President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to commission the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line on May 31 in a ceremony to be attended by a delegation comprising Chinese State Council, two ministers and one vice minister.
The President will officiate the launch of the container terminal which is part of the already complete first phase of the SGR project.
“China has been, in the last few years, a loyal partner in our transformational agenda particularly as relates to the development of economic physical infrastructure.
The centre-piece of that transformation is the Standard Gauge Railway, the first phase of which is complete; and it remains only to be commissioned on May 31. On that day, China – who provided the funds through loans that ensured the SGR was built – will be sending a senior delegation of the State Council, two ministers and one vice minister as the official delegation at that launch.” Esipisu said.
After the launch on May 30, the President in company of the Chinese delegation will take a ride from Mombasa to Nairobi through rail.
He will make stopovers to commission some of the new stations as well as to address people that are resident in some of the counties that the SGR passes through.
The launch comes days following president Kenyatta’s visit to China upon invitation by President Xi Jinping to Beijing to attend the One belt one road conference where he brokered a deal by China’s Exim Bank to fund the SGR second phase.
The next phase of the SGR will be from Naivasha to Kisumu and the rebuilding of a modern port in that city.
“It is important to note that this construction and the port of Kisumu will bring the much needed, much talked about, much desired jobs that are on everyone’s mind but foremost on the mind of the President as he has some mandate to do everything he can to ensure that our young people get as many jobs as there are – and quality jobs at that.” Esipisu added.
The Head of State is expected to stop at most of the major SGR terminus which include Mariakani, Miasenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River before making his way to the capital.
According to the Kenya Railway (KR), it is estimated that the Nairobi- Naivasha section of the SGR will coast about US $ 1.5 billion. Official figures for the Naivasha- Kisumu section are yet to be released.
Although the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development is yet to disclose how much it would cost passengers to travel between Nairobi and Mombasa aboard the SGR train, the ministry hinted in the recent past that it is likely to cost more or less the amount passengers pay traveling on Public Service Vehicles between the two cities.
Over the weekend, a team from Ministry of Transport, Kenya Railways and the National Land Commission (NLC) including chairman Muhammad Swazuri traveled to nairobi through rail from Mombasa in an advance inspection.
They inspected all sections President Uhuru is expected to make stopovers.
On Friday this week, the President will head to Taormina, Sicily, Italy for the 43rd G7 summit.
The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies (the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom) that meets annually to discuss issues such as global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.
The 43rd G7 summit will be held on May 26th – 27th, 2017 in Sicily . The previous G7 Summit was held Japan in May, 2016.