Nigeria says Chinese-built rail project 'delayed' by coronavirus
LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigeria's transport minister said Friday, March 6, that completion of a key railway project has been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak as Chinese workers had not returned to the country.
The 150-kilometer (90-mile) railway line linking economic hub Lagos to the city of Ibadan is being built by the state-owned China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
"Most of the Chinese workers who went on their New Year holiday have not yet returned due to the coronavirus and this has delayed the work," minister Rotimi Amaechi told Agence France-Presse.
The $1.5-billion project – preliminarily scheduled to be completed in May – has faced repeated delays since it was first agreed back in 2012. (READ: Pompeo closes Africa tour with warning about China's 'empty promises')
Beijing has ploughed billions of dollars into building infrastructure across Africa as it has bolstered its influence on the continent. (READ: Is Africa starting to choke on China's lending glut?)
Sub-Saharan Africa has so far been relatively lightly impacted by the spread of the virus despite its deep business links with China.
Nigeria – the continent's most populous country – has reported just one case, an Italian man who traveled to Lagos from Milan.
Senegal has registered 4 cases, while South Africa, Cameroon, and Togo also have one case each. – Rappler.com