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Uganda secures Shs 1.1 trillion to rehabilitate Kampala-Malaba railway

A Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) locomotive

A Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) locomotive

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is providing $301 million (about Shs 1.1 trillion) to overhaul the Kampala-Malaba Meter Gauge Railway (MGR). The railway line is part of the East African Community’s northern corridor linking the capital, Kampala, to Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.

The funding will be provided under the East African Community Railway Rehabilitation Support Project which is expected to bolster rail services and lower transportation costs across the region, endowed with agricultural land, minerals and petroleum production and manufacturing.

The financing approved by AfDB's board of directors consists of loans and grants from AfDB and its concessional lending window, the African Development Fund. The works entail the immediate rehabilitation of 265-kilometre of MGR tracks between Malaba and Mukono, including the line to the Jinja pier and Port Bell on Lake Victoria. 

The project incorporates training and skills development for the railway workforce. It also will integrate nature-based solutions, including tree planting, to enhance the climate resilience of the tracks.

During the board approval, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina observed that rail tracks will be instrumental in linking rural-based special agricultural processing zones, which the bank is promoting, to markets and other vital logistics hubs. He added that the lines are critical to opening up the heartland of Africa, where there is immense agricultural and economic potential.

The Kampala-Malaba Meter Gauge Railway is part of the multi-modal Northern Corridor route, which includes road transport from Mombasa in Kenya to Uganda and neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Eastern DR Congo. The corridor also has maritime links with Lake Victoria’s inland waterways. 

Rail is viewed as a safer and more affordable mode of transport than road, but currently, more than 90 per cent of the traffic along the northern corridor is carried by road, with a mere 7 per cent moving by rail because of poor infrastructure. As a result, transport costs along the corridor are comparatively high. The project is expected to directly benefit nearly 1.2 million people, about 40 per cent of them women. 

The project is aligned with Uganda’s Vision 2040 National strategy as well as the East African Community’s Vision 2050, which aims to deepen trade and transform East Africa into a globally competitive upper-middle-income region. 

The East African Community Railway Rehabilitation Support Project also advances the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and three of the African Development Bank’s High 5 operational priorities:  Integrate Africa, Industrialize Africa and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.


+9 #1 Lysol 2022-12-03 09:16
Whatever happened to the too much noises made about the Standard Gauge Railway by Museveni and co, which never came to pass. It was simply hot air as usual.
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+1 #2 Akot 2022-12-03 14:43
Lysol, thanks.

Museveni received billions to repair rails way line, yet the money disappeared & nothing was done before!

Why are Ugandans ensuring Museveni rules for life while getting richer & leave the post to his son?
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+2 #3 rubangakene 2022-12-03 19:23
It would have made more sense to first renovate the Kampala-Kasese and Kampala - Pakwach sectors to promote more growth from those areas.

Anyway why did it take 36 years to start "dreaming like Idi Amin" about these obvious important elements of development? Instead we purchased shiny aircraft that make daily losses to the treasury and feeds only a few individuals!
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+1 #4 kabayekka 2022-12-04 21:10
One reckons to rehabilitate means putting this modern mass transport system up to date for the next 60 to 70 years time after it was installed in this African country 91 years ago.

Google informs the world that the history of this Uganda railway finally reached Kampala in 1931 before being extended to Kasese in western Uganda where it reached in 1956 and the northern railway line reaching Arua, West Nile in 1964!

It is unfortunate that the asbestos tiles are still in existence on the railway stations and the railway engines are second hand fossil fuel engines that need scrapping. The present workable number of passenger and cargo wagons are unknown.
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0 #5 Lakwena 2022-12-05 14:52
Under the 36 years and counting of Gen Tibuhaburwa's iron grip, Uganda is indeed an absurd backward and very depressing country.

In the 21st Century, when the whole wide world railway systems/line have moved to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Ugandans are borrowing in worth US$.301 million to rehabilitate the neglected 19th Century Choo choo train meter gauge railway (MGR) line.

Since the Brits with their sweat, blood and lives of Indian Coolies who constructed the UR, already walked out on us and now-a-days say nothing about our current predicaments; which steel industries in the world are still investing in manufacturing the MGR?

Otherwise, just like the over-priced, used Locomotive purchased from South Africa, Ugandans should expect the purchase of some rusty dead-stock pile of lines and slippers from some Junk Yard in Zimbabwe or South Africa to rehabilitate the Kampala Malaba Line.
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0 #6 kabayekka 2022-12-06 00:18
Lakwena you have a point. It is a country that has lost direction. Many of the African self made business people in this country have gone abroad and tried to bring in the country all sorts of junky materials to try and revamp the country's industrial base.

Government and IMF and World Bank have stopped all that. But now look what sort of junky is this that government with its rich banks are bringing for the future of this country and at very high cost? Shame on them! One hopes that the next Uganda government will quickly write off this obsolete engineering.
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