Kenyan president says 60% of China-financed signature railroad complete

The so-called Standard Gauge Railway Project is Kenya’s biggest investment in infrastructure since it gained independence from Britain in 1963.

KENYAN President Uhuru Kenyatta said 60% of the East African country’s China-financed railroad from the port city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi, is complete.

“We have begun the process of extending it to Naivasha, and eventually to Kisumu and Malaba,” Kenyatta said in a speech at a rally in Nairobi to mark 52 years of self-rule, a copy of which was e-mailed by his office on Saturday. 

The standard gauge railroad runs 378 miles between Mombasa and Nairobi, and is planned to extend to the town Malaba, near neighboring Uganda.

Read: Kenyan firms cry foul as Chinese company building $3.8-bn railway imports cement into country

Kenya has also concluded contracts for 3,000 kilometers (1,865 miles) of paved road, with construction scheduled to start next month, while a further 1,200 kilometers are already being built, according to Kenyatta. 

The president’s administration took power in 2013 and pledged to build roads, railways, ports and increase electricity generation while growing the region’s largest economy by more than 9% a year.

The National Treasury lowered its economic growth forecast for this year to 6% from 6.5% as the economy battles with lower commodity prices and a decline in revenue from tourism that was hurt by repeated militant attacks. 

Kenya has suffered several incidents since it deployed its troops in neighboring Somalia to fight the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants who it blamed for killings and kidnappings of tourists on Kenyan soil.

Garissa University, which militants raided in April, killing at least 147 people, will “open soon,” Kenyatta said. (Bloomberg)


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