By David Himbara
The Kagame railroad is back in the news. Rwanda says the construction of the 571km-long Kigali-Isaka standard gauge railway to connect to the Tanzanian seaport of Dar Es Salaam will begin in December 2018. The railroad is expected to cost $2.5 billion. Tanzania will pay US$1.3 billion. Rwanda will pay US$1.2 billion. The question is — can it be true that the Rwandan head of state, General Paul Kagame, has already found US$1.2 billion and is ready to build the railroad in December 2018? That’s less than two months from now.
The Kagame Railway has been in the making for nearly 20 years
- 2000 — Kagame and his Burundian counterpart announced plans to build a rail line linking their two countries to Tanzania’s seaport of Dar es Salaam.
- 2007 — A delegation from the American railroad BNSF met Kagame to discuss the Kigali-Isaka railway.
- 2008 — Kagame announced that BNSF Railway was to build the Kigali-Isaka railroad.
- 2009 — Kagame announced that the Kigali-Isaka railroad would be completed by 2013.
- 2013 — Kagame joined the ”coalition of the willing” to build a railway linking Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan to the sea through Kenya’s port city of Mombasa.
- 2017 — Kenya completed its new 472km standard gauge railway from Nairobi to Mombasa.
- 2018 — Rwanda announced that it would begin construction of the Kigali-Isaka railway linking Rwanda to the seaport of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Perhaps this time, the Kagame railroad is for real. Hallelujah.