Uganda cancels $2.2bn Chinese rail contract, signs with Turkey

(The East African, Nairobi, 12 January 2023) After eight years of non-execution, the Uganda government has terminated the contract of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to build the country’s first phase of standard gauge railway (SGR), a 273km line from Malaba to Kampala. Kampala says the financing model for the project will also change, with Yapi Merkezi, which is building Tanzania’s SGR, expected to tap into its network to bring Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) on board that will finance and breathe life into the moribund project. The line, starting from the Malaba border post between Uganda and Kenya, was expected to cost $2.2 billion, but the Chinese financiers did not fund the project after casting doubt on Kenya’s SGR reaching the border to link with Uganda’s and making the project viable.