03 July 2019

The government of Kenya has announced that Chinese
government has agreed to fund 
construction of the Naivasha-Kisumu Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.

Speaking at the Forum for China Africa Cooperation
(Focac) in Beijing, transport CS James Macharia said the Chinese Ministry of
Commerce had approved the required funds, which are now with Exim Bank.

“SGR is a regional project and Kenya being its
entry gate it cannot develop it on its own because it will not be viable in the
fact that 30% of cargo in Mombasa is in transit therefore there’s need to
harmonize SGR with what other countries are doing. The funds are now with Exim
Bank, which is looking into financial dynamics of lending according to the
structure of each country,” said Macharia.

The CS also said that Phase 2A (Nairobi to
Naivasha) is 98% complete and will be operational in September, paving way for
phase 2B Naivasha-Kisumu  project projected to take 4 years to be

CS Macharia explained that the government would
rehabilitate the Naivasha to Malaba metre gauge railway segment, even as it
pursues funding for the remaining section of the SGR line.

“By September we will start receiving goods at Naivasha from Mombasa and Naivasha-Kisumu is not yet ready — even if we start today— we are having to rehabilitate the old railway to Malaba so that while it will take nine hours for goods to arrive in Naivasha, it should take the same time for the goods to reach Uganda, which is our biggest client. Without modernizing it, it might take two days,” said the CS.

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