Kenya continues to be an expensive affair after Rwanda diverted plans to develop its rail link to Indian Ocean Ports through Tanzania.
Mr Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s finance and economic planning Minister, has backed the move citing lower cheaper costs and a shorter distance. He added that the route would take a much shorter time to complete.
Studies by East African Community member states showed the Tanzanian option would cost Rwanda between $800 million (Sh80.5 billion) and $900 million (Sh91 billion) while the Kenyan one would consume $1 billion (Sh101 billion), according to Rwanda’s East African Community affairs ministry.
In 2013, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda agreed to link up to the port of Mombasa along a standard gauge railway estimated to cost $13 billion (1.3 trillion).Kigali was part of the decision by the 11th summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Project of October last year that agreed that Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba was a vital link to the proposed line to Kampala and Kigali. It is this summit that gave Kenya the go-ahead to fast-track negotiating Chinese financing for the Kisumu to Malaba line.
The move by Rwanda comes hardly a month after Uganda chose Tanzania over Kenya for its oil pipeline route. However, Rwanda’s exit however does not pose significant threat in the scope of the bigger picture as it represents only 8 per cent compared to 39 per cent for Uganda.
Jules Ndenga, an official at the Rwanda ministry of infrastructure, said Rwanda and Tanzania had already held a joint technical monitoring committee meeting to fast-track the project.
“We are conducting a joint development of the standard gauge railway with our counterparts from Burundi and Tanzania. We have agreed contract terms and conditions and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency will procure it on behalf of the three countries,” he added.
The Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Kigali/Keza-Musongati (DIKKM) standard gauge railway project is expected to be completed by March 2018 and is estimated to cost three countries $5.2 billion (Sh523.1 billion).