Yapı Merkezi signs $1.9bn contract to build East Africa’s first high-speed rail


One of Turkey’s biggest construction firms is set to design and build East Africa’s fastest railway. On Monday 2 Oct, Yapı Merkezi finalised its second major deal in eight months with Tanzanian authorities to produce 208 miles (336km) of rail transportation linking Makutupora in central Tanzania with Morogoro – the country’s eastern commercial hub.

The huge project, worth $1.9bn, will employ over 1,000 Turkish engineers and other personnel. Over a period of three years, they will be responsible for delivering all design works, building the line’s infrastructure, laying the track, installing the signalling and communication systems, and electrifying the rails for faster, greener and more reliable services. Yapı Merkezi will also provide the new line’s spare parts and help train local personnel to operate and service the trains and track.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Yapı Merkezi vice-president Erdem Arıoğlu said the deal “is one of the biggest agreements signed by a single Turkish contractor abroad.”

Tanzania’s new line forms part of a bigger plan to create a 1,224-km long rail link between Dar es Salaam and Mwanzaa City by Lake Victoria. In February, Yapı Merkezi and Portugal’s Mota-Engil Africa were awarded the contract valued at $1.1bn to build the first part of the project: a 205-km stretch from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro. Once completed, Tanzania’s new railways will link with those from landlocked nations Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, carrying them to the East African coast and the Indian Ocean.

Yapı Merkezi and Portuguese partner Mota-Engil Africa at ceremony to lay foundation stone for new Tanzanian high-speed rail, 12 Apr. 2017


Founded in 1965, Yapi Merkezi is behind many major engineering projects in Turkey including the Ankara-Konya high-speed rail (pictured above), which opened in 2011. Among its most ambitious feats is Istanbul’s Eurasia Tunnel, which was completed in December 2016. The joint venture with SK E &C from South Korea created a 14.5km road under the Bosphorus linking Europe with Asia.