For Nigeria, the relaunch of the railroads is part of a plan to reconfigure the transport system according to a multimodal model, but also to reposition the country as a transit zone for Niger, whose volumes have been diverted to neighboring ports.
Nigeria's Ministry of Transport recently announced the resumption of construction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line, which has been at a standstill since 2021 due to lack of funding.
This resumption comes a few months after China promised last October to refinance the continuation of the work, having previously withdrawn as the project's main backer.
China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) was awarded the contract for the project, while its subsidiary China Railway Construction Corporation was commissioned to carry out the work.
Currently, work has restarted in Abia State, in the east of the country, according to the Ministry. The railroad project, designed to connect the country's seaports, is expected to link 12 states and help boost cross-border trade between West and Central Africa.
Eventually, this link will be connected to the SGR Lagos-Kano line, which will link downtown Lagos to the country's northern regions, with a planned extension to the city of Maradi in south-central Niger. Two branches of the network, the Abuja-Kaduna and Lagos-Ibadan axes, are already completed and operational.
According to the Nigerian authorities, the SGR project will link the country's major non-oil production hubs, notably the agricultural basins, to port facilities.