Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared that the country’s Standard Gauge Railway, a modern high speed rail system currently under construction, will raise Kenya’s GDP by 1.5 percent once it becomes operational. According to him, the economic benefits of the high speed trains will be significant and the immediate effects will include a decongestion of the port of Mombasa, this is expected to lead to higher volumes of national and regional trade.

Additionally, the President said tens of thousands of jobs that will be created by the construction projects and many more will be created once the modern rail system becomes operational, thus ushering in a new era of prosperity for millions of Kenyans. This explains the mountain of importance he has attached to the project and why he continues to push for it to be completed within three years as planned.

“When the construction project ends and the trains start operating, it will lead to a big reduction in goods and change this country. This single project alone will raise our GDP by 1.5 percent and that can enable us achieve growth rates of even 8 percent because we are now growing at 5.8 percent,” he said.

Continuing, he hinted that Kenya, within the next few years, will be in a position to export railway building experts to regional countries as an estimated 400 engineers and technicians will be trained during the construction of the railway and this skilled workforce will be available for future local and regional railway development.

Also, at least 30,000 direct jobs for locals will be created during the construction with another 7,963 who will be working at the project’s headquarters. Concurrently, at least 15,000 locals will acquire skills suitable for self-employment.

“The company building the Standard Gauge Railway has also built here two factories to produce rail sleepers and other parts to build the railway. That means that even when the Mombasa-Nairobi section is over there will still be jobs here,” said the President.

The President said all these recently when he addressed a public rally at the Kenya Wildlife Service Camp grounds after he inspected a trial section of the SGR at Mtito Andei. In the company of the Chinese ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa, he was taken on a tour of the section by Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau, the Principal Secretary Nduva Muli and managers of the China Roads and Bridges.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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