Mombasa-Nairobi railway wins acclaim from African community
The China-funded Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), expected to be commissioned in June, has been hailed by the African community as an embodiment of thriving China-Africa ties, as well as a successful result of the Belt and Road Initiative.
A locomotive is seen at a construction site of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project, near Sultan Halmud, Kenya, on May 28, 2016. [Photo: Xinhua]
As the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since the country gained independence, the SGR railway will connect the port of Mombasa to Kenya’s capital city Nairobi, replacing a track built a century ago during British colonial rule. The major project will be able to move up to 22 million tons of cargo annually, and is expected to have enormous impact on the local economy.
“The SGR is an extremely vital project that addresses transportation of goods from the port to the interior; it will greatly improve efficiency in trade, and will present other African countries with sound insight on how to modernize their transport systems,” Kelebert Nkomani, the Zimbabwean ambassador and dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Kenya, told Xinhua News Agency.
The project has not only stimulated the local economy, it has also fostered the transfer of technology, which is immensely beneficial to younger Kenyans. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, the project will employ 1,452 Kenyans, and 80 percent of the staff will be Kenyan by the end of 2022.
In addition to creating job opportunities for locals, China has also trained Kenyans on railway construction and maintenance. According to CCTV, seven Kenyan women have been sent to China to study relevant technologies; they are expected to become the first female train conductors in Kenya.
“I believe in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as it will connect all African countries together, in addition to connecting Kenya to the world,” one of the future conductors told CCTV.