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Kenya’s $4bn railway gains traction from Chinese policy ambitions

April 7, 2017 

By: David Pilling  and Emily Feng 

(Financial Times) A few miles outside the town of Makindu on the Nairobi-Mombasa road sits a heavily guarded compound. Only the sign outside, in red Chinese lettering, indicates that this is the project site for "section 9" of a new $4bn Chinese-built railway that will run 300 miles between the Kenyan capital and the Indian Ocean port. The railway is the centrepiece of an infrastructure splurge by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces re-election this year and whose Kenyan government has invested heavily in roads, pipelines, oil development and geothermal power.


It is also one of China's most important investments in east Africa and follows the opening in January of a $4.2bn, 470-mile line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, the capital of landlocked Ethiopia, replacing the 100-year-old French-built railway. And contrary to some critics, who have voiced concerns at China's growing presence in Africa, residents of Makindu are upbeat on the biggest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence 54 years ago...


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