Preparations for Isaka-Kigali railway construction on course

On 19 March 2021 at 10:16

Isaka-Kigali’ is a joint 532 km railway project between Rwanda and Tanzania expected to be completed at a cost of USD $ 3.6 billion. The project is much anticipated between both countries especially for Rwanda as a landlocked nation.

The long awaited railway linking to Rwanda to neighboring countries is expected to give relief to traders catering for expensive cost of land cargo transport.

The railway on Rwandan side will follow the lowland through Ngoma, Kirehe, Bugesera and Kicukuro districts.

Sources reveal that Rwanda is required at to pay US$4,990 per single container carrying 25,400 kgs. Once completed, the railway anticipates reduced transport costs by 40% hence positively impacting on Rwanda’s imports and exports.

Among others, the project will be impactful particularly for Rwandan traders considering the fact that 70% of Rwanda’s imported or exported cargos are transited through Dar es Salaam Port.

Discussions for the construction of Isaka-Kigali railway began in 2000 but implementation phase had not yet materialized until 2015 when President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli took office.

Agreements to construct the 532-railway initially expected to be completed at a cost of US$ $ 3.6 billion were signed on 9th March 2018.

On the side of Rwanda, the 532-km railway will pass through Rusumo border to Kigali city (at headquarters of Dubai Ports in Kicukiro). There will be an extra 18-km part of the railway leading to Bugesera International Airport.

The railway on the side of Rwanda will be 138 km with the rest of 394 being on Tanzania side.

Of the total US$ $3.6 billion estimated cost; Tanzania shall meet US$ 2.3 billion while USD $ 1.3 billion is required on Rwanda side.

Patrick Emile Baganizi, the Deputy Director General at Rwanda Transport development Agency (RTDA) recently told IGIHE that the railway will improve efficiency and fast track transport of goods imported to the country.

“Both heads of state promised these infrastructures to citizens to put us out of seclusion because Rwanda is a landlocked country with inter-country trade relying heavily on road transport means,” he said.

Baganizi explained that Rwanda will reap big from cargo transport, reduce freight cost, promote economy and facilitate smooth trade between countries.

“Construction of the railway seems expensive at the beginning but it presents huge and long-term benefits over the years,” he underscored.

Baganizi revealed that preparations are underway even though the beginning construction activities have not yet started.

“We are erecting landmarks at the anticipated railway’s demarcations. The process also involves property valuation to estimate how much expropriation will cost,” he noted.

As Baganizi said, the study plan has been completed awaiting resources mobilization before laying the foundation stone.

“Resources mobilization is underway so that we can embark on execution phase. The fact that Rwanda has a hilly topography cannot halt our progress because there are other mountainous countries that successfully completed railways. We will also manage to do so when resources are available,” he stressed.

So far, landmarks for Isaka-Kigali railway passage have been erected from Rusumo to Ndera in Kigali city.

It is expected that the railway will be expanded to the democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), once the country’s request is approved.

Construction of the railway is underway on the side of Tanzania.

Apart from Isaka-Kigali railway, Rwanda also joined Northern Corridor countries including Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan for the implementation of a $13.8 billion flagship railway project that links Mombasa to Kigali and the railway expected to dramatically boost East African’s position as a regional economic hub.

The long awaited railway linking to Rwanda to neighboring countries is expected to give relief to traders catering for expensive cost of land cargo transport.