The Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project that was officially launched last year will pave way for robust economic activities along its route, a senior Kenyan official said on Tuesday.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia said in a commentary published by the Star Newspaper that the 120-kilometer modern railway will open Kenyan hinterland to new investments.
“The economic benefits of the Standard Gauge Railway are set to soar with the ongoing extension from Nairobi to Naivasha and eventually to Kisumu and Malaba,” Macharia said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 19 2016 launched the construction of the Nairobi-Naivasha second phase of the SGR project financed by China to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars.
It is an extension of Mombasa-Nairobi railway whose operation commenced at the beginning of June this year.
China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is involved in the implementation of Nairobi-Naivasha SGR project that will take 54 months to complete.
Macharia noted that that Nairobi-Naivasha SGR project will herald a new era of industrial revival in Kenyan mainland.
“A center piece of the Nairobi-Naivasha line is the proposed mega industrial park that will be established near the Mai-Mahiu Freight Exchange Centre,” Macharia said.
Kenya plans to establish a dry port in Naivasha and other towns along the SGR corridor in a bid to ease movement of bulk cargo from the port of Mombasa to the hinterland.
Macharia said both the dry port and Mai Mahiu Freight Exchange Centre are part of an ambitious agenda by the government to stimulate economic activities in rural Kenya.
Kenya has proposed establishment of special economic zones in Naivasha to maximize the benefits of a modern railway track.
Macharia said Naivasha will become a magnet for investors in advanced manufacturing thanks to efficient and cheaper transport of raw materials through SGR.
He added that the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR project has created many jobs for local youth since its construction kicked off late last year