China signs biggest overseas deal ever with Nigeria's railway

Nigeria's transport minister Audu Umar shakes hand with Cao Bogang, vice president of China Railway Construction Corporation

China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC), has signed a contract worth almost US$12 billion with Nigeria to build a railway along Nigeria's coast from Lagos to the eastern city of Calabar.

This project covers building a 1,402km railway capable of running trains at up to 120km/h.

The coastal railway project would create up to 200,000 jobs in Nigeria during construction, and a further 20,000 to 30,000 jobs after the railway begins service.

The project is China's biggest overseas engineering contract and comes on the heels of the Mexican government cancelling a deal with CRCC for US$3.75 billion to build high speed rail, over transparency concerns.

Chinese railway companies have been aggressively pursuing projects in a number of markets including Southeast Asia, Europe and North America.

CRCC ran into problems with a railway project in Nigeria six years ago building a line from Lagos to Kano in the north. The Nigerian government took over the US$8 billion venture after falling oil prices made it difficult for the government to arrange financing for the project.

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