Kenya to open $1bn Chinese-built railway line

The second phase of Kenya’s new railway line, running from the capital Nairobi to Naivasha town, will be opened today for passenger services only.

Cargo services will have to wait for the construction of a dry port, which could take longer than planned after the local Maasai community moved to court to oppose its construction.

The 120km (74 miles) stretch has been built by the China Communications and Construction Company at a cost of 150 billion Kenyan shillings ($1.4bn; £1.10bn)

Passenger services will only be available in four of the 12 stations, The Business Daily newspaper quotes Kenya Railways head Philip Mainga

Its launch lacks the fanfare witnessed at the opening of the first phase running from the coastal city of Mombasa to Nairobi in May 2017 ahead of the elections that year.

The new railway line has cost close to three times the international standard and four times the original estimate. The government explained the reasons for the high cost include the terrain that required many bridges, tunnels and land compensation.

About 80% of the money for the railway came through loans from China.

The initial plan was for the railway to run from the coastal town of Mombasa to the lakeside town of Kisumu, and possible extension to Uganda.

The country will now need to borrow an additional 350 billion Kenyan shillings ($3.3bn) to complete the project.


Staff Reporter

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