A private group of Congo DRC citizens is planning a comprehensive railway shield for all major hubs of Congo society. Called Project Ndjandja,these patriots have ambitious agenda.
Considering the volatility of Congo DRC and her vast mineral riches,the project from private citizens to be marketed to government and private sector operators is a landmark initiative on the continent.At a time,the Kinshasa -Brazzaville road / rail bridge was just launched,the railway shied project is an innovative push other nationals across Africa may emulate.
According to details on the project website, inspiration for the project was drawn from the Ethiopian diaspora which was able to regroup in large numbers to finance the large hydro-electric dam in their country.
“Ndjandja project was then conceived in our country, the DRC. The aim of the project is to connect all major urban centres by rail, from East to West of the country, with an outlet on the Atlantic Ocean in the city Moanda where a deep water port is planned. However, such project requires careful planning, which begins with a pre-feasibility study funded by all of us, the Congolese population and friends of the Congo.
Due to its large economy of scale and low cost, railway was identified as a plausible solution to the current impasse in DRC. The pre-feasilbility study aims at investigating the possibility of developing a national railway linking all DRC major concentrations zones with a final link to the port of Banana to the far west of the country where a future deep water port is under planning. Various viable options will be assessed and a preferred option will be selected. A phased approach to the project may be considered.
Motivation of the project
It has been proven that the measure of development of a country is mobility. This necessitates reliable transport infrastructure. the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faces one of the most daunting infrastructure challenge on the continent. As a result of various conflicts, existing infrastructure networks, which were mostly built during colonialism with the objective to export raw materials via seaports, have been seriously damaged and are in dire need of rehabilitation. In addition, following major structural change and steep growth in demography, a need for new networks is increasingly becoming compelling in order to facilitate local trade.
Overview of the pre- feasibility study
At this stage the pre-feasibility study is estimated to cost $5,000,000 (five million dollar). This amount is informed through a benchmarking exercise which was conducted by taking into consideration projects of similar nature performed on the continent.
Substantial investments are required for flagship project of this nature. To achieve this, African countries are increasingly opting for private participation in the development, management and operation of railway networks by concluding public private partnerships ranging from management of contracts to concessions contracts. It is therefore the intention that, on completion of the pre-feasibility study, the DRC government and potential investors will be approached to discuss and negotiate further possibilities for funding this development under a concession contract.
Some useful data are included:
*21321 – DRC population
per km of usable rail track;
*79 million-DRC Population;
*4772 km Railway Tracks