A ground breaking ceremony was held for the Kano - Katsina - Jibia - Maradi line on February 9 at the site of a proposed station in Katsina state, Nigeria. 

The $US 1.8bn standard-gauge cross-border line will connect the northern Nigerian trading hub of Kano with the town of Maradi, Niger, and comprises a 284km main line connecting three Nigerian states - Kano, Jigawa and Katsina - with Maradi, as well as a 93km branch line connecting Dutse, Jigawa, with Kano. 

Construction of the single-track line is due to take two years and eight months. It will serve approximately 15 stations, carrying 9364 passengers and 3000 tonnes of freight per day upon opening. 

Portuguese construction firm Mota-Engil will construct the Nigerian section of the line under a design, construction and financing contract awarded in January. Under a condition of the contract, signed by Nigeria’s minister of transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, and Mota-Engil managing director, Mr Antonio Gvoea, Mota-Engil will also construct a new university in Nigeria.  

Funding for the railway, which is being structured and negotiated by KFW-IPEX Bank, Africa Finance Corporation and Credit Suisse, was approved by Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council in September.

The line will provide a coastal connection between landlocked Niger and the southern Nigerian ports of Lagos and Lekki, and is part of a plan to stimulate economic growth by supporting international trade and improving transport in northern regions, parts of which have suffered at the hands of terrorist group Boko Haram in the past decade.   

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