The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train service. People walk along train tracks in front of a bridge, built for SGR railway trains near the town of Athi River, Kenya. File Photo
The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train service. People walk along train tracks in front of a bridge, built for SGR railway trains near the town of Athi River, Kenya. File Photo

China-built modern railway powering Kenya's modernisation

By Xinhua Time of article published Feb 28, 2020

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NAIROBI - The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train service that marked 1,000 days of seamless operations on Tuesday has fuelled Kenya's economic modernisation, an expert has said.

Sammy Kwinga, a Nairobi-based political scientist said that Kenya's gross domestic product (GDP) and its attractiveness to investors has gone up since the launch of SGR commuter and freight services along the kilometre Mombasa-Nairobi transport corridor.

"Since the SGR passenger and freight service kicked off in 2017, the gross domestic product has risen a whole percentage point to 6.5 percent," Kwinga said in a commentary published by the Daily Nation on Thursday.

He said that a boost to the country's GDP is linked to increased volumes of freight and speedy clearance of cargo from the port of Mombasa to the hinterland where commerce has been revitalised.

He debunked the false narrative from SGR critics who have questioned its commercial viability by pointing at independent studies that shed light on the project's ability to bring faster returns to the Kenyan economy.

A section of Kenyan media this week reported that the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR was over-priced to the detriment of the taxpayer.

He termed as a fallacy the assertions from critics that Kenya's SGR was procured at a higher cost compared to the ones in neighbouring Tanzania and Ethiopia, saying that diverse socio-economic and political environments in each country somehow influenced the cost of the modern railway project.

Kwinga said that the bulk of criticisms directed at the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR are unjustified and mirror a brazen disregard for the transformation it has unleashed in Kenya and beyond.

"The SGR is a towering signature project that will transform the transport, industrial and business environment, trade and cultural relations in east Africa for generations," said Kwinga.

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