General Electric (GE), which spun off its transport business, said it has handed over the leadership of a consortium chosen to run a Nigerian rail concession to South Africa’s Transnet.
A statement released by the American company said “GE will be transitioning leadership of the International Consortium, selected to execute the Nigerian narrow-gauge railway concession, to Transnet. This development is in line with GE’s decision to exit the Transportation business from its portfolio”.
According to a procurement process adviser, General Electric had pulled out the $2 billion concession deal with the Nigerian government for two rail lines connecting northern cities to others in the south.
Reuters was told by senior vice president and head of advisory at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Fola Fagbule, who is the lead adviser to the procurement process that Transnet was in discussion to replace General Electric.
General Electric revealed it has been working with Transnet for several decades, and it has confidence in its ability and that of the other consortium members — Dutch-based APM Terminals and China’s Sinohydro Consortium, to execute on the rail concession project.
Economic growth in Nigeria has been hampered for decades by its dilapidated rail network. The existing railway lines were built mainly by British colonial rulers before the country’s independence in 1960.
The concession will cover about 3,500 km (2,200 miles) of existing narrow-gauge lines from Lagos in the southwest to Kano in the north and from southeastern oil hub Port Harcourt to Maiduguri in the northeast.