The plan to launch a train between Egypt and Sudan takes a more advanced path

In a move seen as progress towards the inauguration of a railway project linking Egypt and Sudan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Sunday) approved a Kuwaiti grant to begin the preparation of ‘ a feasibility study for the train project.

And the Egyptian Official Gazette (publishes official decisions of the state) published a republican decision No. 227 of 2022 published, which stipulates “the approval of a grant between Egypt, represented by the Ministry of International Cooperation, and Kuwait, represented by the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development, with a value of 750,000 Kuwaiti dinars, to contribute contribute to the preparation of the feasibility study.” Technically, economically and environmentally friendly for the railway connection project between Egypt and Sudan, according to an agreement signed on April 7, 2022.

The agreement on the Kuwaiti grant, estimated at approximately 2.5 million US dollars, was signed within the framework of the activities of the joint annual meetings of the Arab financial institutions, held last April in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is, and determines the contribution of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, in the preparation of technical, economic and environmental feasibility studies for a project to establish a railway connecting Egypt and Sudan with a length of 570 km.

According to a previous statement by the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation, at the time he emphasized the “importance” of the project to “consolidate the ties of cooperation, achieve economic and social integration, and open up many areas for sustainable development with Sudan,” as it is expected to “facilitate the flow of trade movement to maximize common interests.”

The study, which is supposed to enter into actual implementation with its official approval by the President of the Republic, includes the determination of the technical, economic and financial feasibility of the project, the study of the environmental and social impact, reviewing previous studies on the two railway networks, in addition to studying the available roads, and determining the components of the project, including the railway networks, railways, signaling and communication systems, electrical power systems and supporting facilities, the location of the exchange station, preparation of initial designs, project cost estimation, and the best method of implementation.

The Egyptian Minister of Transport, Lieutenant General Kamel Al-Wazir, met with his Sudanese counterpart, Dr. Hisham Abu Zeid, discussed the railway connection project between the two countries, noting that “the preliminary study of the project has been completed, and agreement on the road from Aswan to Abu Simbel (southern Egypt) has been completed. ) with a length of 285 km as a first phase, with a link between Abu Simbel in Egypt and Wadi Halfa in Sudan in the second phase with a length of 80 km, with the establishment of an interchange station in Sudan.

The minister pointed out that “the Egyptian National Railways has prepared a model for an interchange station showing the sidewalks and railways, used for the transport of passengers and goods, and suitable for all current trade exchange activities and future expansions in the volume of trade between the two countries.”

And the Egyptian Minister of Transport previously said last September during the “Builders of Egypt” conference that “the Transport Projects Planning Authority has completed a study of the project for the construction of the Aswan-Toshka-Wadi Halfa railway line. ,” which estimates the project’s cost at about 5 billion The pound (the dollar at 19.75 pounds). Before that, the minister said in April 2021, during his visit to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, that “the project in its next phases will stretch from Wadi Halfa to Abu Hamad with a length of 350 km, and then to Khartoum through Atbara with a length of 500 km,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Transport.

According to a statement published by the Egyptian Railways website in 2020, the project represents a strategic dimension to connect Toshka with the Cairo railway – the High Dam, contributing to the service of the structural plans for future expansions, whether industrial, agricultural or residential , and facilitating the movement of transport with Wadi Halfa, with the possibility of connecting with Sudan through three proposals: the first is Wadi Halfa – Aswan with a length of 446 km from the eastern side, the second is Wadi Halfa – Aswan with a length of 400 km from the west side, and the third is Abu Hamad – Aswan with a length of 609 km.

The idea of ​​the project dates back to 2010, when it was presented at a meeting of Arab transport ministers, and the transport ministries of the two countries began preparing a study for the project connecting Khartoum to Aswan, according to previous statements by Ambassador Bilal Qasmallah, the Sudanese consul general in Aswan, at the time.

But the project faced financial obstacles, which led to it stopping at the limits of the idea, although it was raised from time to time, during meetings between officials of the two countries. In 2015, the Egyptian minister of transport for example to The time, Hani Dahi, spoke about the project and said that «His country’s government intends to establish a railway to connect Egypt and Sudan, as part of a plan to increase trade between the two countries increased, and the necessary studies are being prepared and the search for funding sources is underway.

The project only took a real course after the visit of the Egyptian president to Sudan in July 2018, during which he agreed with the former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to establish a railway to connect the two countries. Indeed, a ministerial committee was formed from the two countries to follow up the implementation of the project, which It stumbled again after the events that broke out in Sudan in 2019, which led to the overthrow of al-Bashir. Before it is revived again at the end of 2020, according to an agreement between the two countries’ transport ministers.

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