Rwanda optimistic about construction of railway project

By Esther Muhozi
On 13 February 2024 at 11:17

Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) has announced promising developments regarding the start of railway construction projects, marking the culmination of essential preparatory efforts. The agency is now focused on securing the necessary financial backing to move forward with these significant infrastructural initiatives.

In addition to the railway connecting Rwanda and Tanzania, another crucial project seeks to link Rwanda with Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan through the Northern Corridor initiatives. These railway links are anticipated to greatly enhance business travel, providing a significant advantage to Rwanda, as a landlocked country.

In preparation for the Rwanda-Tanzania railway, route demarcations have been set from Rusumo to Kigali City, with an extension planned to reach Bugesera Airport, covering an additional 18 kilometers. This project is designed to enhance connectivity within the heart of East Africa and has been in the planning stages for more than two decades.

An agreement for a 532-mile section was signed on March 9, 2018, initially focusing on the Tanzanian side, and progress has been made, with discussions ongoing to extend the railway into Rwanda. Mwiseneza Maxime Marius, Deputy Director General of the RTDA, confirmed that all necessary pre-construction conditions have been met, and attention is now turning to securing the funding required for the project’s imminent launch.

To bring the Rwanda-Tanzania railway to fruition, Rwanda is seeking over $1.5 billion in funding, while Tanzania needs more than $2.5 billion for its portion of the project. A meeting between Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania in 2023 placed high priority on enhancing trade, with the railway project being a key topic of discussion.

Rwanda anticipates that the railway will reduce transportation costs by 40%, a significant advantage for Rwandan traders who rely on the Dar es Salaam port for 70% of their import and export activities. Ongoing discussions with various countries signal the potential for resuming related project activities in the near future, as indicated by the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Rwanda has expressed optimism about the construction of railway project.