China Railway inks $16.3b construction contract with Nigeria

A train employee looks out from an entrance of a CRH (China Railway High-speed) Harmony bullet train at Zhengzhou East Railway Station in Zhengzhou, Henan province on Feb 17, 2014. China Railway Construction Corp has signed a US$13.1 billion (S$16.3
A train employee looks out from an entrance of a CRH (China Railway High-speed) Harmony bullet train at Zhengzhou East Railway Station in Zhengzhou, Henan province on Feb 17, 2014. China Railway Construction Corp has signed a US$13.1 billion (S$16.3 billion) deal to build a high-speed railway in Nigeria, as China pushes to develop fast rail and other infrastructure projects on the continent. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NIGERIA/HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Railway Construction Corp has signed a US$13.1 billion (S$16.3 billion) deal to build a high-speed railway in Nigeria, as China's pushes to develop fast rail and other infrastructure projects on the continent.

China Railway unit China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation signed the contract with the Nigerian government on Monday, according to a filing to the Hong Kong bourse on Tuesday evening.

Under the contract, the state-backed Chinese company will build a railway with a single track length of 1,385 kilometres (860 miles) and a speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The filing gave no details about where the line would be built.

The announcement came as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during a visit to Ethiopia, unveiled extra aid for Africa totalling at least US$12 billion and offered to share advance technology with the continent to help with development of high-speed rail, state media reported.

It was not immediately clear if the China Railway deal was linked to the new aid package.

The contract amount represents about 13.8 per cent of China Railway Construction's 2013 operating revenue under Chinese accounting standards, the listed company said.

China has voiced strong support for Africa's infrastructure development - despite criticism that some Chinese projects do not generate work for locals - as part of what Beijing says is an aim to build a longer-term partnership with the continent.