President Uhuru Kenyatta has secured an additional $3.59 billion from China at the Belt and Road Forum for the extension of the SGR to Kisumu.
Uhuru secured the amount after holding talks with Chinese President XI Jinping on Monday. The money is reported to have been made available as soon as the two finished meeting.
State House Spokesman Manoa Esipisu said:
“The President wants the railway to reach Kisumu then Malaba especially because of the new port that is being built.”
He added that the President also secured $161 million dollars for the western by-pass whose work is set to begin in the next few weeks.
“This project will complete the missing links and is part of the wider plan to decongest Nairobi,” said Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia who accompanied Uhuru to Beijing for the Belt and Road Forum. The western bypass will run from Ruiru to Nakuru-Nairobi highway.
The Belt and Road Forum Initiative
The President asked China to ensure a win-win situation as Kenya formally joined the new Sh15 trillion Belt and Road Forum infrastructure initiative.
He said Kenya agreed to join the China initiative because both countries share a deep historical bond which started in the 15th Century. This was after the visit by senior China leader Admiral Zheng to the Kenyan Coast.
Uhuru said Kenya and Africa will benefit more if China transfers skills and set up manufacturing companies in the continent. He said this will be better than the donor providing cash and using its nationals for the massive projects.
“It will be a win-win situation when our people have the skills, assets and financing necessary to participate in the development projects.”
“This will secure the good jobs we all want and protect us all from the burden of imprudent debt.”
“The Belt and Road initiative gives our continent the opportunity to make a paradigm shift. Post-colonial Africa has been stuck in a rut.”
The continent, he said, must move from being mere consumers of imports of finished products to exporters of basic commodities and materials.
“This will lead to quality jobs and prosperity for millions of our youth,” he said. “We will all win when our people have access to the technology they need to add value to our continent’s wealth of resources.”
He added that such value addition is key to the fair and unimpeded trade that benefits all the nations involved in the venture.