The mega US$ 14bn Standard Gauge Railway project in Kenya, which is the country’s most ambitious development is on the road to completion.
According to reports from the International Railway Journal, 75% of civil works have now been completed and the first Mombasa-Nairobi stretch will be completed by June 2017. The railway is designed to reach Naivasha town and it is anticipated to shorten the journey between the two cities from the current 12 hours to a four hours difference. Passenger trains are expected to travel at 120km/h while freight trains are expected to be able to carry 25 million tonnes per year.
East Africa Community is the one managing the railway project and is projected to link Mombasa with other major cities in East African such as Kampala, in Uganda, and Juba, in South Sudan.
The new standard gauge railway is being constructed by the state-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and 90% of the ongoing development of the Mombasa-Nairobi section is being fully financed by The Export-Import Bank of China and the hope is that the new construction will reduce congestion on the crowded road network Kenya and promote tourism and also enhance the economy of the country.
East Africa Community is an intergovernmental organization consisting of six partner nations; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda South Sudan and Tanzania which aims to create a politically united and secure East Africa.
According to the audit firm Deloitte, in Africa more than US$ 131bn was spent on transportation construction in 2015 and by 2025, US$ 200bn is projected to be spent on the roads and another US$ 7bn on airports in Africa.
China has been investing in other projects in Africa like the mega port in Kenya’s coast and a manufacturing zone in Ethiopia. This SGR project is the most expensive of a series of construction projects in Africa.