Uhuru Fails to Secure Ksh16 Billion French Loan for Railway Construction

  • President Emmanuel Macron receives President Uhuru Kenyatta in France.
    President Emmanuel Macron receives President Uhuru Kenyatta in France.
    The Standard
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta failed to secure a Ksh16.8 billion deal for the construction of a railway line linking Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Nairobi’s city center.

    During his two-day visit to France last week, President Kenyatta was expected to seal the financial deal with President Macron but that failed to materialize.

    The deal was supposed to be closed by June 30, 2021 as previously proposed.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Emmanuel Macron when he visited Kenya
    President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Emmanuel Macron when he visited Kenya.
    The Standard

    Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia confirmed the French trip did not bear fruit that would have enhanced the construction of the 5-kilometer railway line linking JKIA to the Syokimau Standard-Gauge Railway (SGR) terminus.

    “No agreements were signed. We just reviewed progress toward the launch of the project,” Macharia confirmed.

    Kenya Railways also confirmed the deal was supposed to be signed by June 30, 2021 but did not give any possible reason for the delay.

    “As per the financial protocol, the signing of the loan agreement was expected by June 30, 2021. This is being handled by the Treasury. The Treasury is best placed to provide an indicative timeline,” Kenya Railways Chairman Pastor Awitta stated.

    The loan was also meant to fund the renovation of the old 17-kilometer railway track linking Syokimau SGR, construction of two airports stations, a terminal at Donholm, and an automatic fare collection system.

    The mega-railway project was planned to decongest Nairobi City and reduce the traveling time between the central business district and the country’s largest airport.

    Currently, it can take up to two hours to move from the central business district to JKIA due to heavy traffic commonly experienced on the busy Mombasa Road.

    However, if the project succeeds, it will take approximately 30 minutes to get to JKIA from the central business district.

    The project was set to commence in August this year following the agreement by the two heads of state in March 2019 but since no agreement was signed, its future remains uncertain.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron inside the brand-new Peugeot 3008 at the Statehouse. March 14, 2019.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron inside the brand-new Peugeot 3008 at the Statehouse. March 14, 2019.
    PSCU