CAIRO, 26 March 2021 – Egypt and Sudan are keen to launch the construction of a 900-kilometer railway expected to expand trade between the two countries and the rest of Africa.
The railway is expected to start out from Aswan and pass through Toskha and Abu Simbel in southern Egypt before going through the Sudanese cities of Wadi Halfa and Atbara, ending up in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
A start date for the $1.9 billion project has not yet been announced.
During a trip last March 11 to Cairo, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok agreed with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to proceed with the project.
Hamdok’s visit to Cairo came less than a week after Sisi visited Khartoum, his first trip to the neighboring country since the popular uprising in 2019.
Sisi and Hamdok also agreed to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation, including forming partnerships in the pursuit of joint industrial and agricultural investments.
Sudan’s Minister of Transport Mirghani Mousa told Sudan News Agency following a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Kamel al-Wazir in Cairo that the railway project is only one of many transportation projects between the two countries.
The other transport projects include notably the construction of a road between Egypt and Chad that will pass through Sudan.
Bilateral trade between Egypt and Sudan reached $862 million in 2020. Egypt’s exports to Sudan amounted to $496 million, while Egypt’s imports from Sudan recorded $366 billion in 2020.
The top goods traded between the two countries include chemicals, manufactured food products, machinery, foodstuffs, textiles, animal and agricultural products.
Abdel Ghaffar, head of the non-governmental African Economic Council, told Al-Monitor that Egypt wants to open markets in the landlocked African countries that have borders and land ports with Sudan.
The countries inlcude the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Egypt is also planning the Cairo-Cape Town Road which will connect North Africa to South Africa.
The pan-African highway, which will start out in Alexandria and measure 10,288 kilometers (6,390 miles) will cross nine African countries: Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Gabon and South Africa.