said.
The Ministry of Infrastructure says that road construction and maintenance management far exceeds Rwanda’s human, institutional and financial capabilities.
Rwanda’s nearest seaport is some 1,400km away, something that swells transport costs that are said to represent over 40 percent of her export and import values.
The Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) target is to cut this cost by 10 percent by 2012.
Rugamba hailed government’s ambition of being a regional ICT hub.
“Rwanda did a great job to identify where they can do better because adopting ICT does not require access to the sea and once the right policies are in place to embrace ICT, it reduce the geographical challenge,” he said.