Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chinese funded railways to link East Africa -

Story highlights

  • New China-backed multi-billion-dollar railways are emerging in Africa
  • African countries borrowed nearly $10bn for railways between 2000-2014
  • A planned network will connect East Africa
(CNN)Near Africa's horn on the easternmost part of the continent, a shiny new electric railway runs alongside an old abandoned track through both arid desert and green highlands.
Some 750 kilometres (466 miles) long, the $4 billion line opened in October and links landlocked Ethiopia to the coast in Djibouti.
    It was partly funded and built by Chinese companies, just like the other planned lines it could soon link up with neighboring Sudan and Kenya -- where the first part of a new $13 billion Kenyan railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi is taking shape.
    The sprawling network is planned to continue into South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, as part of transnational efforts to connect countries within East Africa.
    This could transform how goods and people move, and the increased number of lines is expected to boost trade in countries like Kenya, says Kuria Muchiru, advisory partner, East Africa, at PwC in Kenya.
    "Because we probably have about 4,000 trucks everyday making the trip up from Mombasa into Nairobi, and some go farther on," adds Muchiru.
    The ports are where the magic happens, with 90% of African imports and exports conducted by sea which can be an issue for trade coming into landlocked countries.
    "The new lines will have access to the ports and be able to almost offload directly onto the train and then straight onto inland locations," Muchiru says.

    Billions in loans

    The new lines are part of the so-called LAPPSET rail project and the EAC Rail Sector Enhancement Project, also called the East African Railway Masterplan, and managed by the East Africa Community (EAC) -- an intergovernmental organization run by Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda -- together with consulting company CPCS.
    But railways don't come cheap, and African countries are borrowing heavily from China to scrape the funds together.

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    Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.