China Signs Deal with East African Leaders to Build New Railroad

Regional leaders and visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang attended the signing ceremony
Regional leaders and visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang attended the signing ceremony

Formal agreements for plans to build a new railway line in East Africa with Chinese help have been signed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

It is to run from Mombasa to Nairobi and will extend eventually via Uganda to Rwanda and South Sudan.

In Kenya, the line is to replace a narrow-gauge track built more than 100 years ago during British colonial rule.

China is to finance 90% of the cost of the first stage, put at $3.8bn, with work carried out by a Chinese firm.

Construction work on the standard gauge line is expected to start in October this year, and the 610 km (380-mile) stretch from the coast to Nairobi is due to be finished in early 2018.

“The costs of moving our people and our goods… across our borders will fall sharply,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told a news conference after the signing.

Mr Kenyatta has previously said the new link should cut the cost of sending a tonne of freight one kilometre from 20 US cents to eight, Reuters news agency reported.

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SOURCE: BBC News

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