Financed by China Eximbank, the Lagos-Ibadan railway in Nigeria, the first double-track standard gauge modern railway in West Africa, was opened for commercial operation on 10 June. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria attended the opening ceremony and took the train for a trial run.
The railway is both an important collaborative project between China and Africa and one of the flagship projects of pragmatic cooperation between China and Nigeria. Connecting Lagos, Africa’s largest city with Ibadan, a major industrial city of Nigeria, it includes a 157-kilometer main line and a 7-kilometer branch line, and adopts modern railway standards, with a design speed of 150 km/h.
As a major component of Nigeria’s national railway network planning and the regional railway network of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the operation of Lagos-Ibadan railway significantly improves the overall traffic condition of southern Nigeria and provided local residents with convenient and comfortable means of travel. It also unblocks the main artery of Nigeria’s economic development to realize port-road connectivity, and hence facilitates import and export and the flow of goods and promotes the development of export-oriented economy of areas along the railway.
As one of the major collaborative projects between China and Nigeria, Lagos-Ibadan railway will further promote the Belt and Road Initiative in West Africa, and help take Nigeria’s social and economic development as well as China-Nigeria cultural and people-to-people exchanges to a higher level.