Uganda asks China for $2.3bn to build railway to the sea

Uganda is negotiating a $2.3bn loan with China’s Exim Bank to fund the 273km stretch of railway it wants between the capital Kampala and Malaba on the border with Kenya.

Last week officials said construction on the electrified, standard-gauge railway would begin later this year, without giving details on how it would be funded.

Yesterday the project’s head, Kasingye Kyamugambi, told Reuters that Uganda is negotiating with the Exim Bank to secure financing and begin construction.

Kyamugambi did not say when the deal might be signed, but said that construction would take 42 months.

Landlocked Uganda eventually wants to construct a 1,700 km standard gauge railway network to connect with similar lines being built in neighbouring Kenya, eventually to gain access to Kenya’s Indian Ocean seaport of Mombasa.

Both Uganda and Kenya have been using a decrepit, narrow-gauge railway line built about a century ago by the British, Reuters commented.

Photograph: Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa, Kenya. Landlocked Uganda hopes to gain access to Mombasa port (Victor Ochieng/Creative Commons)

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