China funding Uganda’s Kampala to Malaba rail network project
Construction is due to commence this year on a 237 km electrified standard-gauge railway line linking the Uganda capital of Kampala to Malaba on the Kenya border.
This is the first phase of a railway network designed to improve connections between landlocked Uganda and three neighbouring countries: Kenya, Rwanda, and South Sudan. The estimated cost is US$2.3 Billion. Eventually, Uganda, is seeking to build a combined 1,724 kilometres of standard-gauge railway as part of a regional project network, which will total about 3,200 km.
The contractor for the Uganda project is China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). They are currently constructing the Kenya part of the railway network. The Uganda Project completion is scheduled for mid 2020 and at this time land acquisition and compensation is well underway.
China’s Export – Import Bank is funding both the Uganda and Kenya sections of the standard-gauge railway network that will when finished connect the link from the Kenya capital of Nairobi to the Uganda capital of Kampala.
Development of an east African regional rail system will eventually link the densely populated and fast growing Great Lake states of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Indian Ocean ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
Later phases will involve a North to South line to the west of the lakes, connecting the Burundian capital of Bujumbura with Kampala. A third East to West line between a planned future Kenyan port at Lamu and Juba in South Sudan – the Lamu – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport Corridor .
Uganda is considered a good credit risk owing to the recent discovery of an oil field in the Lake Albert basin with an estimated 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable reserves forecast to net the Uganda government around US$43 Billion over the next twenty-five years.