Nigeria is set to begin work on a $2bn rail line to Niger on Tuesday, 9 February according to a tweet posted Friday by the federal transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
Amaechi said President Muhammadu Buhari would perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the line. He added in a separate tweet that work would also begin “shortly” on a $3bn project to rehabilitate the 1,000km narrow-gauge line between Port Harcourt and Maiduguri on the border with Chad.
The standard-gauge line will run between the Kano, capital of the northern Nigerian state of Kano, and Maradi, the second largest city in Niger and a centre of the country’s developing oil industry. It will also run east from Kano to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State.
From Kano, the line will connect with a $6.7bn link to Lagos, awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in May 2018.
Amaechi’s announcement follows a decision to approve the scheme taken by Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council in September.
Funding for the project was organised by the KFW-IPEX Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation and Credit Suisse.
The 248km line is to be built by Portuguese contractor Mota-Engil and is due to be completed within 36 months. Mota-Engil signed the deal last month (see further reading).