Rwanda dumps Kenya SGR route for Tanzania

Tuesday May 17 2016

A section of the standard gauge railway Simba crossing station in Makueni County.

A section of the standard gauge railway Simba crossing station in Makueni County. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By XINHUA
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KIGALI, Sunday

Rwanda has announced plans to develop a rail link to Indian Ocean ports through Tanzania because they are cheaper and shorter than the route passing through Kenya, says finance and economic planning minister Claver Gatete.

Gatete said on Sunday the Tanzania route was cheaper and would not take long to complete compared with the Kenyan route.

In 2013, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda agreed to link up to the port of Mombasa along a standard gauge railway estimated to cost $13 billion (1.3 trillion).

Studies by East African Community member states showed the Tanzanian option would cost Rwanda between $800 million (Sh80.5 billion) and $900 million (Sh91 billion) while the Kenyan one would consume $1 billion (Sh101 billion), according to Rwanda’s East African Community affairs ministry.

“We opted for the route transiting to Tanzania during the construction of our railway line because the Kenyan route would be expensive and time-consuming,” said Gatete.

The Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Kigali/Keza-Musongati (DIKKM) standard gauge railway project is expected to be completed by March 2018 and is estimated to cost three countries $5.2 billion (Sh523.1 billion). 

Jules Ndenga, an official at the Rwanda ministry of infrastructure, said Rwanda and Tanzania had already held a joint technical monitoring committee meeting to fast-track the project.

“We are conducting a joint development of the standard gauge railway with our counterparts from Burundi and Tanzania. We have agreed contract terms and conditions and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency will procure it on behalf of the three countries,” he added.