, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – The construction of Standard Gauge Railway‘s (SGR) phase one from Mombasa-Nairobi will be complete by December instead of July 2017 as was expected.
Transport Minister James Macharia said the project, the largest in the region, is almost 90 percent complete with the engineers so far covering 400 kilometres of the railway truck.
Speaking during the China Africa Media and Think tanks symposium in Mombasa Macharia said the testing of the railway from Mombasa to Nairobi is expected to be on January next year.
“This is the first time that such massive project is completed in seven months ahead of time because of the commitment and hard work of Chinese partners. It will transform the country economically,” said Macharia
He said the project will impact on the Gross Domestic Product GDP by two percent and will have multiplier effect on other sectors.
The Mombasa-Nairobi phase of the project is estimated to cost Sh327 billion ($3.8 billion). China Exim Bank will provide 90 percent of the financing while the remaining 10 percent is by the government.
The CS announced that so far 2700 youth have benefited directly from the project.
Kenyans have so far supplied goods and services worth Sh50 billion to the SGR project as at February 2016, representing 22 percent of local content to the project.
This is according to Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina who said this is lower than the government target of Sh88 billion, 40 percent of local content to the project.
In March 2016, Kenya and the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) signed an agreement for the construction of the Naivasha-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway line under the Kenya SGR Developments Project valued at Sh549 billion.
The move came after the Cabinet approved signing of the commercial contracts between Kenya Railways and China Communications Construction Company.
The four commercial contracts for the development of the four elements of the project include Naivasha- Kisumu, Kisumu-Malaba, Kisumu Port Development and Modernization and expansion of the Inland Container Depot at Embakasi in Nairobi.
The government has secured a loan from the Government of the Peoples Republic of China to support the development of Phase 2A.
The total contract price for this section is US$ 1.5 billion (Sh150billion).
Kenya is constructing a Standard Gauge Railway between Mombasa and Malaba as part of the East African Community protocol for the development of an SGR connecting the port of Mombasa to Kampala, Kigali and Juba.
The entire network is supposed to be in operation by December 2018 and member states are working towards meeting the timelines of the directive.
Statistic indicates that China and Africa have signed over 243 cooperation agreement valued at $ 50.7 billion.