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China Built Another Railway in Kenya

On October 16th, a new railway was put into operation in Kenya. China built another railway at a cost of US$1.5 billion. The track connected the capital city Nairobi with Naivasha, a small town in the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted the opening ceremony of the railway.

The railway is an extension of a rail line built earlier to connect Nairobi and Mombasa, the second-largest city in the country. The Nairobi-Mombasa railway, which cost US$3.2 billion, started operating in 2017. China funded and built that as well.

Kenya’s railway development has been part of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. It includes multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects designed to enhance overland and maritime trade between China and Europe, Asia and Africa.

Kenyatta was re-elected in 2017 for anther five-year term. He pledged to develop infrastructure in Kenya, and railway construction has always been his favorite project. The Kenyan government has been borrowing in order to fund infrastructure projects. The national total public debt is currently about 55 percent of GDP. It was at 42 percent when Kenyatta took office in 2013.

Source: Voice of America, October 16, 2019