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Kenya’s $3bn show-piece railway project makes $100m loss in first year

Kenya’s flagship railway project registered losses of $100m (£76m) in its first year of operation, according to the transport ministry

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Kenya’s flagship railway project registered losses of $100m (£76m) in its first year of operation, according to the transport ministry.

The BBC reports that the China-funded standard gauge railway – which links the coastal city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi, – was funded by a $3bn loan from China’s Exim bank, to be repaid over 15 years.

Kenya dismissed concerns that the railway project was overpriced, unsustainable and economically unviable.

The railway line was central to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election strategy, launched only months before the presidential poll last year.

Read Also: World’s largest refinery to cost $10bn; Dangote secures $650m loan

While passenger trains get fully booked regularly, the minister said it was hard convincing businessmen to switch cargo transportation from road to rail.

Transport Minister James Macharia told a parliamentary committee that the state was now discussing with major private industries on how to make rail transport more viable.

The repayment begins next year, and if the railway doesn’t break even by then, Kenyan taxpayers will have to foot that bill.

Economists estimate that China now owns 70% of Kenya’s debt. However, the government hopes the railway will start making a profit in the next financial year.

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World Bank predicts Mozambique economy growing at 5.7% on average

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The World Bank has predicted that the economic growth in Mozambique is expected to accelerate in the medium term averaging 5.7% between 2022 and 2024, as a result of demand recovery and economy benefits from the start of liquefied natural gas production this year.

In a report released Thursday, the World Bank said the start of LNG production at the offshore Coral Project and the expected resumption of other LNG projects would help spur the southeast African nation’s growth in the intervening year.

The World Bank said a three-year extended credit facility arrangement agreed by Mozambique with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and budget support from other partners would further help to strengthen its economic recovery.

The IMF’s executive board had, in May, approved a $456 million program for the country, the first since the global lender suspended support to Mozambique six years ago.

However, the World Bank warned that risks remained for Mozambique’s growth, especially from rising import prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, a possible surge in COVID infection waves, and insurgency in the north.

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Nigeria, Algeria, Niger to revive Saharan gas pipeline talks

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The governments of Nigeria, Algeria and Niger Republic have held talks to revive a gas pipeline project across the Sahara which had been put on hold for over 40 years, with the potential opportunity for Europe to diversify its gas sources as the world faces a short fall as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war.

The three countries, represented by their various Petroleum Ministers, met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Wednesday and resolved to set up a task force to revive the project and designated an entity to update the feasibility study.

A statement by Niger’s Oil Ministry after the two-day meeting stated that the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project estimated at $13 billion, could send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of supplies to Europe.

The statement added that the energy ministers of the three countries will meet again in Algiers at the end of July to “validate the proposals of the newly installed task force.”

“The pipeline should allow Europe to diversify its sources of natural gas supply but also allow several African states to access this high value energy source,” the statement said.

“With a length of 4,128 kilometres (2,565 miles), the pipeline would start in Warri, Nigeria, and end in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria, where it would connect to existing pipelines that run to Europe,” it said.

The gas pipeline idea was first proposed more than 40 years ago with an agreement signed between the three countries in 2009, but progress stalled stalled following a lack of follow through by the countries.

Earlier this month, Nigeria also took steps to revive another gas pipeline project that would pass through West Africa, Morocco to Europe.

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