Africa, the railway network

Africa, the railway network will invest 3. trillion and 290 billion yen
to trade expansion in trail area

Total extension distance in all parts of Africa is 11,000 km,

total investment About 30 billion dollars, about 3.2 trillion

290 billion yen) rail project It is being advanced. African

economy to agriculture by drought And the decline in

exports accompanying the fall in resource prices. Under

these circumstances, each country in Africa is a locomotive

that drives growth As a role I have great expectations for

the development of railway infrastructure.


◆ Expectation for cutting-edge planning

In the morning of an uncanny hot weather, out of the National Wildlife Park, Chinese and local workers skillfully move huge concrete lumps over the towering bridge girder. On the highway a little far away, the truck carrying the shipping container will raise the roar and run.

Construction work of the railway bridge being advanced in the city northwest city of Boy in the Kenya – Mombasa port on the east coast of the African continent facing the Indian Ocean. It is the forefront of the ambitious standard railway (SGR) project of 327 billion Kenyan Shilling (about 353 billion yen) connecting the country with inland neighboring countries such as Rwanda and Uganda.

The government has made the largest investment in railway construction since independence in 1963. The project is attracting attention as a cutting-edge African railway. Although the only road connecting the inland part and Nairobi is always congested by trucks, we rely on Chinese construction and capital to complete SGR which is an alternative transportation means and shorten transportation time.

SGR has the potential to change trade in East Africa. “Infrastructure constraints are one of the main factors impeding growth in Africa – this railway brings about major changes,” said Mark Brendd, an African-Middle Eastern economist at Bloomberg Intelligence.

There are not too many hurdles to build railroads in Africa. As the decline in resource prices becomes the weight of the construction of railroads carrying raw materials from mines to ports, even if the plan starts, not everything goes as scheduled.

There is also the possibility that China, facing a slowdown in growth, will reduce the central role played by infrastructure development in Africa. Kenya and Ethiopia are financing projects with a large amount of borrowing.

In China, we have a track record in African railway project. The Tanzan railroad with a total extension distance of 1,870 kilometers connecting Zambia in the landlocking country and Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania was completed in the 1970s with funds supply and construction by China.

◆ Benefits for Western companies as well

But not only companies in China and Africa will make profits in the current project. European and American companies such as General Electric (GE) and France / Swiss cement giant Lafarge Horoshim are expected to benefit. GE is investigating opportunities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria etc. It is a policy to triple the number of local employees from 2015 to the end of this year.

In West Africa, France’s complex company Borole plans to develop a rail network with a total extended distance of 2,700 kilometers. Once completed, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin will be connected.

In December last year, Senegal also agreed to railway renovation of 645 km with China Iron Building. Tanzania, Mari and Egypt are also planning a railway construction project. Ethiopia is planning a new project of 4000 km, following the route connecting Addis Ababa, the recently completed capital and neighboring Djibouti.

Railway infrastructure is indispensable for promoting trade among African countries. According to the African Union, last year’s intra-regional trade was only 13% of Africa’s total trade.

Currently only about 5% freight transport by railway is expected, Kenya expects railway construction project to boost economic growth. In March, the government agreed with partners in China on the extension project to the Ugandan border. Mr. Atanas Mina, Managing Director of Kenya Railroad Corporation, explains that it is planning to open the section from Mombasa to Nairobi in June 2005. It says that there are 8 freight trains and 2 passenger trains every day in each direction. (Bloomberg Liezel Hill)