Nairobi, 11 May 2014
President Kagame today joined President Kenyatta, President Museveni, President Salva Kiir and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Kenya’s capital Nairobi to witness the signing ceremony of the first phase of the Standard Gauge Railway agreement with China.
The railway project is expected to change the region’s economic landscape by providing efficient and cost effective rail transport for both freight and passengers. It is intended to reduce the cost of doing business by reducing the cost of transport among the countries served by the Northern Corridor.
Passenger trains will have a speed of 120 kilometers per hour while those for freight will be designed to move at 80 kilometers an hour. It will take passengers four hours and 30 minutes to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi while freight will take eight hours.
The signing also included an Institutional Framework based on the Northern Integration Corridor whereby EAC countries will concurrently build railway portions in their own countries that will connect with Kenya.
President Kenyatta said Kenya would continue making development strides in partnership with dependable friends:
“We have shown our ambition. We have rejected the mediocrity of simply sticking with what we have. We have found partners of equal determination. It now falls to us to complete the project as rapidly as we know we can.”
The project is expected to kick off on 1 October and take 42 months to complete. 90 per cent of the financing will come from China Exim Bank while the remaining 10 per cent from the Government of Kenya.
The Chinese Premier who has been on a three-day State Visit to Kenya, said closer partnership between Africa and China with a combined population of more than 2.4 billion people was more than cooperation on single projects but was “a communication linking the hearts and minds of people”.
The agreements for the construction and financing of the project were signed by Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet secretary, Henry Rotich and the president of China Exim Bank Li Ruogu.