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Setting in train Africa's railways

By Zhao Jian | China Daily | Updated: 2014-05-13 07:26

China and Kenya signed a co-financing deal on Sunday to build a railway linking Nairobi to Mombasa, a critical infrastructure project to boost regional trade and deepen integration in East Africa. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said interconnection in East Africa and in Africa at large will fundamentally boost economic development of African countries.

Several Chinese media outlets have erroneously reported that Li had talked about building high-speed railways in Africa. The fact is that, in none of the speeches the premier delivered in the four African countries did he say anything about building high-speed railways. He only said that China's railways and airlines planes are of high quality, a research and development center for high-speed railway could be set up in Africa, and China had just started work on an electrified (not high-speed) railway connecting Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Djibouti.

China, no doubt, has the expertise in high-speed railways, but that doesn't necessarily mean it should build high-speed railways in African countries. Instead, it should concentrate on helping African countries build and operate normal-speed railways.

Setting in train Africa's railways

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