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THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDARD GAUGE RAILWAY (SGR) PROJECT TO THE EAST AFRICAN REGION

THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDARD GAUGE RAILWAY (SGR) PROJECT TO THE EAST AFRICAN REGION

EMMAH KITHINJI 


ABSTRACT

As a famous Chinese saying states, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”. If there is a project in Kenya that perfectly fits this adage, it is the Standard Gauge Railway project (SGR). The SGR journey started way back in 2008, when the Cabinet approved the project. The economic benefits of the SGR during and after development could be appreciated from the project works. From the onset, both the KRC and CRBC have made it clear that construction materials that are locally available will be procured within the country. In fact, the project is expected to utilize 40 per cent of local content in terms of construction materials, civil works and job opportunities. As expected, the project is a major employer for thousands of skilled and unskilled youths who will be engaged in its development. The project will also inject the much needed technology transfer in the railway sub - sector. The project is expected to reinvigorate existing urban centres that are situated along Mombasa-Nairobi highway due to business opportunities associated with such projects. For example, apart from the 33 crossing stations, 5 stations will be constructed at Mariakani, Voi, Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud and Athi River. Definitely, these urban centres will immensely benefit both in terms of urban growth and business activities accruing from the SGR project. The stations will be served by workshops for locomotives, rolling stock facilities that will require ample supply of electricity and water not to mention signaling, communications and ICT systems. In a nutshell, the SGR project will be a game changer as far as railway development is concerned in the Kenya and the region.


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