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Chinese company to complete cross-Kenya railway

By Hou Liqiang (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-09 07:18

Chinese company to complete cross-Kenya railway

A train runs on the Hefei-Fuzhou high-speed rail, dubbed as China's most beautiful rail route. [Shi Jiamin/China Daily]

A major Chinese company has won contracts to complete a rail link running across Kenya-a major project expected to boost connections in East Africa.

China Communications Construction Co has signed a framework agreement with the Kenyan government to build two more sections of the Mombasa-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway.

In September, the company won a contract worth $1.48 billion to extend the Mombasa-Nairobi line by 120 kilometers to Naivasha, a stop between Nairobi, the capital, and Malaba.

Earlier this month, it signed a framework deal to build the remaining section linking Naivasha and Malaba. The cost of this project has not been announced.

The company's subsidiary, China Road and Bridge Corp, is building a railway connecting Mombasa with Nairobi at a cost of $3.8 billion, which is scheduled for completion in 2017.

The 960-km Mombasa-Malaba railway is expected to significantly boost economic growth, regional integration and industrialization.

The latest contract for the Nairobi-Malaba railway went to the Chinese company after President Xi Jinping announced aid and loans worth $60 billion for Africa to help the continent address its top three problems-infrastructure, talent and funding.

Liu Qitao, chairman of China Communications Construction Co, said it secured contracts worth $5 billion and loans for them during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Johannesburg last week.

The projects include railway and hydropower stations. Liu said the company is still seeking finance for contracts worth another $5 billion.

When completed, the Nairobi-Malaba railway will be linked to others in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, forming an East African network, the company said.

The Nairobi-Malaba section will improve transportation in northern Kenya and reduce the cost of cross-border travel, it said.

Inland countries in East Africa currently transport imported goods from Mombasa mainly by road.

The company said in a statement: "The link will promote employment in Kenya and also regional economic development, making Kenya more influential politically and economically in East Africa.

"It will also improve interaction and interworking in East Africa and speed up its integration process."

Up to 30,000 local workers are expected to be employed on construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi section and 5,000 Kenyan workers will be trained in railway-related skills.

CRBC has promised to buy materials, machinery and services needed for the project locally if they are available.

The railway will use Chinese equipment and technical standards.

"The project will further promote industrial cooperation between China and Kenya," the company said.

Related story: Japan set to win Indian bullet train deal, by Agencies

Japan is expected to win the contract to build India's first bullet train, after losing an Indonesian high-speed rail deal to China, the Nikkei business daily reported on Tuesday.

Japan will offer more than 1 trillion yen ($8.11 billion) in loans to construct India's 980 billion rupee ($14.7 billion) fast train, the report said.

In September, Japan lost a bid to build Indonesia's first high-speed train because China provided a $5 billion loan without guarantees.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is due to visit India this week, and his counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to issue a joint statement on the deal, the Nikkei said.

Japan was picked to assess the feasibility of building a 505-kilometer route linking Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Modi's home state Gujarat. Construction of the high-speed link will start in 2017 and will be completed in 2023, the Nikkei reported.


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