As part of current governments’ efforts to revive an economy ravaged by decades of dictatorship and global isolation, the Sudan railway network, half of which is abandoned, is set for a US$ 643M make-over.
According to the state-owned Sudan Railways Corporation (SRC), the African Development Bank, China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd., and undisclosed Gulf firms have already expressed interest in helping the North African country restore the approximately 2,400 kilometers of idle rail lines.
Implementation of the project
The railway network project is set to be executed in phases. In the first phase, the government plans to invest US$ 17M in emergency repairs to parts of the network that is in use. This network, Waleed Mahmoud Ahmed, the SRC’s general manager said that it is essential for the economic development of the country.
Under the second phase, Sudan plans to rehabilitate the abandoned lines mainly in the southern region of the country. This phase will restore links to the cities of Madani, Kosti, and Sennar, as well as Nyala in the war-torn western region of Darfur while establishing a cross-border connection to Wau in the neighboring Republic of South Sudan.
According to Ahmed, part of the financing for this phase, which is expected to be completed in 2024, will be sourced from a US$ 75M World Bank grant.
Establishing international links
Under a more ambitious planned third phase, connections will be established to link Sudan to the neighboring Republics of Ethiopia, Chad, Eritrea, and the Central African Republic.
This includes a proposed line from Port Sudan on the Red Sea across Darfur to Chad, which could be built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC). A feasibility study is also being conducted for a line from Port Sudan to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, which could be funded by the African Development Bank.