Date
17 December 2017
Premier Li Keqiang (center) looks on as representatives from China and Kenya sign a deal to build a rail line. Photo: Xinhua
Premier Li Keqiang (center) looks on as representatives from China and Kenya sign a deal to build a rail line. Photo: Xinhua

China, Kenya get rolling on US$3.8 bln rail line

Kenya has signed a US$3.8 billion deal with China to build a standard-gauge rail line linking its Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa to Nairobi.

Premier Li Keqiang, together with presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan as well as representatives from Tanzania, Burundi and the African Development Bank, witnessed the signing of the agreement, the Beijing News reported Monday.

The 480-kilometer line will be built to Chinese standards and be able to carry passengers at 120 kilometers per hour, cutting the journey from 10-plus hours to four-and-a-half. Down the track, it will also link Kenya with at least six other East African countries, the report said.

Agence France-Presse reported Sunday that work on the link is due to start in October and take three and a half years to complete, with China Communications Construction Co. as the main contractor.

China is also keen to work with the authorities in Africa to build high-speed-rail, expressway and regional aviation links across the continent. Li said the Mombasa-Nairobi line is an important part of those networks.

Kenya and China also agreed to closer economic cooperation and counterterrorism efforts.

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