The African Development Bank (ADB) has tabled over Shs 1trilion to renovate the Kampala-Malaba Uganda metre gauge railway in abide to enhance regional trade.
An official from ADB said that the railway line is a significant project and part of the east African community’s Northern corridor that links Uganda to Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.
The bank’s group President Adesina Akinwumi revealed that railway lines are pivotal in opening up the heartland of Africa which has immense agricultural and economic potential. He made these remarks during the approval of funding in Ivory Coast over the weekend on 3rd December 2022.
“Rail tracks are also instrumental in linking rural-based special agricultural processing zones which the African Development Bank is promoting to markets and other vital logistics hubs. Railway lines should not simply connect ports to mines,” Akinwumi said.
According to the African Development Bank officials, more than 265km railway line between Malaba and Mukono, including the line to Jinja pier and Port Bell on Lake Victoria will be renovated.
The financing is also set to integrate nature-based solutions, including tree planting to enhance the climate resilience of the tracks.
The project according to Akinwumi, will incorporate training and skills development for the railway workforce to halt challenges associated with the railway.
The operators of the metre gauge railway noted some challenges among which are a long clearance and verification process due to streamlined services from various independent government agencies, congestion due to insufficient storage at the yards, inadequate human resources and a strained number of terminal tractors, among others.
They added that challenges cause unnecessary clearance delays that adversely affect the cargo’s time and cost to the final destination. The freighters noted that it is challenging to clear goods within the stipulated four days.
The financing program by ADB is aligned with Uganda’s Vision 2040 national strategy as well as the East African Community’s Vision 2050 that aims at deepening trade and transforming East Africa into a globally competitive upper-middle-income region.