Kenya and Uganda have reached an agreement on the synchronization of timelines and financing of the construction of the Naivasha to Kampala section of the Standard Gauge Railway project. Under the agreement the two countries have resolved that construction on this section should start simultaneously.
The agreement was signed by Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Uganda’s Finance Minister Matla Kasila and Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transport Eng. Ntege Azuba at the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure Housing and Urban Development (MOTIHUD) offices in Nairobi.
The two countries have approached the Export and Import (EXIM) Bank of China to fund the project and the respective Cabinet Secretaries/Ministers for Finance and Transport from Kenya and Uganda will travel to China for discussions on financing modalities for the project.
The agreement follows the signing of a bilateral agreement for joint, seamless operation and maintenance of the Mombasa to Kampala SGR line signed in November, 2016. Under the joint, seamless operation and maintenance Kenya and Uganda have agreed to engage the same operator for the joint and seamless operations; and also both countries will permit locomotives and rolling free access into each other territories
In Kenya the railway line will traverse Naivasha, Narok, Bomet, Nyamira, Kisumu, Yala, Mumias, Malaba side; and Tororo, Butaleja, Namutumba, Iganga, Luuka, Mayuge, Jinja, Buikwe, Mukono, Wakiso and Kampala districts.
Uganda under her Railway Master plan has set out to construct the SGR line within her borders in phases similar to Kenya’s model. The first phase which will run from Malaba to Kampala; a distance of 273 kilometres is projected to cost $2.3 billion. Construction is set to commence later this year and will be executed by China Habour Engineering Company (CHEC).
On her part, Kenya has achieved significant milestones in the construction of the section of the SGR line lying within her borders. Construction on the Mombasa to Nairobi section of Kenya’s SGR network is 98 per cent complete and will be commissioned on June 1, 2017. Laying of the track panels is complete. The track facilitated transportation of locomotives and passenger coaches which arrived in the country recently from Mombasa to Nairobi. Kenya Railways has signed commercial contracts with China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) for the construction of the Nairobi to Malaba section. Currently the Relocation Action Plan access is underway before actual construction commences.