Kenya launches construction of $1.5bn railway line

Kenya launches construction of $1.5bn railway line

Oct 21, 2016: Kenya launched construction of a $1.5billion-railway project that will connect the capital to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, the country's presidency said.

The new Chinese-financed line being built by China Road and Bridge Corporation is an extension of a cross-country railway being constructed between the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa and the capital Nairobi.

That link is expected to reach Nairobi next year and open up to commercial services in mid-2017. "This will not only expand our factories but also create more jobs for our people," President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.

The two projects make up the first stage in a scheme that aims to extend to Uganda and other land-locked countries. The goal is to cut the cost of transport and boost trade, by replacing a slower, narrow-gauge line.The project adds to a swathe of infrastructure deals in Africa won by Chinese firms.

China has replaced the US and Europe as the main trading partner for many African countries and has bankrolled projects from infrastructure to energy as part of its growing commercial and diplomatic clout on a continent with some of the fastest-growing economies.

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan have ratified a plan for a railway connecting Mombasa to Kampala, Kigali and Juba.

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