President Kenyatta, who will be accompanied by the African Union's High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga, is set to meet with Chinese officials and argue Kenya’s case for the release of Sh368 billion ($3.68 billion) for the extension of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), a State House official has confirmed.
The two are doomed to dance to the Chinese tune before the Exim Bank of China can release the money.
Mr. Raila over the weekend while in Kisumu disclosed that he will be accompanying the president to the Asian country to lobby for more loans to complete the mega infrastructure project.
"I will be part of the delegation that will accompany the President to the Asian country next week. The new SGR line will extend from Naivasha to Narok, Bomet, Sondu and finally Kisumu," Raila said at Sondu, in Kisumu on Saturday.
On Tuesday evening Mr. Raila left the country for China to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation set to be held between April 25 and April 27, 2019 in Beijing, China’s capital.
It is expected President Kenyatta will join Raila in China in lobbying for the Standard Gauge Railway funding. According to a statement to newsrooms through his spokesperson Dennis Onyango,Mr. Raila is also tasked with “promoting public-private partnership and welcoming international financial institutions to increase support and investment for infrastructure development.”
Kenyatta’s administration is seeking for further funds to extend the line to Naivasha, then to Kisumu and subsequently link it up with Uganda to ease trade within the region.
The government plans to complete the second phase of the project that runs from Nairobi to Naivasha by August this year.
The 120-kilometre stretch would be completed in August as it is 80 percent complete, according to the government. It is estimated to cost a total of Sh170 billion ($1.7 billion)
The railway line is then expected to be extended from Naivasha to Kisumu at an estimated cost of about Sh360 billion ($3.6 billion) before the government seeks for additional Sh170 billion ($1.7billion) to connect the line to Malaba.