“By the end of 2021 this new connection will be possible,” he said.
The visiting head of state who is in Kenya for a two-day state visit noted that Kenyans were impatient with any delay and promised that the project would be complete by 2021.
Mr Macron was responding to his host President Uhuru Kenyatta who had asked him to apply more pressure on a French firm to quickly complete a commuter rail in Nairobi it has been contracted to do.
The rail is set to connect the Nairobi Central Station to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport via Eastlands.
A French consortium is currently conducting an implementation study on the rail project but President Uhuru complained it had taken too long to break ground.
“Lecture them to finish the project in two years and not ten,” he told President Macron.
President Kenyatta said that upon completion the line would serve 500,000 commuters daily in the next one year.
“Our target is to have 500,000 urban commuters moving freely daily within the next 12 months. This number will grow to over a million commuters daily within the next five years,” he said.
He added that the rail was part of his Government’s measures to open up public transport corridors with a view to reduce pollution, congestion and make it cheap for commuters.
This commuter railway improvement also includes the Sh10 billion ($100 million) for the rehabilitation of four existing lines (Nairobi Central Station to Ruiru, Nairobi Central Station to Embakasi Village, Nairobi Central Station to Kikuyu, and Nairobi Central Station to Kitengela).
The investment also includes the acquisition of refurbished Diesel Multiple Units (DMU’s) as well as the building of a public transport network from Ruiru to Athi River.
At the same time, President Macron announced that projects worth 3billion Euros between Kenya and France would be approved.