By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
Despite a warning from the World Bank that Kenya’s future debt service payment will hit a higher notch in three years, the government is in the process of obtaining a $3.68 billion loan to complete the third phase of the standard gauge railway.
There exists smooth transportation of both people and cargo from the capital to the coastal part of the country since the completion Mombasa-Nairobi standard railway gauge in 2017. An eight hour journey has been reduced to four and a half hours. The project cost taxpayers $3.27 billion.
The construction of the second phase from Nairobi to Naivasha is ongoing and the government expects its completion by the end of the year. The total estimated cost is $1.5 billion
“Both the rail and the special economic zone should be operational by the end of 2019,” said Transport Principal Secretary Paul Maringa.
In a statement released by Kenya Railways Director Philip Mahinga, the two governments are negotiating for the loan to facilitate the construction of Nairobi- Malaba route. He also disclosed that they are also holding talks to finance system that ensure safe ferrying of passengers, goods and equipment.
“The movement of trains from Mombasa to western Kenya needs to be secure from terrorists and other challenges. We ask the Chinese to support us in this area,” reiterated Mr. Mahinga.
According to China’s charge d’affaires Li Xuhang, the amount would be in the form of concessional and hard loans.
Chinese involvement in Africa has drawn criticism from the west. The latter had claimed China has a hidden agenda of plunging Africa into debt crisis.
Kenya is one of the five most indebted countries to China in Africa according to China Africa Research Initiative data. Others are South Africa, Angola, Ethiopia and Ghana.