EAC bloc needs $29 billion to fix rail linksBy ADAM IHUCHA | Monday, June 18 2012 at 15:17
The East African community needs nearly $29 billion to revamp and expand the region’s dilapidated rail network.
Analysts say the existing East African railways, built at the dawn of the last century, has fallen into near total neglect and need overhaul.
The total length of the rail network in East Africa is 7,363km; of which 6,334 km is currently active.
The systems are metre gauge for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania railways, — the former East African Railways (EAR) network — and cape gauge for the Tanzania and Zambia railway (Tazara).
The EAR network was built between the 1890s and 1950s, while the Tazara network was built in the 1970s.
EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera says that the money will facilitate the feasibility study, designing and transformation of the railway system.
“The estimates for the realisation of the projects range from $5 to $29 billion depending on the gauge choice and the right of way,” Dr Sezibera said in Arusha.
He was speaking during the signing of a grant agreement with the the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the first disbursement of $428,000 out of a total package of $1.8 million.
The idea is to see railways serving Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda extended to Rwanda and Burundi by 2014 and eventually South Sudan, Ethiopia and beyond.
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