Congolese official praises B&R Mombasa Nairobi Railway project
Reporter: Chen Ziqi; narrated by Luo Laiming
Terminal station of the Mombasa Nairobi Railway [Photo: from China Plus]
China has been actively boosting cooperation with African countries, especially when it comes to infrastructure projects. The Minister of Spatial Planning and Major Projects of the Congo recently visited the African branch of the China Road Bridge Corporation, which was contracted to build the Mombasa Nairobi Railway. During his trip, he highlighted in an interview that Sino-African cooperation is a win-win program. He also expressed the hope that African countries would join the Belt and Road imitative and eventually benefit from it.
Figures released by the Chinese State Council indicate that China has been the largest trading partner of Africa since 2009. Chinese investment in Africa exceeded $100 billion in 2016, roughly 50 times more than in 2010.
Almost exactly four years ago, on May the 11th, 2014, Chinese premier Li Keqiang signed an agreement on railway construction in Nairobi with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, witnessed by the presidents of three African countries--Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. The agreement included the building of a new railway line connecting the biggest port city in East Africa, Mombasa, and the capital of Kenya, Nairobi. This project marks the largest scale infrastructure project in Kenya since independence.
With a length of 472 kilometers, the Mombasa Nairobi railway cuts passengers' travel times from more than 10 hours to just 4. To date, the railway has carried more than a million passengers and 300,000 tons of cargo since its first journey on May 31, 2017.
Jean-Jacques Bouya, the Minister of Spatial Planning and Major Projects of the Congo was visiting the Kenyan branch of the Chinese company. [Photo: from China Plus]
To find out about the advanced technology and management methods used in building the railway, Jean-Jacques Bouya, the Minister of Spatial Planning and Major Projects of the Congo, visited the Kenyan branch of the Chinese company that was contracted to carry out the project. On March 11, Bouya boarded the Mombasa Nairobi Madaraka Express railway in Nairobi. He called the project an extremely significant one.
"I think it is a really important project. One of the reasons why we visited the construction company was to swap experiences and learn from each other. Today 12 of our people took the train from Nairobi to Mombasa to experience this railway.” Jean-Jacques Bouya says, “It's now planned that the railway will be extended to connect more countries, like Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan. It will be a good transport route, and I hope it will connect Congo and central and west Africa in the future."
Jean-Jacques Bouya says cooperation between China and Kenya is concrete evidence that Sino-African cooperation is considered to be a win-win move.
"All the African countries hope that we can accelerate development. To achieve it, we need to have win-win cooperation with other countries. From our previous experience, I think Sino-African cooperation is exactly this win-win cooperation, and so is the Mombasa Nairobi railway project."
Passengers were waiting to get on board. [Photo: from China Plus]
Jean-Jacques Bouya also says he expects the Beijing summit of the Forum on China-African Cooperation will be a success. He also hopes the Belt and Road imitative will come to Africa soon.
"In September this year, we will hold the Forum on China-African Cooperation in China, and we will discuss some programs related to Chinese and African cooperation. We want to carry out cooperation guided by the Belt and Road initiative proposed by China. We hope this program will come to Africa and connect Africa to the world," Jean-Jacques Bouya says.
[Photo: from China Plus]
More than 4000 job opportunities have been created during the construction of Mombasa Nairobi railway, and some 20,000 local employees are benefited by receiving relevant skill trainings. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi once said during his visit to Kenya in 2016 that Railway lines built by Chinese firms in African countries would become a symbolic icon of China-Africa cooperation.