INTERNATIONAL – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Wednesday launch phase 2A of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) linking the capital Nairobi to the resort town of Naivasha, a regional administrator said on Monday.
Mbogo Mathioya, Naivasha sub-county commissioner, said the launch of the 120 kilometers modern railway will coincide with that of Internal Container Depot at a dry port near Naivasha town.
"The SGR extension to Naivasha is now complete and on Wednesday the Head of State will officially launch it by opening all the stations along the route," said Mathioya.
"The president will also use the occasion to launch the Internal Container Depot which will be located around the 1,000 acres gazetted for the industrial park," he added. He said that contentious issues around compensation of landowners where the dry port will be established are being addressed by the government.
Traders said they anticipate a "windfall" after the launch of Phase 2A of SGR that is expected to stimulate investments in the Kenyan hinterland.
James Mugo, a shop owner, said that the SGR will be a game-changer thanks to the seamless movement of bulk cargo and passengers across the vast plains of northwestern parts of Kenya.
"We are anticipating brisk business upon the launch of phase 2A of SGR. Transporting goods from Nairobi to Naivasha and other rural towns will be faster and cheaper," said Mugo.
"Already, new investors have promised to start incoming generating activities that will benefit local youth. We look forward to revival of rural commerce once SGR phase 2A is operational," he added.
Nahashon Ole Kipenchu, a cattle keeper said that both pastoralists and small scale farmers are optimistic the extended modern railway will revitalize the rural economy through enhanced movement of industrial goods.
"It will be possible for us farmers and cattle keepers to transport our produce to the nearest markets using the SGR," said Kipenchu. "We expect more businesses to spring up in rural towns once the SGR is launched," he added.