Kenyans anticipate huge benefits from China-funded railway project
17 April 2016, 15:30
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The Chinese funded Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project, whose implementation has reached a critical phase, will not only transform the Kenyan economy, but also unleash massive benefits to local people.
Kenyan technicians working for the mega infrastructure project, who spoke to Xinhua on Thursday, said it will be a game changer in transportation, human interactions and enterprises.
Eric Gitobu, a 25-year-old engineer with China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) that is implementing the SGR project, painted a rosy future for Kenya and its citizens once the modern railway line is completed in June 2017.
"The SGR project will definitely have a positive impact on our economy. It will ease movement of people and goods; promote trade across the borders and enhance skills transfer," Gitobu remarked.
A diploma holder in civil engineering from a government technical institute, Gitobu was hired by CRBC in December 2015 to work in Section One of the SGR project in the coastal city of Mombasa.
His job description revolves around supervising Kenyan employees alongside strategy and planning.
Section One of the SGR project is linked to the port of Mombasa whose expansion is being undertaken by CRBC.
Gitobu noted both the port of Mombasa and the modern railway will convert Kenya into a transport and manufacturing hub.
"As a country, we are heading in the right direction and soon we will be a force to reckon with in areas of maritime and railway transport. I can foresee revival of regional trade and new jobs for local people once the SGR project and port expansion is completed," Gitobu told Xinhua.
He noted that local communities in the coast and lower eastern parts of Kenya have started feeling the impact of the SGR project.
"New businesses have mushroomed along the route where SGR passes while the local youth have benefited from jobs," said Gitobu, adding that skills transfer has reached a peak as the implementation of the SGR project gathers steam
Chinese expatriates working for the SGR project were optimistic it will strengthen centuries-old ties with Kenya and unleash new benefits to local people.
Cao Xugang, the Deputy Manager of Section One of the SGR project, said Kenya's bilateral cooperation with China will improve upon completion of the modern railway project.
"I expect the living standards of Kenyans to improve with the completion of the SGR project. It will promote efficient and faster movement of people and cargo," Cao remarked.
He added that implementation of the eleven sections of the SGR project has gone overdrive.
The SGR project will reduce the number of hours spent while traveling from Nairobi to Mombasa by half.
Cao said the Kenyan economy will flourish thanks to efficient, fast and reliable mode of transport from the port city of Mombasa to the hinterland.
"Transportation of goods will be made easier and this is good for the Kenyan and regional economy," said Cao, adding that both Kenyan and Chinese workers at the SGR project are yearning to participate in the inaugural ride from Mombasa to Nairobi.
Kenya has benefited from transfer of advanced railway technology since the implementation of the SGR project kicked off.
The East African nation's youth have a positive view about this mega infrastructure project that will inch the country closer to achieving middle income status.
Esther Wanjiku, a 28-year-old civil engineer working for Section One of the SGR project, said Kenya's socio-economic renewal will accelerate upon completion of the Chinese funded railway network.
During an interview with Xinhua, Wanjiku noted that Kenyan youth have gained technical skills that will be useful in future thanks to the SGR project.
"Our country has benefited from advanced railway technology from China and we are likely to realize rapid economic growth when the Standard Gauge Railway commence operations," Wanjiku remarked, noting that the SGR project will open the Kenyan hinterland to trade and investments.