Chinese Involvement in Nigerian Railway

ElyaDatabase ID Number: M182

Creator: Can Yang ’22 Finance and Digital Media Studies

With a land area of 923,769 sq. km, a population estimate of 200 million people, and the largest economy in Africa, the centrality of effective public transportation in Nigeria is readily seen. Poor transportation infrastructure in Nigeria has been a major economic bottleneck to the development of its industries and exports because high transport costs lower the competitiveness of its goods. In 2002, the Nigerian government commissioned a twenty-five-year strategic vision to modernize the railway network, aiming to rehabilitate and transition existing rail lines toward higher-capacity standard-gauge railways therefore better connecting all thirty-six major states and economic hubs. Population density is shown in the map where from light orange to red indicates from urban to extreme urban.

This map shows currently railway lines in Nigeria. Nearly all new rail projects were awarded to Chinese. Railway in Nigeria stretches from North to South, connecting the coastal area to inland cities. These railway lines mainly fall into three categories: Existing narrow-gauge railway built by the Great Britain colonial power, New standard-gauge railway(SGR) built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), and planned SGR to be built in the future.

There are three main projects in Nigeria’s railway modernization plan: Lagos-Kano railway, Lagos-Calabar coastal railway, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway. The first phase of the Lagos-Kano railway project is the 186-km $876 million Abuja to Kaduna railway, which has been in operation since 2016. The second phase, 156-km $1.53 billion from Lagos to Ibadan railway has been in operation since September 2020. The railway will run parallel to the British-built Cape gauge line, which has a lower design capacity and is in a deteriorated condition. The 1400-km coastal railway line from Lagos to Calabar contract was awarded to CCECC in July 2016 for $11 billion. This segment was not part of the original twenty-five-year vision but was proposed by CCECC as part of three east-west routes that crisscross the colonial trunk lines. The around 1000-km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail project was approved by the Nigerian government in October 2020 for $3 billion.

Cite This Work :

Can Yang, “Chinese Involvement in Nigerian Railway.” Scale: 1:20,000,000. In Elya J. Zhang, ed., Mapping History Series. <> (accessed May 27, 2022).

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