By Hossam Badawi
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday announced plans to build a railway system linking Sudan to Ethiopia and South Sudan.
"We will connect [Sudan’s] railway lines to Ethiopia," al-Bashir said while inaugurating a new train line linking capital Khartoum to the city of Wad Madani, the regional capital of Sudan’s central El Gezira State.
“We also seek to link our railway to South Sudan so that it might serve as a transit hub with Kenya and Uganda, thus facilitating the movement of people and goods to those countries," al-Bashir added.
He did not provide a date for the project’s completion.
Landlocked Ethiopia and South Sudan both depend on seaports in neighboring states -- such as Sudan, Djibouti, and Kenya -- to export goods abroad.
Sudan boasts an expansive railway system that already connects most of the country. After two decades of U.S. sanctions, however, much of the country’s national railway system has fallen into disrepair.