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News > Kenya

Kenya: Railways to Link Ethiopia and South Sudan

  • The planned railway will help cut Ethiopia’s dependence on Eritrean Red Sea ports of Assab and Massawa as well as Djibouti, while giving South Sudan an alternative to Port Sudan. Aug. 24, 2023.

    The planned railway will help cut Ethiopia’s dependence on Eritrean Red Sea ports of Assab and Massawa as well as Djibouti, while giving South Sudan an alternative to Port Sudan. Aug. 24, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@ThisFowora

Published 24 August 2023 (17 hours 2 minutes ago)
Opinion

The project is being described as the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since it gained independence in 1963, and is expected to boost trade in the region.

In the framework of its plan to expand the railways, Kenya intends to extend electric trains from its Indian Ocean port of Lamu to Ethiopia and South Sudan. The plans to start building a high-speed electric railway line in 2025 has a cost of $13.8 billion.

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The 3 000 km standard-gauge railway will link the new port to the central Kenyan town of Isiolo, and branch into three to Addis Ababa, Juba and Nairobi, according to the Lapsset Corridor Development Authority, the agency in charge of the project.

With an expected economic internal rate of return of more than 12%, the proposal is considered viable.

Kenya is raising $9 million to conduct feasibility studies and detailed engineering studies from the African Union Infrastructure Fund.

On May 31, 2017, former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated a 472-kilometer railway, funded by China, linking the cities of Mombasa and Nairobi. This line would reduce the travel time between the capital and the coastal city from 10 hours to 4.5 hours.

The project is being described as the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since it gained independence in 1963, and is expected to boost trade in the region.

Kenya Railways said the trains, which have a capacity of 1,200 passengers, will complete the journey in 4.5 hours at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour.

The railway is expected to carry 40 percent of cargo by 2035 from the port of Mombasa, the largest port in the region, where oil and gas discoveries are helping the country's economic recovery.

On the other hand, the planned railway will help cut Ethiopia’s dependence on Eritrean Red Sea ports of Assab and Massawa as well as Djibouti, while giving South Sudan an alternative to Port Sudan. Cargo-handling demand from Ethiopia and South Sudan is projected at 29-million tons by 2030 and 700 000 passengers are expected to use the railway yearly, according to the agency.

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