SABC News - AU, China sign transport infrastructure deal :Tuesday 27 January 2015

AU, China sign transport infrastructure deal

Tuesday 27 January 2015 17:22

Ntebo Mokobo

Work is already underway in some African countries to have high speed railways up and running. (REUTERS)

China has committed to an ambitious plan to connect all 54 African countries through modern highways, airports and high speed railways.

The Chinese government on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the African Union (AU) to help the continent on its infrastructure built project. The Chinese government already has signed on major rail projects in Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says this will help to accelerate the much needed regional integration.

"We have come up with an MOU that covers railways, highways and aviation as well as industrialisation. Railways are going to be critical and we want to be linked and this project is going to link all our capital and commercial centres so that we can be able to move quickly in bulk by rail across the continent."

Dlamini-Zuma says the projects will also benefit ordinary Africans with skills transfer and jobs created.

Speaking through an interpreter, the Chinese Special Envoy to the AU Zhang Wing says China is ready to help Africa realise its dream to link all 54 countries through high speed rail.

"This is a very grand and ambitious project but it is a feasible project. Secondly, the African economy is taking off and it is in the early days of industrialisation and the department of infrastructure project and there is a huge demand on Africa's part. Thirdly, China has rich experience and very matured technology in developing high speed rail, highway and regional aviation as well as industrialisation project and China is equipped with a lot of capabilities in that regard."

In Nigeria, a state-owned Chinese company has signed a $12 billion contract to build a 1400 kilometre railway along Nigeria's coastline

Work is already underway in some African countries to have high speed railways up and running. In Nigeria, a state-owned Chinese company has signed a $12 billion contract to build a 1400 kilometre railway along Nigeria's coastline.

This is China's single largest overseas contract. The project will create up to 200 000 local jobs during the construction phase and a further 30 000 once the line is operational.

In Kenya, the Chinese government is investing in the 600 kilometre rail line that will connect the port of Mombasa and Nairobi. At least 90% of the financing will come from China Exim Bank while the remaining 10% will be from the Kenyan government.   

In Ethiopia, the Chinese government is building the railway line connecting Addis Abbaba and Djibouti.

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