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Chinese-built modern railway unleashes huge benefits in Kenya: official

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-02-27 05:18
NAIROBI -- The construction of a modern railway line connecting Kenya and its East African neighbors has unleashed multiple benefits that include jobs creation, technology transfer and vital lessons on ecological protection, a senior official said on Friday

Atanas Maina, Managing Director of Kenya Railways Corporation, told Xinhua during an exclusive interview in Nairobi that Chinese expertise in railway technology will have a durable impact on the Kenyan society and ecosystems.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has fast-tracked the implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project that is expected to transform regional economies.

Maina hailed Chinese expertise in railway technology alongside ecological consciousness that have stood out as the construction of the high speed railway enters homestretch.

"The quality of work, workmanship and the speed at which the SGR project is being undertaken is commendable. We have never seen anything like this before," Maina said.

It is anticipated the modern railway line will be completed mid next year. Besides creating an estimated 25,000 jobs for Kenyans, the SGR project has opened new opportunities for entrepreneurs dealing with construction material.

Maina noted that skills transfer has been the most pronounced benefit as the implementation of SGR project gathers steam.

"Those who have interacted with individuals on the ground will attest that under this arrangement there has been a lot of technology transfer," Maina said, adding that previously unskilled workers are currently up to speed thanks to intensive training.

He revealed that it took less than one year for unskilled Kenyan workers to master the basics in railway construction.

"We look forward to the possibility of replacing some of the Chinese experts as we embark on other phases of the SGR project since we have an abundance of skilled work force," said Maina.

He added that in the last decade, Chinese expertise in development of transport infrastructure and real estate has won admiration from Kenyans, noting that the implementation of the SGR project has not interfered with the health of iconic wildlife and plant species in the Kenyan countryside.

"About 150km of the SGR project pass through Tsavo and Nairobi National Parks, but the contractor developed underpasses to ensure animal migration routes are not disrupted," Maina told Xinhua.

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