One of the key challenges facing the land-locked countries of the Great Lakes Region, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia, is the high cost of transport of the imports and exports. At present these countries rely almost exclusively on the East-West transportation systems of roads and railways from East Africa. In their commitment to cope with this major constraint of finding easy access to the sea, the countries of Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda Zambia, have expressed an interest in the development of the Southern Corridor (Great Lakes Region Railway) Project.
The Project entails interlinking the three lakes, namely Victoria, Tanganyika and Kivu, with a railway system, and connecting the same with both the Southern and Eastern Africa railway systems. The project would therefore provide an alternative transportation route for goods and people in and from the region. Eventually, the region could be connected with the Benguela Railway (Corridor Lobito Project)
The project will entail a potential 900 kilometres of new railway lines plus rehabilitation of internal railways in Zambia and Uganda and improvement to inland waterways and ports.
The countries sponsoring the project expect the private sector to play a key role in project development including financing and management of facilities. The project offers opportunities for Build, Operate & Transfer (BOT) solutions as well as concessioning.