Silently,Turkish Rail Firms Making it Big in Africa


Turkey is silently making her mark on African railway market.Unlike the Chinese and the Russians,the Turks are somehow strategic about the market penetration.First,it was Tanzania,then Senegal and now Ethiopia.

The Ankara team seems to offer high qualitative rail works at moderate cost,factors that are granting it fresh access to infrastructure starved Africa.Additionally,Turkish firms are eagerly open to working with western,Chinese or Russian counterparts on projects.

Tanzania appears to have sealed a particularly robust relationship.A big winner in this case is Yap Merkezi,a construction giant deeply adored by the Tanzanian leadership.The firm is constructing major rail projects with a top standard and efficiency that is challenging established forces in rail construction. 

There is a subtle rivalry in East Africa.While the regional rail plan spearheaded by Kenya has a Chinese backing,the one being supported actively by Tanzania and Rwanda has a Turkish content.For example,Yapı Merkezi is constructing the fastest railway in East Africa. The first phase of the 1,224 km total line, the 202 km long Dar Es Salaam – Morogoro Railway Project, is the most critical part of the project. When the 5-part line is completed, it will connect Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, and provide access to the Indian Ocean for all related countries.

Aside the above ,the central corridor is also falling into the hands of the Turks.Yapı Merkezi is starting the execution of the Morogoro –  Makutupora Section of the SGR Railway Project in Tanzania. The Project is part of the Central Corridor which will connect Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, and provide access to the Indian Ocean for all related countries.

The 1,924 Billion USD Project is the second phase of East Africa’s fastest railway line connecting Dar as Salaam to Mwanza, known as the Central Corridor. Yapı Merkezi will construct the Project on a turn-key basis comprising of all infrastructure and superstructure works, including technological parts such as electrification and signalling. The total length of the railway will be 409 kms along with workshop, depot and siding tracks and the Project will be completed within 36 months.  

What is hugely different however is that the Turks adopts direct localisation of content unlike the Chinese operators.Tanzania is enforcing localisation in her rail sector while also keeping the cost as low as possible. The Turks are not insisting on running the trains or dominating the workforce with their nationals.

But the situation may be so because the financing paths adopted by Kenya and Tanzania are different. The Chinese had to play direct role in running Kenyan SGR because their money was behind it construction as loans.Whatever,the Turks seem more amenable to localisation than the Chinese.


About Dar Es Salaam – Morogoro Railway


For the Dar Es Salaam – Morogoro Railway,the groundbreaking ceremony took place on on April 12, 2017  at Pugu with the participation of HE Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa as Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Mr. Yunus Belet  as acting Ambassador of Republic of Turkey in Dar Es Salaam, Mr. Erdem Arıoğlu as Vice Chairman of Yapı Merkezi, Mr. Özge Arıoğlu as CEO of Yapı Merkezi, Mr. Emre Aykar as Yapı Merkezi Board Member and  , Mr. Abdullah Kılıç as Yapı Merkezi East Africa Regional Manager.

All works pertaining to design, manufacture, assembly and operation startup of track superstructure, electrification, signaling, telecommunication, central control systems are being carried out by Yapı Merkezi.

202 km-long single line will be constructed at a design speed of 160 km / h between Dar Es Salaam and Morogoro. During the 30-month project, a total of 33 million cubic meters of excavation work will be undertaken; 96 pieces of 6,500 meter-long bridge and overpasses, 460 culverts, 6 stations and repair and maintenance workshops will be constructed.

About Morogoro –  Makutupora Railway Section.


The groundbreaking ceremony took place on March 14th 2018, at Ihumwa/Dodoma with the participation of HE Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa as Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Dr. Leonard Chamuriho as Permanent Secretary Transport for the Ministry of Works, Dodoma Regional Commisiner, Mr. Masanja K. Kadogosa as TRC Director General,  Mr. Erdem Arıoğlu as Vice Chairman of Yapı Merkezi, Mr. Özge Arıoğlu as CEO of Yapı Merkezi, Mr.İlker İnceleme as Yapı Merkezi Deputy General Manager, Mr. Abdullah Kılıç as Yapı Merkezi East Africa Regional Manager and Mr. Kemal Artüz – Yapı Merkezi Project Manager.

Being the region’s first inter-city electrical railway system with a speed of 160km/hr, the Morogoro – Makutupora Railway Project will be built with the Standard Gauge of 1,435 millimeters. This specific section will also establish a safe and reliable transportation mode between the capital Dodoma and Dar es Salaam, further strengthening the vision of transforming Dodoma into a modern capital. When the 36-month-long project is completed, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania will be linked, enabling all countries of East Africa including their hinterland to have access to the Indian Ocean.

 After its completion, the Morogoro and Makutupora railway is expected to make a major contribution to the overall economy of Tanzania, especially in the fields of trade and tourism. Furthermore, it will enable land-locked countries such as Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to transport their rich underground reso

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