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EAC Banking On Railway Transport To Improve Regional Trade

East Africa Community (EAC) States are optimistic that the EAC Standard Gauge Railway once completed in different states, will enhance trading between the members as well as movement of goods and services.

Development of railway lines within EAC has been underlined as a means for enhancement of connectivity and linkages between the ports and the inlands to enable cross border trade and heavy industrial development harnessed by the cheaper means of transport.

According to the managing director of Kenya Railways, Atanas Maina, the development of the railway transport is one way through which EAC countries can attain middle income status.

“The development of standard gauge railway is supposed to provide a transformative land transport infrastructure that will help the region move towards the middle income status” he states

Kenya has been at the forefront in implementation of the Northern Corridor Standard Gauge Railway, having completed their part from Mombasa to Nairobi in 2018. Uganda and Rwanda are yet to start on the planned 1,500km-long railway from Mombasa to Kigali

Although there have been delays in the implementation of the project, officials at the EAC council are impressed with the EAC states commitment to infrastructure development

According to Libe’rat Mfumukeko, the Secretary General EAC, building the SGR remains a priority for all EAC and will be implemented fully as planned

“Over the last three to four, most EAC countries have doubled their budgets for Infrastructure Development. This is a very good move because it is through infrastructure that we can push for investments and industrial development” he states

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Upon completion, the Northern corridor standard gauge railway be linking Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan and through the implementation process, communities are already reaping early transformation benefits since most of the work and suppliers are being done by the local people

The Central Corridor Standard Gauge railway linking Tanzania to Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo commences soon as well.

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