Kenya’s new railway so far, a new railway is being built in Kenya, the first section will connect seaside city Mombasa to Naivasha. This initial section of the railway should be completed by 2017, but its part of a much wider project that will eventually link Mombasa with other major east African cities such as Kampala in Uganda.
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Originally planned to link Mombasa and Nairobi, the decision was made to extend the line to the market town of Naivasha in 2015, and 75% of civil works have reportedly been completed. This first Mombasa-Nairobi stretch will be completed by June 2017.
It is hoped that the track will shorten the journey between the two cities from 12 hours to four hours. Passenger trains will travel at 120km/h, and freight trains will be able to carry 25 million tonnes per year, according to the International Railway Journal.
Eventually, the East Africa Railway Masterplan will link Mombasa with other major east African cities such as Kampala, in Uganda, and Juba, in South Sudan.
Investment from China
The East Africa Railway Masterplan is being managed by the East Africa Community; an intergovernmental organization of six partner states; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, which aims to create a politically united and secure East Africa.
Management consulting firm CPCS advised the East Africa Community on the financial, legal and economic impact of the project.
The railway is being built by the state-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), 90% of the ongoing development of the Mombasa-Nairobi section is being financed by The Export-Import Bank of China.
more than $131 billion was spent on transportation construction on the continent in 2015; by 2025, $200 billion is expected to be spent on the continent’s roads, and another $7 billion dollars on African airports.
Access all areas – Trade and partnership deals between African countries and China have been steadily increasing in recent years. Chinese investment is already the leading source of infrastructure spending in Africa, and through China’s import-export bank projects that investment will reach $1 trillion by 2025.
Trade has become increasingly diverse, as typified by recent deals to export elephants from Zimbabwe to China. President Robert Mugabe‘s government sold 24 elephants to Chinese zoos in 2015, and despite protests from animal welfare groups, the figure will climb again this year.
Wildlife sanctuary controversy
Controversy has not been absent, however, from the new railway: initially, the proposed route would cut into Nairobi’s wildlife sanctuary.
In November 2013, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta laid the foundation stone for the construction, telling local media; “The project will define my legacy as president of Kenya. What we are doing here today will most definitely transform… not only Kenya but the whole eastern African region.”
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