Kenya Enjoins India in New SGR Extension Plan Covering 14 Lake Region Counties

President William Ruto at a meeting with Indian officials on November 4, 2023 (left) and a Standard Guage Railway (SGR) train at the Voi station.
President William Ruto at a meeting with Indian officials on November 4, 2023 (left) and a Standard Guage Railway (SGR) train at the Voi station.

Kenya has enlisted the help of India in its plans to extend the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) with a key focus on an interlink line covering 14 counties in the Lake Region Block (LRB).

In a statement by Siaya Governor James Orengo dated Tuesday, governors from the lake region have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian officials over the development of the interlink railway line.

Orengo, who led the delegation of the governors, noted that the proposal had already been endorsed by President William Ruto, who toured India on his first Inaugural state visit.

The MoU will also form an agenda during the Head of State's meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Nakuru - Kisumu Railway Line has the largest number of viaducts in the entire MGR network.
A section of the Nakuru - Kisumu Railway line being renovated in 2021.
Kenya Railways

The 14 targetted counties set to benefit from the SGR extension interlink include Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homabay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga.

"I led a delegation from Lake Region Economic Block (LREB), including Governors Stephen Sang of Nandi and Hillary Barchok (Bomet), to appraise President William Ruto on the MOUs LREB has signed with Indian government ministries and departments. 

"The MOUs by LREB are one to establish a Solar Energy Park with a capacity of 280MW with each of the 14 counties getting between 10-50MW while the second one seeks to extend the SGR from Naivasha to Malaba corridor but at its core is interlinking railway network that connects the 14 LREB counties," read the statement in part.

Notably, the old Meter Guage Railway line, which was to be replaced by the SGR, was built by the Indians between 1891 and 1895.

Currently, the SGR ends in Naivasha with plans to have it extended to Uganda through the Malaba border underway.

In July 2023, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen inked a deal with his Uganda counterpart, Edward Wamala, on the framework of the extension estimated to cost billions.

The previous government had estimated that the SGR extension from Naivasha to Kisumu would cost Ksh380 billion. Ruto's administration has yet to highlight the cost of the project.

Uganda, on the other hand, signed a deal with a Turkish company to have the railway line in the neighbouring country constructed at Ksh327 billion.

A photo of Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen.
Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen attending a Cabinet meeting at the DP's Karen Official Residence on October 5, 2023.