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Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi hoping to clinch more African projects
Istanbul-based construction firm Yapi Merkezi is hoping that the $3-billion railway projects it won in Tanzania and Ethiopia will show African nations that it can be a “trusted development partner.”
In early February this year, its joint venture with Portugal’s Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção África, S.A. was selected by Tanzania’s state-run railway firm Reli Assets Holding Company Ltd (RAHCO) to build the first 250-kilometre stretch of the country’s 2,561-kilometre Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) project. Work to connect Dar es Salaam to Morogoro began four months ago after President John Magufuli attended the ground-laying ceremony in the commercial port on April 12. Construction of this $1.2 billion rail-line section is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
In June 2012, the company was awarded a $1.7 billion contract to build the 389-kilometre railway line linking Awash to Weldiya via Kombolcha in Ethiopia, the second phase of a three-phase project.
Talking about the Tanzanian and Ethiopian projects, Yapi Merkezi Financial Affairs Manager Murat Öcal stressed that these ventures would provide “a good reference for other African countries who will build similar projects – and we will be a trusted development partner of Africa.”
The Turkish company had previously worked on Line 1 of the Casablanca light-rail network which opened in December 2012 and won a contract to build Line 2 just over a year ago. It was also involved in the construction of the Sidi Bel Abbes and Setif tramway lines in Algeria.
Öcal told news agency Anadolu Ajansi that the Moroccan and Algerian successful ventures proved that Yapi Merkezi was competent to undertake such projects since these “were completed on a high note, and showcased our competence and Turkish technological advancement.”
President Magufuli also announced that he had asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Tanzania in late January for a loan from state-owned Export Credit Bank of Turkey to assist with the financing of the second phase of the SGR line. This section will connect Morogoro to Dodoma.
Yapi Merkezi is, of course, hoping to be selected to complete the second stretch of the SGR line but it knows that it will face stiff competition from China.
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