Kenya’s China-funded ‘Railway to Nowhere’ opens

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Kenya’s has opened its halted railway project dubbed as the “Railway to Nowhere” after China pulled funding for the ambitious project.

Chinese funding was supposed to complete an East African rail link connecting Kenya’s coast with regional neighbours Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda. However, Beijing has withheld roughly $5 billion in funding, leaving the unfinished railway coming to an end in a remote Kenyan village 75 miles west of the capital, Nairobi.

Kenya opens ‘Railway to Nowhere’

Kenya’s China-funded railway connects the coastal city of Mombassa with Nairobi but comes to an end just $120 kilometres (75 miles) west of the capital, far short of the Ugandan border. However, Kenya is still keen to commercialise the railway in its current state to make the project profitable and attract new investment to develop it further.

The new link between Mombassa and Nairobi provides an important link between the two cities but this alone won’t be enough to generate profit.

In order to revive the projects financial viability, Kenya plans to extend the railway from Nairobi to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha where a special economic zone will be built. However, critics argue further development of the project will only plunge Kenya into more debt.

Kenya is already exceeding its current debt ceiling with the government proposing a higher limit on lending that almost matches the size of its entire economy.

Featured image: By Macabe5387 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76980283

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.