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A New Rail Link for East Africa

The 571km-long cross-border railway project dubbed the Isaka-Kigali SGR project linking Rwanda with the Indian Ocean will cost US$2.5billion to complete. In a joint announcement this month, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete and Tanzania’s transportation minister Isack Kamwelwe declared the cost will be split between the two nations with Tanzania providing US$1.3bn and Rwanda US$1.2bn. The first 400km from Dar to Dodoma is currently underway and being built by a Turkish/Portuguese consortium. The cross-border railway project will enable landlocked Rwanda to access the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The line will also support the transfer of goods from Dar es Salaam port to Burundi and the Congo. The first plan was to use diesel but it has now been agreed to use electricity. Once complete, it is expected significantly to reduce freight transportation costs in the East Africa region. Readers will recall that Alibaba has decided to centralise its fulfillment for Africa in Rwanda.

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