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Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire in railway development talks

By on August 4, 2013

There are indications that Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire will work together to execute a number of transport infrastructural projects to speed up the economic development in the two countries.

Already, the two nations have agreed to jointly fight against coastline piracy and have initiated discussion on the construction of rail line between Abidjan and Lagos.

The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, gave the hint in Abuja while receiving his counterpart from Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Gaoussou Toure.

Umar, in a statement from the Federal Ministry of Transport on Friday said, “The Federal Government will wish to partner with the government of Cote d’Ivoire in the development of railway services that will link other African countries.”

He explained that the rail linkage would not only boost the transport sector but also improve trade relationship among the countries in the West African sub-region.

The minister observed that feasibility studies to align the various corridors on the West African rail lines were ongoing.

Umar told his guest that the Nigerian government had embarked on the modernisation of rail infrastructure within the country.

According to him, the Federal Government has  rehabilitated 90 per cent of the existing narrow gauge rail lines, one of which is the Lagos-Kano rail line.

The government, he said, had also embarked on modernisation of railway tracks with double gauge between Abuja and Kaduna which would be completed soon.

He said the feasibility studies on the modernisation of railway projects in other parts of the country and the alignment of the various corridors on the West African rail line were ongoing.

He also announced the readiness of the Federal Government to collaborate with the government of Cote d’Ivoire in combating piracy in the West African territorial waters.

Umar said the joint efforts by the two countries became necessary in order to completely stop the activities of pirates and armed robbers on the West African coast line.

He urged the government of Cote d’Ivoire to strategise on measures that would bring about a lasting solution to the menace.

He said Nigeria already had bilateral relations with the government of Benin Republic on maritime safety and noted that the relationship was yielding positive results for the two countries.

Umar, therefore, called on both foreign and local investors to invest in the transport sector in African countries so as to boost their economies, stressing that government could not transform the sector alone.

Earlier, Toure had said he was in Nigeria to seek the Federal Government’s assistance and partnership in the areas of transport, aviation, roads, trade and investment.

He said Cote d’Ivoire had plans to partner with other African countries to construct rail lines from Abidjan to Accra (Ghana) and to Benin and Lagos.

The Ivorian Transport Minister said Nigeria, being the hub of economic activities in Africa, had developed its infrastructural facilities to the level that it could lend support to other African countries including Cote d’Ivoire.

He called on Nigerian businesspeople to invest in his country’s economy.