Monday, April 26, 2010

South Sudan seeks to build high speed rail

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South Sudan has announced plans to for high speed rail, linking Juba, Sudan, and Tororo, in neighboring Uganda. Presidential adviser and director general of the project Kostelo Garang said Phase 1 of the project, from Tororo to Gulu, would cost $3 billion; an extension to Juba would add $4 billion to the cost.

“There are, however, some investors who are waiting to see how the 2011 referendum goes before making their entry into South Sudan,” Garang said, alluding to ongoing political and military friction within the troubled African nation.

Africa’s largest nation by size, Sudan has been plagued by civil strife almost continually since achieving independence in 1956.  Under a peace agreement signed in January 2005, South Sudan was granted autonomy for six years, and will vote on a referendum determining independence next year.

Analysts note that, regardless of the referendum’s outcome, Sudan can reasonably be expected to construct HSR only if Kenya builds a comparable segment; Kenya and Uganda are planning a separate HSR route at present.