3000 Km Long Railway To Link 7 West African Countries
Whenever we are using modern technology conveniences such smartphones, laptops and boarding cars and planes, we sometimes stop and think about how life would be without them. Sometimes, we go as far as thanking the countries from which such technologies come from.
Well, Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Japan often take the credit for most tech devices and machinery. However, did you know that the minerals that make up our phones, laptops, cars and planes are mostly mined in West Africa? This is a very little known about fact, when we look at the Samsung, Toyota, etc. logo when we’re admiring the modern tech devices and machinery.
For Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger, mineral exports is an important economic driver. Mineral exports from West Africa is predicted to rise from 109,000 tons annually to 3.4 million tons by 2030. This equates to an exponential increase in mining of these mineral resources, but most of these countries don’t have a cheap and reliable means of transporting the minerals from mining sites to the major ports for export.
Railway is often considered a cost-effective, reliable means of transport especially when carrying heavy loads over a long distance. The existing railways in West Africa are sparse with fragmented lines that do not make up a bigger network.
West African countries; Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso have embarked on an ambitious project to construct a mega 3,000 km (1,864 mile) long railroad network linking all the 7 West African countries. When completed the railway network will be combined with the already existing rail networks in the individual countries. The old railway networks will also be upgraded to the standard of the newly constructed network.
One particular landlocked West African country, Niger that has been struggling with excessive cost of transportation compared to any other African country, stands to benefit the most. The region lacks interconnecting railway services across their borders, and freight often has to be unloaded from one train and then loaded to another train at the boundaries of a new country.
With the new railway network linking all the 7 West African countries, such an expensive inconveniences will be done away with. Experts also predict that the new railway network will further increase economic development of the countries.