People cheer and throw confetti at a cargo train in Mombasa on May 30, 2017 – AFP/TONY KARUMBA
CAIRO – 1 June 2017: Kenya’s major Madaraka (Freedom) Express train will link East Africa to the Indian Ocean in a move that is likely to boost trade, tourism and travel.
The move is part of a ‘master plan’ to connect Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and Ethiopia via the Standard Gauge Railway.
“Today we celebrate one of the key cornerstones to Kenya’s transformation to an industrialized, prosperous, middle-income country,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the Tuesday launch of the country’s largest infrastructure project since independence. “[It] will begin to re-shape the story of Kenya for the next 100 years,” he added.
Inside the Madaraka Express - AFP/Tony Karumba
The new $3.2-billion railway connecting Nairobi and Mombasa should benefit tourism, AP quoted Mohammed Hersi, chairman of Kenya Coast Tourism Association, as saying.
China’s Export Import Bank financed 90 percent of the project to ultimately increase trade and influence in the area, AP said, as Beijing will manage the train for five years before handing it over to the Kenyan government.
The train can carry up to 1,260 passengers, but the railway is also meant to serve trade. On Tuesday, the first cargo train set off at Kenyatta’s order. It is set to cut the cost and time to transport goods to the capital.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the inauguration - AFP/Tony Karumba
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