Portuguese contractor Mota-Engil has been chosen to build a 284km railway between Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, it was announced on Monday.
The news came in a tweet from Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s transportation minister. In it he said: "Today, we signed the contract documents for the commencement of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse railway project."
The $1.96bn deal Sees Mota-Engil building a single-track, standard-gauge line with 12 stations from Kano in northern Nigeria to Maradi in the south of landlocked Niger.
The line will give Niger access to Nigeria’s rail network and thus to Nigerian ports.
Minister AmaechiÂ said Mota-Engil will also build a university in Nigeria as a corporate social responsibility component of the deal.
International Railway Journal reports that the funding for the railway was organised by the KFW-IPEX Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation and Credit Suisse, and was approved by Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council in September.
The line is part of a plan to boost economic growth in the country and aid reconstruction in the northern regions that suffered at the hands of terrorist group Boko Haram in the past decade.
Image: Monday’s signing ceremony (Rotimi Amaechi, via Twitter)