jueves, 25 de mayo de 2017

Africa - China (Belt and Road Initiative); Comparing Kenya's old Railway to the new modern SGR

As Kenya moves into the era of modern transport with the new Mega Railway soon to be launched, we take a look back at the century old railway system and what the future holds with the new one.

And now for the next installment of our special series ahead of the launch of Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway. Several Kenyan women train drivers have been sent to China to learn how to operate the SGR. They're back now, and four of them will be driving the train on launch-day. Take a look.

The Standard Gauge Railway links East Africa's biggest port -- Mombasa to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. The official launch takes place on Wednesday the 31st of May. The 400 and 72-kilometre line will reduce travel time from 10-plus hours to less than five. The SGR is the biggest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence in 1963. It's also the first stage in a network that will eventually stretch across much of East Africa -- transforming transport, trade and economic development as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

The Standard Gauge Railway has been widely acclaimed as a signature feature for the East African country

The Managing Director of Kenya Railways, Atanas Maina, says the SGR will bring a range of benefits to the country.

After more than a century, Kenya is betting on a new Chinese-built route to cement its position as the gateway to East Africa. President Uhuru Kenyatta will see off the first cargo train later today, while the first passenger coach will undertake the 4-hundred and 72-kilometere journey on Wednesday. The multibillion-dollar railway links the Kenyan capital Nairobi with the port of Mombasa.

It will reduce the cost of transporting goods inland -- and cut travel time from 10-plus hours to less than five. The next leg of the SGR will connect Nairobi with the Rift Valley town of Naivasha. Authorities have hailed the economic benefits of the train.

China has officially handed over the Standard Gauge Railway to Kenya. President Uhuru Kenyatta has been joined at the Port of Mombasa by dozens of top officials from the Chinese companies that helped build and fund the railway project. The handover ceremony included traditional dancing and singing to mark this momentous occasion.

The railway will eventually link up to the entire East African region. It's been called a potential game changer for Kenya and the region. President Kenyatta is due to leave from the Mombasa station on Wednesday morning to take the inaugural train to Nairobi. Well, our team is in Mombasa and has been getting us more on the SGR, the projects that go with it, and the potential benefits. Here's Ramah Nyang with more.

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