Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari opened the first phase of a new metro-rail service in Abuja, that cost the country $824 million (approximately Ksh82.4 billion). This translates to about Ksh280 million per kilometre, compared to Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway that cost approximately Ksh560 million per kilometre, for rail only.

The first phase of the Abuja light rail system has two lines with connections to the airport and the national rail network (3,505 km of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge lines and 479 km of standard gauge lines). The entire metro system is being built by China Civil Engineering and Construction Corp, partly funded by loans from the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China, which is providing 60 percent. It will span the entire city and will be developed in six phases.

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“The completion of this very important project is a dream come true. This accomplishment clearly demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects,” said Buhari.

An additional $194 million (approximately Ksh19.4 billion) will be provided by China’s Exim Bank for the supply of 48 coaches for the metro as well as their maintenance for three years.

The most populated country in Africa has invested close to a third of its budget to infrastructural development, with a target of 3.5 per cent economic growth.

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