Massive rail network to boost West African economies

Several countries in West Africa and mining companies are investing in a massive rail project that – when completed – will offer reliable transport for mineral exports. The new rail network will be 3,000 km long, providing a link between Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.

The mammoth rail network is said to be vital to West African economies. Mineral exports are a major economic driver of countries like Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger. The exports are predicted to rise from 109,000 tonnes a year to 3.4 million tonnes a year by 2030.

These developments need infrastructure to shift commodities from the sites where they are unearthed, to major ports from where they could be exported. The new rail network will combine newly constructed tracks with existing ones that will be upgraded. While the new rail project is initially designed to facilitate moving minerals from mines to ports, the rail network may well have the potential to drive up further economic development.

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