Hoping to channel exports from its landlocked neighbour, Niger, the government of Nigeria has announced plans for a standard gauge railway from the northern city of Kano across the border to Maradi in Niger.
The 248km line would also serve Nigeria’s northern provinces of Jigawa and Katsina, curving northwest through Kazaure, Daura and Katsina before crossing the border near Jibia, reports Railway Gazette.
Nigeria’s transport minister Rotimi Amaechi revealed the plans last month without specifying any costs or timing.
He said the plans were being developed by both governments, according to the Gazette.
The goal would be to channel Niger’s exports through Lagos and away from rival ports in Benin, Togo and Ghana.
“The decision of the rail line getting to Niger was to try to get other neighbouring countries to transport their traffic through Nigeria, looking at the economic viability of that service,” Amaechi said, reports the Gazette.
The link would also serve a new oil refinery to be built in Maradi.
A link to Maradi would depend on the much longer planned railway from Kano south to the coast at Lagos.
In May this year Nigeria awarded a $6.68bn contract to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to build a major segment of that.
CCECC also holds a $1.5bn contract to build the first segment from Lagos to the southern city of Ibadan.
The Gazette reports that discussions are underway with China’s Exim Bank for a loan to fund the rest of the standard gauge route from Ibadan to Kano.