The African Development Bank (AfDB) will lend Uganda $301m to upgrade the Kampala–Malaba Metre Gauge Railway (MGR) to link the landlocked country to Kenya and its port of Mombasa.
AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said railways like the MGR were needed to realise the “immense agricultural and economic potential” of landlocked African countries.
He said they could link agricultural processing zones to logistics hubs.
“Railway lines should not simply connect ports to mines,” he said, adding the project would benefit 1.2 million people, 40% of them women.
Work involves rehabilitating 265km of track between Mukono in Kampala’s eastern suburbs and Malaba on Uganda’s border with Kenya, including the spurs to Jinja Pier and Port Bell on Lake Victoria.
The money will pay for new tracks plus rolling stock and a new railway training school.
The AfDB said the project aligned with Uganda’s plan to be a globally competitive upper-middle-income country by 2040.