Railways in Africa – driven by resources and shaping the future economies

The last 10 years and the upcoming 10 years show a strong investment in the African continent’s railways. While many of the railway links date back to the pre-independence of the countries, most of them have or will undergo rehabilitation and expansion driven by the export demand for resources.

This is in particular the case for the countries in West-, East- and Central Africa where resource export creates significant traffic and revenue for these infrastructure projects. This steady revenue streams enables the preparation of business cases, support by financial institutions such as the African Development Bank and access to foreign financing.

While the investment might be justified by resources, it can have on the long run a much more important effect on the respective national and regional economies by enabling trade and transport of passengers.

Relevant passenger transport driven projects in Africa include:

  • Morocco: Tangier-Casablanca High-Speed Rail Line
  • Egypt: High speed / Cairo Metro line 4 / Renewal national railway network
  • South Africa: PRASA train renewal program/ PRASA locomotive renewal program / Gautrain expansion
  • Ghana: Light Rail projects
  • Cote d’Ivoire: Abidjan Light Rail
  • Nigeria: High (medium) Speed Rail Line

Relevant freight transport driven projects in Africa include:

  • South Africa: TRF locomotive renewal program
  • Zambia/Angola: Zambia-Angola Railway
  • Zimbabwe: Railway System Renewal
  • Malawi/Mozambique: Nacala Corridor Rail & Port
  • Ghana: Eastern line
  • Tanzania: Central railway line with standards gauge
  • Uganda: Standards Gauge Railway Expansion
  • Kenya: Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway
  • Ethiopia: Awash-Kombolcha-Hara Gebeya railway / Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project
  • Cameroon: Extension of Cameroonian railway to Chad
  • DRC: DRC Multi-modal Transport project
  • Namibia/Botswana: TKR High Speed
  • Benin/Niger/Burkina Faso: Rail Link

Not surprisingly, there are numerous projects in municipalities for passenger transport that are not yet in the list, please feel free to comment about projects that should be included.


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