China signs biggest overseas deal ever with Nigeria's railway

Audu Umar and Cao Bogang -

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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