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Kenyan railway a symbol of improved prosperity

Pan Zhongming
Updated: Aug 12,2016 9:55 AM     China Daily

Zhang Qingchun, a Chinese engineer, assists Kenyan workers at a construction site for the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway in April.[Photo/Xinhua]

The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, due to be put into operation next year, will adopt Chinese standards and use Chinese equipment, making it one of the best such lines in the world, a top Chinese official said on August 10.

“If the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, constructed in the 1970s by China, is a railway of friendship, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is more than that,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said of the 472-kilometer railway costing $3.8 billion.

“It is a railway of win-win cooperation, prosperity, ecological protection and common development,” Wang said in Nairobi, Kenya, during his visit to the country.

The project has so far created more than 40,000 jobs, trained 20,000 technical professionals and contributed about 1.5 percent to Kenya’s GDP growth. The Import-Export Bank of China is providing 90 percent of the funding.

The railway has 14 passageways along its routes for wildlife to cross. Even a giraffe can easily pass through without bending its neck.

“The design has been done in such a way that will accommodate everybody: the human, the animal and even vehicles that want to cross the railway,” said Johnson Matu, the project coordinator with TAE Consortium. “So, as you see, along the parks we have built bridges which can facilitate even the passage of the tallest animal, the giraffe, the elephant and all that.”

To date, about 97 percent of civil work, 95 percent of bridge substructures and 98 percent of the culverts have been completed. Currently, more than 75 percent of the track has been laid and 68 percent of T-beams have been erected.

In his meeting with Wang, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the country is willing to make the China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Johannesburg a new starting point, push forward the early completion and operation of the railway and link up the railways in East Africa to realize win-win cooperation between China, Kenya and East African countries.

During his visit, Wang also held talks with Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs.

Wang said China-Kenya relations have entered a period fast-track development.

The countries have worked out a cooperative framework in industrialization and infrastructure construction, agriculture, environmental protection, security, police and international and regional affairs, he said.

Kenya is willing to join efforts with China to strengthen cooperation in special economic zones, modern agriculture, energy and environmental protection, technical professionals and technology training, Mohamed said.

Wang stressed that China has always believed that the keys to Africa’s problems are in the hands of African people.

“China will support the African people to resolve the issues in an African way,” he said. “We believe African people have the wisdom and ability to solve their own problems.”

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