Given its vast land territory, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) natural resources and agricultural potential is immense.
However, the country’s economic potential is handicapped by one of the most dilapidated transport systems in the developing world.
Congo’s neighbors, eager to tap from a virgin country for market for their exports, and get back raw materials, have taken the matter into their own hands. The neighbors are directly constructing roads and rail.
It started with Uganda. Kampala is, since last year, constructing over 250km of road from its border to link up with Goma, a key urban area in eastern Congo. The Ugandans have invested $330m.
Two weeks ago, South Africa signed protocols in Kinshasa with government to rehabilitate different transport infrastructure in the vast nation including roads and airports. Details are still unclear, but what is clear is that Pretoria wants a piece of the pie.
South Africa has maintained strong presence in Congo, being the guarantor of the current political arrangement going back to 2002.
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu announced in May that her government was gearing up to construct highway to enter Congo.
This came after Tanzania signed deals with Burundi and DRC to extend its Standard Gauge Railway to Burundi, on to Congo.
President Suluhu said the ambitious projects will need international backing.
Now, Angola is also joining the party. It announced last week that it had awarded $333m contract to Swiss firm Trafigura consortium to operate and expand rail infrastructure to speed up commodity imports from the Democratic Republic of Congo.