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China Commits To Fund Kenya, Uganda Joint Railway Project

Kenya’s Road and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure Jimmy Gasore and Uganda’s Minister of State for Works and Transport, Fred Byamukama after signing a joint ministerial statement on the development of the Standard Gauge Railway on May 3, 2024. 

Kenya has secured a commitment from China’s Exim Bank for the funding of the Standard Gauge Railway line from Naivasha to the Uganda border.

Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said that pan-African lender African Development Bank and Kenya’s own Railway Development Fund would complement the Chinese, as Nairobi and Kampala continue to woo more financiers for the cross-border project. Murkomen spoke on the sidelines as President William Ruto hosted his Uganda counterpart Yoweri Museveni on Thursday last week at State House, Nairobi, where the two leaders threw weight behind the joint project, which is meant to go all the way to DR Congo.

The line will be critical in providing regional competitive advantage to improve connectivity with links to Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and DRC. There is pressure on Kenya and Uganda to extend it to the Great Lakes region, especially the resource-rich DRC, as Tanzania pushes on with its electrified line headed in a similar direction on the Central Corridor.

The announcement that Beijing had committee to put the project back on track came a week after Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and South Sudan joined the SGR Cluster Joint Ministerial Committee and committed to engage development partners in seeking funding for the railway.

Uganda is expected to start the construction of the Malaba-Kampala segment in September.

President Museveni said he was happy with the progress made.

“My only resolution is to put it in historical perspective as to why it is happening now and not long ago. Uganda is part of Kenya, Tanzania and DRC,” Museveni said.

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