Kenya, Uganda seek SGR funding from China

Kenya and Uganda will hold talks with China Exim Bank officials October, which could unlock funding for the Malaba-Kampala standard gauge railway.

Ministers of finance and transport from both countries will meet with China Exim Bank officials in Beijing in October, where Uganda is expected to receive the final funding approval.

It is also understood that executives from China Exim Bank will be in Kampala this month to carry out due diligence on the project’s proposal and contract application before negotiations are completed.

The officials will also visit Nairobi and hold key talks with Kenyan officials over the last connection of the Kenyan SGR, which is key to Uganda as its completion will give viability to the Ugandan project.

They will be considering granting Kenya more financing for to Kisumu only if there is a commitment to reach Malaba.

Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina said that Kenya is yet to submit its funding proposal for the section between Malaba and Kisumu as they need to finish the third phase first.

Last month, President Yoweri Museveni approved a plan to borrow $2.9 billion from the Exim Bank of China for the 273-km Malaba-Kampala section.

If successful, Kampala hopes to start mobilisation in November before an official ground breaking for the project is done before the end of the year.

Construction is expected to take three and a half years.