The African Development Bank announced yesterday that it has approved a $1.2m grant to finance an Ethiopian feasibility study into a standard-gauge rail link with Sudan.
Ethiopia is considering a 1,522km line between Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The route has already been agreed by both governments.
This grant will come from the African Development Fund, bank’s lending arm for less developed countries, and will cover 35% of the total cost of the $3.4m study.
In January, the bank’s NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility approved a $2m loan; the two governments will also contribute $100,000 each.
The bank commented in its press statement: "The absence of a regional arterial route linking Ethiopia, Sudan and other countries in the Horn of Africa is a brake on trade, development and regional integration. The movement of goods and people between Sudan and Ethiopia often requires the use of several modes of transport, which increases costs and lengthens journey times."
The two-year study will assess the railway’s technical, economic, environmental and social challenges, including the possibility of procuring it as a public-private partnership.
The bank added that the findings of the study would be "keenly awaited" by a large proportion of the 110 million people living in Ethiopia and the 43 million inhabitants of Sudan.
Image: GCR’s guide to Ethiopia’s future rail plans