May 26, 2023
Kenya to Renew Talks With China on Funding Rail to Uganda Border
(Bloomberg) -- Kenya said it plans to resume talks with China over funding an extension of a railway line to the Uganda border, eight years after negotiations began.
Chinese funding helped Kenya construct a 730-kilometer (453-mile) railroad from Mombasa port on the Indian Ocean to Naivasha, northwest of Nairobi. Authorities in Kenya are updating the feasibility study of extending the line to the Ugandan border, Kipchumba Murkomen, cabinet secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of Roads and Transport, told reporters in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. The study will be ready by July 1, he said.
Kenya will seek favorable terms, including concessional funding, grants and long-tenure debt, during the negotiations with Export Import Bank of China, he said. The line is expected to go through the Lake Victoria port of Kisumu. Murkomen said he didn’t have details of the cost.
Delay in finalizing the plan prompted Uganda to terminate a contract with a Chinese company to build its own rail line from the border to Kampala. Chinese lenders refused to fund the project for more than eight years demanding that the two railroads be synchronized.
Uganda’s talks with Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi to develop the line are at an advanced stage and a contract will be signed “soon” for the Kampala-Malaba stretch with construction expected to start in December, Fred Byamukama, Minister of State for Works and Transport told reporters on Friday.
The cost of the 271-kilometer railroad will be determined after the contractor submits its bid, he said.
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