Citadel firm RVR in Uganda rail upgradation
Cairo, November 3, 2013
Rift Valley Railways (RVR), a portfolio company of leading regional investment group Citadel Capital, has re-launched Uganda’s Tororo-Gulu-Packwach rail line that links Kenya with Tororo in Eastern Uganda and Gulu in the north.
RVR, the operator of the Kenya-Uganda railway, is the investment that first brought Citadel Capital to East Africa, said a statement from the Egyptian investment firm.
The company has announced the completion of the first phase of the rehabilitation of 500 km of track that links Kenya with Tororo in Eastern Uganda and Gulu in the north, ending two decades of disuse and inefficiency.
The new line will facilitate intra-regional trade by providing easier access to east African markets and boost the economic development of Northern Uganda, said a statement from Citadel.
It will provide businesses targeting East African markets with a faster and more-cost effective way of moving cargo by rail as well as opening up north and northwest Uganda to rail services, it added.
The official re-launch of the Tororo-Gulu line was attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Citadel Capital chairman and founder Ahmed Heikal, as well TransCentury director Ngugi Kiuna and Bomi Holdings chairman Charles Mbire.
Speaking at the event, Heikal said: "Rift Valley Railways is the investment that first brought Citadel Capital to East Africa, a region many of us at the firm now view as our second home on this great continent that we share."
"Intra-regional trade currently accounts for just nine per cent of Africa’s total commerce, and we believe this new line is an important milestone that will further complement ongoing Ugandan government initiatives aimed at facilitating trade on the continent," he noted.
“We are extremely proud to be associated with the historic reopening of the Tororo-Gulu line, which will help ensure a dependable and well-functioning railway that can spur growth and regional economic integration throughout East Africa,” he added.
As a large-scale, long-term investor in Africa’s infrastructure, Citadel Capital matches regional opportunities with the international capital and expertise needed to grow African economies.
“RVR is an excellent example of what can be achieved in Uganda and the continent in the future. It is truly a global financing effort — with shareholders like Bomi in Uganda, our partners Transcentury in Kenya, and Citadel Capital from Egypt," remarked Heikal.
RVR Group CEO Darlan de David said RVR will be expanding its presence in Gulu and eventually transforming the town into a logistical hub for its operations in northern Uganda and the surrounding regions.
On the significance of the new route, Citadel Capital managing director Karim Sadek said the new service will play a vital role in promoting regional integration and trade by providing access to areas that were once closed to rail transportation.
"Working with logistics partners and our own logistics subsidiary, East Africa Rail and Handling, we will provide end-to-end transport and delivery solutions for customers in this important part of East Africa," he added.-TradeArabia News Service