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Chinese-built railway to boost economy: Kenyan minister

Updated: Aug 9,2016 9:44 AM     Xinhua

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which is being constructed by Chinese firm, will help boost Kenya’s economy by cutting the cost of transportation and enhancing movement of people and goods, a Kenyan minister said on Aug 8.

Infrastructure and Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said at an infrastructure summit in Nairobi that the $3.6 billion SGR project, which is 88 percent complete, has already contributed 2 percent of growth to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Macharia said that over 27,000 Kenyans have been employed under the SGR project while towns along the new railway line have benefited from booming business.

“SGR will also help boost the efficiency of the Mombasa Port since it will ensure that cargo is transported quicker than using road transport,” he added.

China’s Exim Bank has financed the construction of the 472-km railway linking the coastal city of Mombasa and Kenyan capital, Nairobi. It is expected to be completed next year.

The CS said road infrastructure is also important to the country’s growth, and the government has stepped up investment in that sector.

He disclosed that following the launch of the first batch of 4,000-km low-volume road program by President Uhuru Kenyatta early this year, construction of about 1,600-km road is already underway.

He said another 3,000-km road is also under procurement, bringing the total of rural roads that will be under construction by the end of the year to 7,000 kilometers.

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