Regional railway project seeks consultant

The Government is optimistic that by end of the year, it will have hired a consultant to conduct feasibility study on Kampala-Kigali railway line, which is part of a regional project connecting Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

The Government is optimistic that by end of the year, it will have hired a consultant to conduct feasibility study on Kampala-Kigali railway line, which is part of a regional project connecting Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Josephine Uwineza, the director of railway and marine transport at Rwanda Transport Development Agency, told this paper that the prospective consultant would be an international firm with expertise in major railway projects.

According to experts, once in place, the railway will have capacity to ferry cargo at speed of up to 80 kilometres per hour and it is expected, thus improving transportation of goods on the Northern Corridor.

Northern Corridor links regional countries to the port of Mombasa, which serves Uganda, Rwanda, eastern DR Congo, Burundi, northern Tanzania and South Sudan.   

The project that is expected to be completed in 2018 will cost an estimated $3.5 billion and the three member countries will jointly mobilise funds to kick-start it.

“Currently, there are no development partners or private investors who have committed to finance the project but governments of the three countries are enthusiastic about it and will mobilise the funds,” Uwineza said.

Progress

Uwineza said design for the Mombasa-Nairobi phase of the rail line is already in place, while the feasibility study for the Nairobi-Malaba-Kampala is in progress.

After the completion of the studies and subsequent designs for the three phases, the next step will be commencing the construction, once all finances have been mobilised.

The project is seen as a major solution to infrastructure bottlenecks that still hamper the EAC integration process where it, for instance, takes 35 days for cargo to be transported from Mombasa to Kigali.

Last week, transport ministers from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda met in Nairobi to discuss the funding plans for the five-year project.

“Member states have agreed to jointly mobilise funding for both the infrastructure and locomotives to speed up the implementation of the project,” John Byabagambi, the Ugandan minister for works and transport, was quoted in media reports.

The decision to extend the railway to Kigali was reached last month during a tripartite meeting that brought together presidents of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya in Kampala.

The East African member states also agreed to build a joint oil pipeline and refinery linking each other.

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