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Kenya seeks China funding for Malaba SGR extension as CS Murkomen visits Beijing

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen is currently in Beijing seeking to secure funding for Malaba SGR extension.

Ruto administration is banking on China to secure funding for the extension of the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to the Malaba border and other projects.

This comes as Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen is currently in China for a three-day visit where he’s set to hold talks on strengthening Kenya and China’s bilateral development cooperation. 

Speaking in a meeting with China’s Minister of Transport, Deng Li, and the Foreign Affairs Vice Minister, Tan Wenhong, Murkomen said there are hopes to complete the ongoing road projects in Kenya.

“We hope to equip our Technical and Vocational Institutions, build water dams, and implement our smart and intelligent traffic systems among others,” he said. 

He also said the country seeks to achieve the extension of the Standard Guage Railway (SGR) to Malaba, dualling of main highways and expanding Kenyan ports, not forgetting airports’ infrastructure.

“Through our partnership, we hope to complete our ongoing road projects and extend the railway to Malaba.” 

The Transport Cabinet Secretary added that the visit is also aimed at setting the agenda for President William Ruto’s visit to China scheduled for later in the year.

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Murkomen’s trip comes two months after Kenya and Uganda jointly signed a communique on the financing and development of the Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway and the Malaba-Kampala SGR.

The government plans to spend Sh2.1 trillion on the extension of the railway line from Suswa to Malaba and a separate line to Isiolo, projects expected to be completed in 2027.

According to the communique, the project will be implemented in their respective countries.

“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 mobilising the financing for construction,” a joint communique by the ministers reads.

The planned rail projects by Kenya will add 2,746 kilometres to the SGR, increasing the overall expenditure on the modern railway project to over $19.4 billion (Sh2.7 trillion).

While Kenya has already signed commercial contracts for its portion of the SGR sections, Uganda is on track to soon finalise the contract for the Malaba-Kampala section.

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