- Language: English
- 104 Pages
- Published: January 2012
- Region: Global
Country Report Angola
- Published: August 2014
- Region: Angola
- 24 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
China Railway Construction, one of China's largest construction companies, has completed its rehabilitation of Angola's Caminho de Ferro de Benguela (CFB), according to the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua.
The CFB was built over 100 years ago, but fell into disrepair during the 1975-2002 civil war. Rehabilitation, financed by a Chinese credit line, began in 2004. The 1,344-km railroad stretches from the Atlantic deepwater port of Lobito, where there is also a new oil refinery under construction, to Angola's eastern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There are plans to link the CFB to the rail system in the DRC with a view to making it a major artery to move copper and other Congolese minerals, most of which are currently trucked to South Africa to ports such as Richards Bay, thousands of kilometres away. With 67 stations, nearly all built from scratch, many just a few metres from crumbling colonial relics next to old platforms, the line has a design speed of 90 km per hour, which is one of Africa's fastest. The line will be fully operational by year-end, it has been reported, and aims to carry 20m tonnes of cargo and 4m passengers a year. However, although Angolans have welcomed the relaunch of the line, parts of which are already running some passenger services, many have been frustrated that large numbers of unskilled Chinese labourers were brought in to carry out the work.
It remains to be seen who will run the line. The Caminho de Ferro de Luanda, which runs for more than 400 km from the capital to the agricultural heartland of Malange, has been operating for over 18 months, carrying passenger and freight, but it is struggling to manage costs. According to several local reports, it is being heavily subsidised and is seeking a private buyout to ensure it can continue to run. Given Angola's poor record of running successful state-owned enterprises-the main exception being the oil company, Sonangol-privatisation of the railways could arguably improve their performance. However, it is essential that these potentially prize assets are not given away too cheaply, or to firms without sufficient capacity to make them successful. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
Country Report Angola
Rehabilitation of Angola's largest railway completed
Impact on the forecast