The Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is a standard-gauge railway (SGR) in Kenya that connects the large Indian Ocean city of Mombasa with Nairobi, the country’s capital and largest city. This SGR runs parallel to the narrow-gauge Uganda Railway that was completed in 1901 under British colonial rule. The East African Railway Master Plan provides for the Mombasa–Nairobi SGR to link with other SGRs being built in the East African Community.
Article by : Mohamed Wehliye
At a cost of US$3.6 billion, the SGR is Kenya’s most expensive infrastructure project since independence. The prime contractor was the China Road & Bridge Corporation CRBC, which hired 25,000 Kenyans to work on the railway. CRBC’s holding company, China Communications Construction Company is contracted to operate the line for its first five years
To my perspective this Railway is not so beneficial to the common man but rather its beneficial to China here are the reasons why:
- You build a railway costing Ksh 500b.
- You borrow the money from a Chinese bank.
- You give the contract to a Chinese company.
- The Chinese Bank pays the company in China.
- The Chinese Co. brings everything needed to build the railway from China. Including labour
- When it is time to pay the debt, you collect taxes from Wanjiku in Nyathuna (who never sold cement, steel or even food to the Chinese) and pay the Chinese.
- The Chinese money stayed in China. The tax money also goes to China. China has the 500b it gave you plus more!
- Because u have to pay more money to the Chinese every other year, you tax Wanjiku in Nyathuna even more.
- Wanjiku sees nice roads and railway but has zero money in her pocket & there is nothing the roads or the railway can do to earn her enough money (after tax) to survive
- Then some folks from the same administration tell Wanjiku- Hey, top down ain’t working. We will do it the other way round. Blaming economic theories that have not even been put into practice.
- If you borrowed the Ksh 500b and bought goods and services from Kenyans, benefits would have trickled down. But that didn’t happen.
- So those telling us top-down hasn’t worked and bottom-up will work – are being economical with the truth.
- Govts everywhere have used big infrastructure projects to stimulate their economies & that has worked. Jubilee didn’t do that. They borrowed from the Chinese, the Chinese money didn’t even come in & they are taking out our own money to pay the Chinese. That is Toivonomics!
The project cost of the first phase of the SGR from Mombasa to Nairobi was 90% financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. The remainder of the project cost was funded by the Kenyan government. The $3.23 billion financing from Exim was finalised in May 2014. Exim advanced the loan amount in two subsidized loans of US$1.63 billion each. One of the loans was a foreign aid loan provided on a concessional basis (very low interest rate) while the other was a below market rate preferential export buyer’s credit. A condition imposed by the Kenyan government for the financing was 40% of the total project costs or about 130 billion Kenyan shillings would be spent on local supplies including sand, cement, electric cables, galvanised iron and steel.
A condition by Exim Bank for the loan was to have an operator acceptable to the bank for the initial phase of operations, which led the Kenyan government to reject a planned international tender and to contract the mother company of CRBC.
In January 2020, Business Daily Africa reported that the second loan, related to the Nairobi-Naivasha section of the Kenyan SGR, amounting to $1.482 billion, with a five-year grace period, fell due in January 2021. It attracts an interest rate of approximately 3.34 percent per annum and will be due in 30 semi-annual installments, beginning on 21 January 2021 until 21 July 2035.
Land Allocation controversy
On July 22, 2020, Mohammed Abdalla Swazuri, the chairman of National Land Commission, and Atanas Kariuki Maina, managing director of the Kenya Railways Corporation, were among 18 officials, businesspeople and companies arrested on corruption charges involving land allocation for the $3 billion flagship Nairobi-Mombasa railway
Nairobi Terminus railway station on the Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya – Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway There are nine passenger stations between Mombasa and Nairobi. Each station’s architecture is inspired by local elements. Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway
||Concentric circles and a central tower, representing a ripple in the ocean.
||Porticos are inspired by coconut trees, which are plentiful in the region.
||White and brown stripes, inspired by the stripes of a zebra.
||V-shaped like a person with raised hands, representing the spirit of Harambee. V is also the first letter of Voi.
||Sloping roofs, representing Mount Kilimanjaro and the Chyulu Hills.
||Based on traditional African architecture, with leaves that shade passengers from the sun.
||A closed fist, representing unity.
||Shaped like the region’s hills.
||Two trains with a bridge on top.