Business / Industries

Kenya in talks with Chinese firm over extension of new railway line

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-28 14:21

NAIROBI - Kenya's government has started talks with a Chinese company, which is building a standard gauge railway line in the country, about an extension of the line to Naivasha, a market town and planned industrial center lying northwest of the capital Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said he expects a 120-kilometer extension to reach special industrial zones to be set up in Naivasha, which is home to the Olkaria geothermal power plant.

The announcement of the proposal came after his visit to the construction site of the railway line in the coastal town of Voi on Tuesday.

Being the country's biggest infrastructure project since its independence in 1964, the railway line will link Nairobi with the port city of Mombasa, and is expected to eventually extend across East Africa to countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

"We must do everything in our power to ensure that the Standard Gauge Railway is delivered on time and on budget... There must be no laxity in terms of delivering what is one of our most transformational projects," the president said in a statement on Wednesday.

Speaking of the industrial zones near Olkaria in plan, he said the government will provide subsidized power tariffs to attract investors.

Plans to set up industrial parks along the route of the standard gauge railway is ongoing as the ministry of industrialization has identified land for such parks in regions like Mariakani, Voi, Naivasha, Athi River and Emali.

Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary, Aden Mohamed, revealed that his ministry has been in talks with land owners near the railway stations and he expects that acquisition can be completed within the next financial year.

The railway line, being built by China Road and Bridge Corporation, is expected to play an important role in improving Kenya's transport system, boosting regional economy and deepening integration in East Africa.

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