China to Fund Phase 3 of SGR Line to Kisumu
Kenya is seeking an additional KShs 370 billion ($3.59 billion) Chinese loan to extend the standard gauge railway (SGR) from Naivasha to Kisumu. The money will finance the construction of the third phase of the SGR, a 270km-line between Naivasha and Kisumu.
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The funding will be made available immediately.
“The funding request will undergo normal procedure of approval and Premier Li (Keqiang) has promised to give it the adequate consideration and urgency it deserves,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu told reporters in Beijing, where the President has been attending a trade conference.
The additional funding implies that each kilometre of the third phase of SGR will cost KShs 1.37 billion, almost twice the KShs 693 million per kilometre rate for the Mombasa-Nairobi line.
Premier Keqiang said China will support Kenya with the technological requirements for the surveillance of the route. This will be done as China also enhances the capacity of Kenyans to manage the role.
The Premier also said that China is keen to see that the SGR is not only completed successfully but that it also runs smoothly.
Mr Esipisu appeared to play down the economic viability of the project, saying the completion of the Naivasha-Kisumu section would influence neighbours to take on the project.
The Transport ministry says the SGR train tariffs will adequately cover the cost of the loan, operating profit and public revenue without burdening the users.
The ministry says the trains will charge as low as half of the current bus fare for the third-class package.
President Xi said China will be represented at the launch of the SGR by a high level delegation led by a special envoy and two ministers.