The Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway depot in Nairobi. Simon Mania/AFP
From Ethiopia to Kenya and soon Tanzania, thousands of kilometers of new railways are coming online. And if Tanzanian President John Magufuli is successful, Dar es Salaam will emerge as the hub of a hugely ambitious regional railway network that will stretch across half a dozen countries.
But the Key Question Remains: Who Will Pay for It?
The Chinese were instrumental in the first phase of East Africa’s railway development, providing billions of dollars in concessional loans to the Ethiopian, Djiboutian, and Kenyan governments to build Standard Gauge Railway lines.
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The presence of Chinese construction companies in Kenya is evident from the big projects they are handling; from roads to office complexes to shopping malls. The current government’s flagship transport project, the Standard ...