Africa’s $30 Billion Rail Transition Holds Ticket for Trade

On a sweltering Kenyan morning on the outskirts of a national wildlife park, Chinese and local employees steer a large concrete rail-bridge structure onto towering support piers. In the distance, trucks filled with delivery containers grumble down a highway.


The bridge at Voi, northwest of the port of Mombasa, is the latest construct frontline for the first 327 billion-shilling ($3.2 billion) stretch of an ambitious railway project to connect the East African nation with landlocked next-door neighbors consisting of Rwanda as well as Uganda. As a much faster alternate to trucks congesting the only road running inland to the capital, the Chinese-built and also -funded standard-gauge railway, called the SGR, has the prospective to change trade in the area.



Written by PH

One Comment

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  1. A very interesting read, indeed.

    But I remember as a youngster when the Chinese government of Mao & Choa En Lai built the TransAfrica Railway in solidarity with an emergent post – colonial Africa.
    This was during the ferment of the cold war with African being a pawn and a pasty in that political ideology..
    Poor Africans. It was drummed into some of their leaders that the Chinese were up to no good and their goods and products were shoddy. They bought into that deception .
    The result? The railway was not maintained and allowed to deteriorate to the detriment of the economies of those railways- connected countries.

    But here we are, half a century later, another railway is being constructed,at maybe, a thousand times the cost of the original one.
    I just hope that after completion it will have a budget for maintenance to maintain it better the ” soludarity railway.”
    My only lament, echoing Prof Lumumba, of Kenya, is that ” in Africa, we have civil engineers, who can’t build roads, it’s the Chinese who are building our roads,” in this instance, our railways.

    But, great infrastructure investment, nonetheless.
    Kudos to Africa of the tomorrows.

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