Mining may get a bad press in Africa, but there’s no denying the potential – and it’s importance. Nearly one quarter of the continent’s GDP is now based on extractive resources, the highest ratio among all regions, and between 2000 and 2008 alone, the value created from natural resources in Africa rose from $39.2bn to $240bn.

Yet this is all achieved despite a huge deficit in infrastructure, especially in rail. So a new Grindrod rail network deal in Zambia should be good news – if it can be delivered. Read more

The railway system in India has fascinated and frustrated its users since Victorian times. Nowadays, the Delhi Metro is touted as a beacon of success in a nation that struggles badly to develop modern infrastructure. The FT’s Amy Kazmin examines whether other cities will be able to copy that success with their own urban transport projects.

The railway linking Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, to Kano, the country’s second largest city, has reopened after more than 10 years thanks to Chinese loans and investment. Xan Rice, the FT’s West Africa correspondent, makes the 31-hour journey and asks whether the train line is a sign of progress in Africa’s second biggest economy.

Journalists gathers beside the high speed train of the new 2,298-kilometre (1,425-mile) line between Beijing and Guangzhou as it waits to start off in Beijing on December 26, 2012.

From 21 hours to 8: Beijing to Guangzhou

China’s infrastructure development hit another milestone on Wednesday with the full opening of the world’s longest high speed rail line.

Connecting Beijing with Guangzhou at speeds of over 300kph, the 2,298-km route halves travel time between the two cities to less than 10 hours. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

Russian rail assets are changing hands at high speed as the government relinquishes its grip on the sector and new, privately-owned players compete for ownership of railcar fleets.

Sistema, an oil to telecoms, retail and healthcare conglomerate, has thrown its hat in the ring by making a whopping Rbs23bn ($742m) bid for SG-Trans, a state-controlled liquefied petroleum gas railcar operator. Read more

Picture public transport in India and you may think of crowds clinging to the outside of a moving train – hardly a model of safety and efficiency.

But park the cliché. The company that runs the Delhi metro is to provide management consulting services to the Indonesian government as it embarks on the first phase of the Jakarta metroRead more

What will 1,500 Turks be doing this year in the desolate space between Weldiya and Awash in Ethiopia? The answer is “building a railroad” following an announcement on Thursday by Turkish construction company Yapi Merkezi.

The contract is part of ambitious plans by the Ethiopian government to build a 5,000 km railway network – and a sign that Chinese companies increasingly face competition from other EM companies in the battle for Africa’s infrastructure. Read more

Georgia plans to take the bold step of listing its state railway monopoly on the London Stock Exchange next month. Georgian Railways, part of the strategic east-west corridor ferrying oil between the Caspian and Black Seas, should be attractive to investors. But it’s also a risky buy. Russia blew up some of its assets during the 2008 war with Georgia that ended in a ceasefire. Read more

You’d think Russian Railways had its work cut out for it at home upgrading and modernising the country’s aged railroads and rolling stock. But the state monopoly is also planning to extend its international reach as far as Indonesia building a $2.5bn railway for south-east Asia’s biggest (and booming) economy. Read more

Vladimir Lisin has won control of Russian rail car operator Freight One, beating out rival tycoon Gennady Timchenko who was favoured to win the auction.

Lisin, Russia’s richest man, won with an opening bid of 125.5bn roubles. ($4.2bn) Read more