Chinese corporation helps to build critical railway in Kenya

World Today

The China Road and Bridge Corporation, a state-owned enterprise, is helping to construct a gauge railway line in Kenya that when completed wills stretch from coastal city of Mombasa to the capital of Nairobi, in the first railway China has build abroad under Chinese standards.

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The 472-kilometer-long (293 miles) railway will be a critical infrastructure project to boost regional trade and deepen financial integration in East Africa. Construction is expected to be completed by June 2017.

CRBC technicians are working to ensure quality. Tests are being conducted on soil along the rail line, as well as all materials including cement, steel, and ballasts.

The construction has provided jobs for local residents. CRBC set up a factory in the town of Sultan Hamud, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Nairobi. The factory employs 800 local residents, who are just one part of a 25,000 Kenyan workforce working on the entire rail project.

“I’ve loved this kind of work ever since I was a child. I want to learn and open my own company one day,” said Bernard Okumbi, a welder for CRBC. Okumbi, and other workers like him, are responsible for producing components such as the T-beams used to reinforce bridges, and the sleepers to support the rails.

Under an agreement between the governments of Kenya and China, the company is providing specialized training to local workers. Chinese workers there also benefit from training courses.

The railway is expected to boost Kenya’s economy. Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, once said the railway line would help transform the country.

The rail line will eventually be extended to Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.

Story by CCTV News