Kenya is set to secure another loan estimated to be Ksh350 billion with the Exim Bank of China to extend the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Kisumu, after bringing Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on board.
The country is keen on establishing a seamless railway connection from Mombasa to Kampala as it seeks to establish itself as Uganda’s port of choice.
The Mombasa-Nairobi line was built at a cost of Sh327 billion while the Nairobi to Naivasha line scheduled to be completed by August will cost Ksh150 billion.
Initial reports had indicated that China was reluctant to give Kenya another loan until Uganda made a commitment to the project’s bigger vision of reaching Kampala. This, therefore, means that from Kisumu, Kenya will need to construct another line to Malaba before the project is picked up by Uganda.
“By August this year, the SGR will have reached Naivasha,” Mr Kenyatta said. “I have confirmed to President Museveni that with that development in Naivasha and then moving the SGR to Malaba, goods will be able to move from Mombasa to Malaba in just two days.”
Museveni’s recent bilateral meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa this week seems to have resolved outstanding issues surrounding the project and secured Uganda as the number one client for Kenya’s transit cargo.
This may have been the deal Kenya got from Uganda in exchange for a piece of land in Naivasha to set up a dry port and increased exportation of sugar and poultry to Kenya.
In a tweet, President Museveni said: “I am glad that our counterparts have agreed to let Uganda increase its sugar export to Kenya from 36,000 metric tonnes to 90,000 metric tonnes annually. Also, it is important that Uganda will resume exporting poultry to Kenya within a week from now.”
The move has sparked uproar in the country with a majority of Kenyans questioning President Kenyatta’s commitment to improving the agricultural sector which is the backbone of the country’s economy, and a key composite pillar in his Big Four agenda.