The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, which Xi Jinping cares about, is five years old

Seetao 2022-06-06 16:33
  • In five years, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has transported 1.77 million TEUs of containers
  • On May 31, 2017, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway built by China opened to traffic, which is the largest infrastructure project since Kenya's independence
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"Friends, please listen to me, the story of the railway is long and long. It condenses friendship, and it brings hope. My hometown is more beautiful every day; my compatriots are more high-spirited every day..." A few years ago The vision of railway development sung by Kenyan singer Sudi's song "Song of Mombasa-Nairobi - Railway Repaired to My Hometown" is becoming a reality one by one.

dream becomes reality

On May 31, 2017, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway constructed by a Chinese enterprise was completed and opened to traffic. In the past five years, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has been like a "big artery", which has accelerated the pace of Kenya's modernization, and has left an indelible mark on the connectivity of East Africa and the win-win cooperation between China and Africa. On May 30, 2022, at the opening ceremony of the International Flower Trade Fair held in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, Clement Clement, CEO of the Kenya Flower Council, announced that flowers will be exported via the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway by the end of 2022. Clement said that compared with road or air transportation, railway transportation has lower carbon emissions and has the comprehensive advantages of transportation cost and convenience.

As early as January 2022, tea exports, an important source of Kenya's foreign exchange earnings, began to turn to the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway. Exporters praised that the opening of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has provided a high-quality, safe, efficient and fast transportation method for tea export. Transportation is the vein of economy and the link of civilization. The choice of merchants truly demonstrates the boosting force of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway to Kenya's economy, and also highlights the unique role played by the concept of transportation first in promoting the economic and social development of developing countries.

On October 14, 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference: "It is necessary to strengthen North-South and South-South More support for the construction of national transport infrastructure to promote shared prosperity.”

The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway is an important achievement of the "Ten Cooperation Plans" determined at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. It connects Mombasa, the largest port in East Africa, and Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, with a total length of about 480 kilometers. The modern railway built by Chinese equipment is also the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence.

Farahana Mgoy, who is engaged in insurance sales, has travelled between Nairobi and Voy on the Mombasa-Nairobi train more than 70 times. She told reporters that it used to take seven hours to travel from Nairobi to Voi by bus, but now it only takes about four hours by train, and there is no need to worry about traffic jams. According to the Africa Star Railway Operation Company, which is responsible for the operation of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has sent a total of 7.785 million passengers in the past five years. During holidays, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway is the preferred means of transportation for people in the capital to travel to and from the seaside resort city of Mombasa, and tickets are very popular.

In May 2017, when President Xi Jinping met with Kenyan President Kenyatta, who went to China to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, he emphasized that the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway should be the driving force to promote the construction of an industrial and economic corridor integrating roads and ports, and jointly build Mombasa-Nairobi. A new pattern of trinity cooperation among railways, Mombasa Port and Mombasa Special Economic Zone.

"Connecting the Nation to Prosperity" - the slogan on the trains of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway is becoming a reality. In the past five years, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has transported a total of 1.773 million TEUs of containers. Currently, there are 16 freight trains running on average daily, which has promoted economic and trade exchanges between Kenya and other East African countries.

Five years of tangible benefits

Edward, the head of a logistics company in Nairobi, said that now, it only takes 8 hours to achieve transportation through the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, which used to take 3 days. The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway not only eases congestion at Mombasa Port, but also reduces manufacturers' operating costs and improves supply chain efficiency. Ernest, the head of a grain logistics company, said that transporting grains through the Mombasa-Nairobi railway can achieve zero logistics losses and help customers save 25% of their costs.

The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has increased the volume of bulk cargo, which has lowered operating costs for manufacturers, said James Selay, head of the Kenya Railways' Commercial Operations Specialist Team. One Mombasa-Nairobi freight train is equivalent to the transport volume of 110 trucks in the past. Not only that, the Standard Gauge Railway has not had a single accident since its operation.

"China-Africa cooperation should bring tangible and tangible results and benefits to the Chinese and African people. For a long time, China and Africa have been helping each other and helping each other. China will make new contributions to poverty reduction, development, employment and income generation, and peace and contentment in Africa. Greater efforts." At the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2018, President Xi Jinping took the improvement of people's livelihood and well-being as the starting point and end point of developing China-Africa relations, and pointed out the direction for China-Africa cooperation. In the past five years, the tangible benefits that the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has brought to East African countries in terms of talent training and technology transfer are obvious to all.

Tabitha Kiprimo was a train driver on the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, and was promoted to a managerial position because of her outstanding performance. She said with emotion that she never expected that she would one day work and be promoted in a male-dominated field, and thanked the Chinese side for cultivating her. Africa Star Railway Operation Company has always focused on localized technology transfer, and has cultivated a group of railway professional technical and management personnel who can operate independently. On February 23, 2022, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway opened the first passenger train independently on duty by the Kenyan locomotive crew, marking a new level for Chinese enterprises to promote the localization of Kenyan locomotive crews.

Industry insiders praised that China has cultivated a "team that cannot be taken away" for Kenya, which has effectively enhanced the country's soft power. Through the construction of the standard gauge railway, Kenya has strengthened its interconnection with many countries, driving the development of the entire East African region. Erastas Mwencha, former vice-chairman of the African Union Commission, said that the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has brought revolutionary changes to Kenya and made huge economic contributions, benefiting a large number of Kenyan youths.Editor/XuNing