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- Biden described a planned railway stretching from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans.
- Biden was referring to the Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor, which involves the Indian and Atlantic oceans. Biden declared U.S. support for the project at the G7 conference in May.
- This plan is designed to transport metals and minerals used to produce electric vehicles and wind turbines.
President Joe Biden may have confused dinner guests of the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy group, when he mentioned plans to build a transcontinental railway over an ocean.
BIDEN: "We have plans to build a railroad from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean" pic.twitter.com/p3yvuaupsF— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 15, 2023
"We have plans to build a railroad from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean," Biden said at the league’s June 14 dinner. "I’m going off script, I’m going to get in trouble."
Biden maybe should have stuck to the script. Biden’s Republican critics capitalized on his comments, using them as fodder for cross-oceanic rail maps and images of underwater train cars.
Work is ongoing constructing Joe Biden's 8,000 mile long 'ocean train' pic.twitter.com/0UoKYZ4Wzx— GOP (@GOP) June 15, 2023
The plan Biden referred to would develop a railroad that may eventually link ports on the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, not the Pacific.
The U.S. plans to spend $250 million to support the Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor, a rail line spanning from the Lobito Port in Angola, which touches the Atlantic Ocean, through Zambia, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When we asked the White House about Biden’s claim, the press office told us Biden had this railroad project in mind.
Further investment in the rail line would allow for its eventual expansion into Tanzania, connecting ports on the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Though it’s unknown where this additional financing would come from, the White House said in a fact sheet that this is the project’s ultimate goal.
The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, a joint collaboration between G7 countries, oversees contributions to infrastructure initiatives in developing countries.
Biden was talking about the project in the context of climate change.
Products from mines along the Lobito Corridor rely heavily on road transportation to reach four major African ports across the continent’s southern half. The export business is costly, and this project would redirect the majority of mine products to a single port in Angola.
Ivanhoe Mines operates one of the largest mines affected by the project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to the African Development Bank Group, the Lobito Corridor’s development would help key mines in Zambia and the DRC reduce costs as they move materials more efficiently to the Lobito Port in Angola.
The metals and minerals mined along the proposed railway are used to produce electric vehicles and wind turbines, Bloomberg News reported. The metals are necessary for transitioning the planet towards renewable energy sources, Robert Friedland, a co-chairman at Ivanhoe Mines, said in a press release.
African nations have an additional interest in the railway’s development, because it is expected to boost trade and help people move across the continent. The African Development Bank Group says the corridor’s development will bring jobs to the area, enable human transportation and strengthen the regional agricultural sector.
Though a train across the world’s largest ocean would certainly be a marvel, there is no Indian Ocean-Pacific Ocean train line happening soon. The oceans are separated by Australia, several Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and their surrounding seas.
We rate Biden’s comment False.
Statement from White House press office, obtained June 15, 2023
White House Briefing Room, Remarks by President Biden at the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment Meeting, May 20, 2023
White House Briefing Room, FACT SHEET: Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment at the G7 Summit, May 20, 2023
Mining Review Africa, United States looks to invest in Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor, May 24, 2023
Bloomberg, Lobito Corridor Management to Facilitate Angola, Zambia, Congo Trade, January 31, 2023
Southern African Research and Documentation Centre, Lobito Corridor…. three SADC countries sign pact to facilitate trade, February 1, 2023
African Development Bank, Multinational - Lobito Corridor Trade Facilitation Project, September 24, 2019
GOP, Tweet, June 15, 2023
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