Rwanda, Uganda boost East African Railway project

Rwanda, Uganda boost East African Railway project

Following the ambitious plans of the East African Community leaders of promoting investment opportunities across the region, Rwanda and Uganda signed an agreement of Rwf5.8bn to boost railway line project that is expected to easy integration especially in the area of trade.

The agreement will focus on promoting consultancy services contract for the preliminary engineering design of the Kigali-Kampala standard gauge railway.

Guy Kalisa, the director-general of Rwanda Transport Development Agency, who signed on behalf of the Rwandan government on June 23, 2014 in Kampala, Uganda commended the move saying boosting Infrastructure will speed up region integration.

“The funding is a demonstration of yet another strong commitment of our leaders to carrying out joint regional integration projects aimed at easing trade in the region,” Kalisa said.

According to Kalisa Rwanda and Uganda will share the Euro6.3 million (about Rwf5.8 billion) cost of the designs of the railway. Rwanda will pay Euro1.4 million, while Uganda will cater for the rest.

In his explanation, Kalisa said the railway project is still at the level of the designs. “We will know the total cost of engineering and procurement after the consultants have given their advice on the routes and alignment from Kagitumba to Kigali.”

Uganda’s State Minister for Transport John Byabagambi called on the consultants to apply more efforts in order to conclude their year-long services.

Byabagambi said improved railway services will invariably occasion a drastic freight model shift from road to rail.

The consultants will majorly work on reducing sharp corners from Kagitumba and focus on straight alignments to enable an efficient and faster system.

Following a bidding process, a German consulting firm, Gauff Ingenieure, was awarded the contract that will see the electronic railway line linked from Bihanga in western Uganda to Kagitumba and Kigali.

Michel Fest, the director of Gauff Ingenieure, said their biggest challenge is on completing the services on time.

Works on the mega structure which will stretch from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kampala and Kigali is expected to end by 2018, according to the statement signed last year by presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

The railway will replace the existing 100–year old metre gauge railway (Kenya-Uganda) and will enable the operation of longer, heavier and faster trains.

The need to make Rwanda less landlocked and more land-linked is paramount, whose realization is through the railway line.

The initiative will ultimately reduce the cost of doing business and enhance domestic and foreign investments in Rwanda.

The modern railway line expected to cost over $13 billion and the financing will be done jointly among the three countries.

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