As the Kenyan administration considers extending the SGR to Malaba in order to establish a connection with Uganda, all eyes are currently focused on President William Ruto.
This is because the building of the Mombasa-Nairobi line and the following extension to the Suswa (Naivasha) SGR projects continue to be questioned by the public as to whether they represented good value for money. One of the Jubilee government’s megaprojects, SGR was designed to hasten economic growth.
The government claims that the SGR project was built for a total cost of $3.2 billion (Sh360 billion); or, at the current currency rate, Sh453.3 billion. The majority of this money was borrowed from the Exim Bank of China in May 2014.
During the campaign last year, one of the key concerns was making the SGR contract public. After attaining power, the Kenya Kwanza team broke its vow to provide all of the contract’s terms to the public.
According to the most recent information, the government intends to invest at least Sh2.1 trillion in the 2027 completion of two projects: the expansion of the railway line from Suswa to Malaba and a separate line to Isiolo.
Following the signing of a joint statement on the funding and development of two key railway projects, the Malaba-Kampala SGR and the Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway, in their respective nations, Kenya and Uganda, respectively, have begun construction on the projects.
With the help of Ugandan colleague Edward Katumba-Wamala and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, the agreement was formalized on last week.
Uganda is on pace to quickly finalize the deal for the Malaba-Kampala stretch, while Kenya has already inked commercial contracts for its part of the SGR portions.
Both administrations are making a concerted effort to raise money for development. The two countries had previously intended to finance jointly but encountered significant difficulties.
Since then, they have agreed to individually pursue finance for their own SGR portions, with Kenya indicating its intention to do so for the Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba SGR stretch.
In the next months, the SGR and the meter gauge rail from Naivasha to the Malaba border will be used more often to transport freight headed for Uganda under the terms of the agreement.
“The commercial contracts for Naivasha-Kisumu and Kisumu-Malaba SGR section in Kenya have been signed while the commercial contract for Malaba-Kampala SGR section in Uganda will be signed soon and the two governments are in the process of mobilizing the financing for construction,” reads a joint statement from the ministers.