All aboard! China’s rails link East Africa

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Some 750 kilometres (466 miles) long, the $4 billion line opened in October and links landlocked Ethiopia to the coast in Djibouti.

This could transform how goods and people move, and the increased number of lines is expected to boost trade in countries like Kenya, says Kuria Muchiru, advisory partner, East Africa, at PwC in Kenya.

“Because we probably have about 4,000 trucks everyday making the trip up from Mombasa into Nairobi, and some go farther on,” adds Muchiru.

The ports are where the magic happens, with 90% of African imports and exports conducted by sea which can be an issue for trade coming into landlocked countries.

“The new lines will have access to the ports and be able to almost offload directly onto the train and then straight onto inland locations,” Muchiru says.

Billions in loans

The new lines are part of the so-called LAPPSET rail project and the EAC Rail Sector…

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