Many of Africa’s roads, rail links and ports have suffered years of neglect. But the good news for frustrated marketers and supply chain managers battling to get their goods to market is that change is happening.
Issue 3 2016 of ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), reports that many countries are grasping the urgency of making their transport infrastructures globally competitive.
Among the nations at the forefront of the modernisation is Kenya, which is tackling the challenge through a multi-billion dollar project that forms part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Initiative between Kenya and Uganda. The initiative represents possibly the biggest regional rail development programme since South Africa built the 861km Sishen to Saldanha Bay iron ore line in the 1970s.
“Kenya is consolidating its position as the East African regional services hub; the new line will be a game-changer for Kenya and the region” says Jonathan Stichbury, the Kenya-based CEO for East Africa of US asset management firm, PineBridge.” The project is due for completion in July 2017.
Other big things are happening in East Africa. Rivalling the Kenya/Uganda rail project, landlocked Ethiopia is nearing completion of a 756km standard-gauge line from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the port of Djibouti. Being built at a cost of US$3-billion, the line will replace the disused meter-gauge line.
Nigeria is also in a dash to replace its colonial era system, which has for decades been in a state of collapse. Already completed is a standard-gauge line linking the capital of Abuja with Kaduna, a major trade hub with a population of 1,8-million people. Due for completion this year is a 312km standard-gauge line linking the country’s biggest metro area, Lagos, with Ibadan, a city of 3-million people.