Kenya makes public China deals for $3 billion railway | So Good News
Kenya’s transport minister has released documents on a massive Kenyan railway project signed with China after years of secrecy.
The $3 billion (£2.6 billion) Chinese-funded and operated rail line is Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project since independence in 1963.
Its viability has been repeatedly questioned since its launch.
The line runs between the port city of Mombasa and the capital Nairobi, and there are plans to extend it to the port city of Kisumu in the west.
Making public details of the railways’ loan deals was one of President William Ruto’s campaign promises to end speculation among Kenyans about what the government was signing on their behalf.
In a tweet on Sunday, Minister Kipchumba Murkomen said copies of the agreement had been given to the majority leaders in Kenya’s parliament and also shared with the media.
The agreements were signed by the Kenyan government, represented by the National Ministry of Finance, and the Export and Import (Exim) Bank of China in 2014.
Local media coverage of the released agreements indicates that the Chinese lenders were given extensive powers. For example, it requires arbitration of any dispute to be held in Beijing, according to the Daily Nation newspaper.
The main contractor of the project was exempted from all fees, reports the newspaper Standard.
In 2020, the Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected claims that Mombasa port, one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, was used as collateral in the deal.