Kagame’s Rwanda Left Out of East African Rail Projects

By David Himbara

Tanzania Set to Connect Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian Markets with a US$1.9 Billion Dar Es Salaam-Mwanza Line

General Paul Kagame has been talking about connecting Rwanda to the seaports of Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam for a decade and a half.

In 2008, the Rwandan strongman promised to build a railway linking the existing Tanzanian line at Isaka and onto the seaport of Dar Es Salaam.

The railroad was to arrive in Rwanda by 2012 cutting the Kigali-Dar Es Salaam journey that currently takes a week for commercial vehicles to 24 hours. This did not materialize.

In 2013, Kagame joined the “coalition of the willing” comprised of himself, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta to build a railway from Kigali to Kampala and onto Mombasa. This too failed to take off.

And on January 14, 2018, Kagame and then Tanzanian president John Magufuli went back to the drawing board for Kigali-Isaka-Dar Es Salaam line. Fast forward to December 28, 2021.

Tanzanian head of state Samia Suluhu Hassan signed a contract to build a US$1.9 billion standard gauge railway connecting Dar es Salaam with Mwanza, a port city on the shores of Lake Victoria that straddles the borders of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

Where is Kagame’s Rwanda?

Stay tuned.