Mali has signed an agreement with China Railway Construction Corp to renovate a rail line linking its capital Bamako to the border with neighboring Senegal. The rail will cost nearly $2 billion.
The project is part of a plan to upgrade the ageing railway between Senegal’s coastal capital Dakar and landlocked Mali. China Railway Construction also penned a similar agreement worth $1.26 billion with Senegal.
According to President Macky Sall, the project is ‘urgent and essential’ for the emergence by 2035”.
The Dakar-Bamako line was conceived in the late 19th century in the heyday of France’s colonial era as a means to haul valuable commodities from the heart of its African possessions and link Mali—then called French Sudan—to the distant coast.
A quarter of a century went by as engineers and armies of colonial workers carved out the track from scorched terrain, before the line was inaugurated in 1924.
The railway line was once a source of pride for both Senegal and Mali. However, in May 2018 the money to maintain the route between the capitals ran out and the trains stopped running.