Kenya lauds Chinese leader for supporting railway project
MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday praised his Chinese counterpart for his personal support in the project, saying it was a clear sign that “they are true friends of Kenya.”
Speaking in the coastal city of Mombasa where he commissioned the construction of the railway project, Kenyatta praised the workmanship of the Chinese people and expressed optimism that the project will be completed on schedule.
“Let me at this juncture express my deep gratitude to the President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, for his great personal interest in this project, and his government’s immense support,” Kenyatta said in Mombasa.
He said Chinese railway technology is the world’s most advanced, adding that the Asian nation has a railway network of over 100,000 km, 10,000 km of which comprise high-speed passenger railways.
“This easily makes China a world super power in the development of infrastructure. I have no doubt that with China’s bilateral support, Kenya will soon have a first world-class railway network, ” he added.
The project would open up the rest of East Africa through a seamless road, rail and pipelines to ease trade barriers.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan said the railway is a strategic choice for Kenya. Railways, he said, have powered China’s economy for the last 30 years.
“China’s rail technology is novel and competitive. Construction of the rail may take long but the Kenyan landscape will be more beautiful,” he said.
Speaking when he launched the 500 km Mombasa-Nairobi railway, Kenyatta said the project reinforces Kenya’s commitment as the gateway to Eastern Africa.
He said the railway will reduce the cost of doing business, decongest the Mombasa port and later the Lamu port. The project will also integrate the region served by the Northern Corridor, he said, adding Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo will become one large market.
The Asian nation currently is in the process of funding the construction of the Nairobi metropolitan transport system and the Northern-Southern by-pass, which are major road projects aimed at easing transport chaos in Nairobi through an expanded roads infrastructure.