Kenya sends high-profile delegation to Beijing to hammer out $3.5 billion deal to fund 3rd phase of Standard Gauge Railway

Kenya Railways attendants are seen at the Nairobi Terminus in the outskirts of Nairobi.
  • Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett is the senior-most State official in the team, which also includes Kenya Railways acting MD Charles Mainga, senior economist at the Transport ministry Duncan Hunda and Kenya Railways engineer Maxwell Mengich among others.
  • The high-powered delegation, comprising officials from the Treasury, Kenya Railways Corporation, Ministry of Transport and State Law Office, left for the Chinese capital last Friday.
  • It is estimated that the Naivasha to Kisumu phase of the SGR will cost Sh350 billion ($3.5 billion) to complete.

Kenya has sent a high-profile delegation comprising of senior government officials to Beijing to hammer out the deal of funding the third phase of Standard Gauge Railway.

Senior Treasury and Ministry of Transport officials have spent the past one week in Beijing holding talks with their Chinese counterparts to iron out the finer details of the planned borrowing ahead of the official signing to be held either in Beijing or Nairobi.

The high-powered delegation, comprising officials from the Treasury, Kenya Railways Corporation, Ministry of Transport and State Law Office, left for the Chinese capital last Friday and are expected to return today.

Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett is the senior-most State official in the team, which also includes Kenya Railways acting MD Charles Mainga, senior economist at the Transport ministry Duncan Hunda and Kenya Railways engineer Maxwell Mengich among others.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Transport counterpart, James Macharia, declined to discuss the agenda of the visit when approached.

“They are going for normal bilateral government business,” said Mr Macharia, while Mr Rotich referred media queries to the Ministry of Transport.

Ms Koimett and Mr Mainga also kept mum.

The talks comes amid speculation of plans by the government to borrow yet another multi-billion-shilling loan to finance construction of the Naivasha-Kisumu stretch of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

It is estimated that the Naivasha to Kisumu phase of the SGR will cost Sh350 billion ($3.5 billion) to complete. With the construction of the new Kisumu Port already under way at a reported cost of about Sh16 billion ($160 million), the Treasury will need to secure a further Sh350 billion ($3.5 billion) for the Naivasha-Kisumu section.

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