Railways AfricaTM

Issue: 3 - 2018

It would appear, following a recent visit to South Africa,  by the Honourable Joe Ghartey Minister for Railway Development Ghana, that Transnet may soon be able to list another African country to its already growing list of African rail and port activities. Transnet’s drive in Africa remains a key focus as the company continues to look for additional revenue outside of South Africa to bolster its bottom line. A team from Transnet is due to inspect and assess the current state of operations in due course. Ghana has been particularly vocal of late in terms of their rail development strategy and meeting the growing needs of general freight and the mining sector.

The Government of Tanzania has signed an agreement with the Government of China amounting to Shs.146.47 billion. The agreement is grant based and not a loan and is to be used for two key projects the first being the construction of the University of Transportation National (NIT) that will be built in Dar es Salaam at the cost of US$62 million equivalent to Shillings 138.3 billion. The second is to support the feasibility of a new standard gauge railway project, the official press release suggesting, starting from Dodoma to Tabora to through to Kigoma via Kaliua.

Then, of course, there is the Transport Infrastructure Improvement Project in Namibia, as well as Uganda Railways’ capacity building as well as the market study for rail in Zimbabwe and the study on additional demand for the proposed Swazirail link project.

So, from my viewpoint rail on the continent of Africa is taking shape, and unlike the FMCG environment these projects take years to come to fruition, but to fruition, they do eventually come, with all the actors and by this, I mean the funders, operators and suppliers. At the recently held Southern African Railways Association (SARA) conference, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) signed what I term a groundbreaking MoU! This MoU gives sight of potential projects from the start and allows easier access to not just the finance portion but also the knowledge and expertise to ensure project viability in the long run. Refer to our website for other interviews from this event.

I look forward to seeing you at Africa Rail.