The Gauge Rail Corridors Project: A Beacon of Hope for Landlocked East African Countries



The East African region, home to several landlocked countries, has long grappled with the challenge of accessing the sea, a vital gateway to global trade. However, the Gauge Rail Corridors Project, part of the East African Railway Master Plan, promises to revolutionize this scenario.

The project aims to rejuvenate existing railways in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, and construct new ones to serve Rwanda and Burundi. The ultimate goal is to enhance the economic development of East Africa by improving the efficiency, speed, and cost of transporting cargo between major ports on the Indian Ocean coast and the interior.

The new railways will be standard-gauge, a significant upgrade from the existing narrow-gauge railways¹. This shift to standard-gauge is expected to increase the capacity and speed of rail transport, thereby boosting trade and economic growth.

A key component of the project is the 2190km line that will link Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. This line will run from Dar es Salaam to the lake port of Mwanza on Lake Victoria, following roughly the same route as the metre-gauge Tanganyika Railway built by the German colonial authorities at the beginning of the 20th century.

The project is also expected to extend the East African railway network to South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This expansion will further enhance the region's connectivity and access to the sea, opening up new avenues for trade and development.

In conclusion, the Gauge Rail Corridors Project is a game-changer for the landlocked countries in the East African region. By improving access to the sea, it promises to unlock new opportunities for trade and economic growth, paving the way for a brighter future for the region.

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