AFRICA: Funding has been awarded for a comprehensive study of the technical, economic, environmental and social feasibility of building a 1 435 mm gauge railway linking Addis Ababa in Ethiopia with Khartoum in Sudan, together with an extension to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
The two-year study will also look into possible financing arrangements such as a public-private partnership to build the proposed 1 522 km line.
The cost of the study is estimated at US$3·4m. The African Development Bank board has approved a US$1·2m grant to the Ethiopian government, while the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility will provide a US$2·0m grant and the two countries will each contribute US$0·1m.
AfDB said the proposed project would meet four of its five strategic priorities: Integrate Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.
Suggesting that the absence of an arterial route linking Ethiopia, Sudan and other countries in the Horn of Africa was a brake on trade, development and regional integration, AfDB said the movement of goods and people currently required the use of several modes of transport, which increased costs and lengthened journey times.