, MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the
Standard Gauge Railway line, he launched Thursday will accelerate regional economic transformation by reducing transportation costs.
He said that is why Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda signed a Trilateral Agreement to expedite development of the high-speed railway connecting Mombasa to Kampala and onwards to Kigali.
“We intend to make it operational by 2018. There is urgency and we are committed to realize this dream,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta urged everyone involved to keep their eyes on the finish line and the resultant benefits to Kenyans instead of politicizing the project.
The President spoke at Changamwe in Mombasa County during the ground breaking ceremony for the historic milestone project.
He termed as “misguided” rumours that the high-speed railway was meant to isolate Tanzania and undermine the East African Community. Instead, the President said plans are underway to develop a railway line that will link Tanzania via Taveta.
“We will launch the Voi-Taveta-Moshi road next month. We are also planning to rehabilitate the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road to ease movement of people between our two countries,” President Kenyatta said.
The launch marked the commencement of the first phase of the project, comprising the Mombasa-Nairobi segment that covers 500 kilometres.
The Head of State disclosed that designs for the second phase – Nairobi to Malaba, with a branch line for Kisumu – are being developed.
He said South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has also assured that his Government will join the railway development project, extending it to Juba.
The President noted that upon completion of the Standard Gauge Railway, transport costs in the region will reduce by more than 60 percent.
The President said: “This in turn will spur expanded production and reduce the cost of goods and services. This dividend is the prize we seek for
“This is the reason why we must view the substantial investment in the railway as a worthy investment to underpin the regional economic agenda. An economy only ever thrives on the foundation of proper infrastructure,” he added.
Acknowledging the importance of the road network, the President said Kenya will continue to invest in the development of roads. He said the existing metre gauge railway system will also be retained and maintained as it will provide additional capacity in the Northern Corridor.
“Furthermore, this will offer the business community greater choice in transport, and create the competition required to keep the sector vibrant and cost efficient,” the President said.