Rift Valley Railways freight train.

AFRICA: Kenya – Uganda railway concessionaire Rift Valley Railways plans to make capital investments totalling more than US$100m during the current year. On July 8 the operator announced the final US$69·6m drawdown from a US$164m debt facility which was raised from international financiers in 2011 to fund a US$287m five-year turnaround programme launched in January 2012.

The final drawdown will fund GPS equipment to improve operations, increases in freight capacity and infrastructure works including rehabilitation of 366 km of the Nairobi – Kampala route. RVR is adding 1 400 wagons to its fleet, and will soon take delivery of 20 locomotives ordered from GE as well as 10 locomotives which are being refurbished in RVR’s workshops.

RVR has so far spent US$120m under the five-year modernisation programme. According to Karim Sadek, Managing Director of RVR investor Qalaa Holdings (previously known as Citadel Capital), there has been ‘more investment in revitalising the Kenya – Uganda railway system in the past 26 months than in the previous 26 years’, and this has succeeded in attracted new contracts from steel, oil and grain shippers.

Debt facility, US$m
African Development Bank 40
KfW Bankengruppe (Germany)32
International Finance Corp (World Bank)22
FMO (Netherlands) 20
ICF Debt Pool 20
BIO Invest (Belgium) 10
Equity Bank (Kenya) 20
Total 164