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China Plans 7,500-km Rail Connecting Sudan and Chad, and On to the Atlantic

Nov. 29, 2017-The approximately 7,500-km transcontinental rail corridor from Port Sudan to Dakar, Senegal, on the Atlantic Ocean, was first proposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2005. From its eastern terminal in Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, this northernmost transcontinental rail corridor is slated to cross Chad to its capital, NDjamena, then to Maiduguri and Kano in Nigeria, continuing to Niamey, Niger, to Bamako, Mali, to Senegal.

Agreements have already been made with China for the construction of two sections of this corridor, in Chad and in Sudan. On Nov. 7, 2017, the Sudanese Railways Authority signed an agreement for a feasibility study with two Chinese companies, China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC) and China Friendship Development International Engineering Design & Consultation Company (FDDC), to be completed in 12 months, to study the 3,400- km-long trans-Saharan Railway that would stretch from Port Sudan to the Sudanese city of Nyala, close to the Chadian border, and on to NDjamena. The lines are to be built to standard gauge and will allow trains to run at 120 km/h.

In March 2012, Chad reached an agreement with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to build the Chad portion of the rail line from NDjamena to the Sudanese border. In 2014, Sudan reached a political agreement with Chad to link their capitals with Port Sudan. There were to be later extensions to Atlantic Ocean ports in Cameroon, Douala (the biggest Atlantic port in Central Africa) and Kribi (the deepest Atlantic port in Central Africa). Rebel activities in Chad have prevented these proposals from being implemented up to now. The construction of the Kribi deep sea port was financed by China.

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