The Chinese-built railway linking Kenya’s capital of Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa was officially launched on Wednesday, accelerating the country’s steps on the path toward industrialization and modernization.
As Kenya’s first new railway in a century and the largest infrastructure project since its independence, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) carries hopes and dreams of the Kenyan people for a more prosperous future.
Construction of the railway began in December 2014. With tremendous efforts by both sides, China and Kenya have strived to complete the flagship project in less than three years, which will greatly improve local people’s livelihood by boosting regional trade and deepening integration in East Africa.
The fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation once again proved to the world that China’s Africa policy, featuring sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, is helping African countries improve their capacity of seeking independent and sustainable development, and also leading them onto a road toward prosperity.
The railway is a continuation of the traditional friendship between China and Africa.
In the 1970s, the Chinese government provided an interest-free loan for the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia railway, which has become a monument to China-Africa friendship.
Since then, China has developed a series of railway projects in Africa, including the Lobito-Luau railway in Angola and the Abuja-Kaduna railway in Nigeria. These projects played a positive role in solving the infrastructure bottlenecks of many African countries in their development process.
In order to build the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, Kenya had sought financial support from many countries in vain. While China, a true friend of Africa, has covered 90 percent of the financing with commercial and concessional loans, helping the country overcome the financial problems.
China-Africa cooperation focuses on practical results. The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has not only explored cooperation markets for Chinese enterprises but also created more than 46,000 jobs for the locals. As many as 45,000 Kenyan workers received training.
Meanwhile, the project will result in a 40-percent decline in the cost of cargo transport from Mombasa to Nairobi, and the time taken to transport goods will reduce from the current 48 hours to a maximum of eight hours.
The project is also estimated to be adding 1.5 percentage points to Kenya’s GDP growth, a figure the Kenyan government reckons with.
At present, African countries are working together to promote regional integration, with an aim to speed up industrialization and achieve economic prosperity.