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Chinese-built SGR to improve Kenya's global standing

By Lucie Morangi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-30 17:41

The cost of constructing the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in Kenya should not overshadow the unprecedented benefits it is expected to bring to the country's economy, a government spokesman said.

Chinese-built SGR to improve Kenya's global standing

Eric Kiraithe, Kenya's government spokesman says the SGR infrastructure is important to economic takeoff. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Eric Kiraithe said today that besides the immediate transport benefits the $3.80 billion modern infrastructure brings in terms of convenience, low-cost fares between Nairobi and Mombasa and positioning the country ahead of many African countries development-wise, the gains will snowball to other sectors, such as tourism and agriculture.

"This is a long-term project that will be enjoyed for the next decade. Just like the century-old meter gauge railway, it is a tangible infrastructure that will not only boost Kenya's export sector but also solidify the ongoing regional integration process," Kiraithe said.

He was speaking in Kenya's second largest city, Mombasa, ahead of the official launch of the Chinese-built infrastructure by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday morning.

"The cost of doing business will definitely be lowered, consequently increasing the region's competitiveness in the global landscape," Kiraithe said.

He disclosed that introductory passenger fares will be announced Wednesday and this will depend on factors such as expected passenger volume and fuel prices.

Kiraithe added that the government, through the ministries of finance, transport and environment, hasbeen heavily involved in accelerating the completion of the SGR built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation.

"But the infrastructure is for Kenyans and has been achieved to improve our living standards," Kiraithe said.

In 2013, President Xi Jinping and his Kenyan counterpart, Kenyatta, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on financing the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR. The Export Import Bank of China financed 80 percent of the project.

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