Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania are looking for investors to participate in building of new 1,661km standard gauge railway expected to cost about $7.6 billion.
The partners, through the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), are seeking expressions of interest from firms to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the railway under a public private partnership.
Kenya is already building an SGR. Sources privy to the project said Rwanda is considering shifting from the longer SGR rail set to traverse Kenya and Uganda to the proposed shorter Central Corridor facility from Dar es Salaam to Isaka in northern Tanzania.
Expression of interest for the Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Kigali-Keza-Musongati (DIKKM) rail, which is a high priority project within the framework of East African Railway Master Plan, closes at 11am on August 14.
RTDA director general Guy Kalisa said interested firms will be evaluated to shortlist potential private partners prior to issuing the request for proposal documents for the project.
The new standard gauge railway line is to be constructed from Dar es Salaam to Isaka in northern Tanzania and Kigali in Rwanda with a link to Burundi running from Keza to Musongati through Gitega.
CPCS Transcom International Ltd is the transaction adviser for the railway. It will handle freight trains with axle loads of 32.4 tonnes and train lengths of 2,000 metres.
In August 2013, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda signed a tripartite agreement to fast-track the development of the SGR. Kenyan Ministry of Transport officials had said that Uganda’s priority was on the segment from Malaba to Kampala, followed by the northern segment from Tororo to Pakwach through Gulu because of business interest in South Sudan.
However, last week, The Independent reported that, according to sources, although Kampala remains committed to the SGR line project to Kigali, it has decided to fund construction of the Tororo-Gulu Pakwach line first because of the big economic interests the country has in South Sudan.
“Uganda wants to consider South Sudan because it is a bigger market, and this will definitely delay the Uganda-Rwanda line,” a Rwanda government official said.
In June 2014, Rwanda and Uganda signed an $8.6 million contract with German consulting firm Gauff Ingenieure Consultancy Services to design the SGR line between Kampala and Kigali.