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China considering extension of SGR through PPP model – President Ruto

Ruto says request for China to consider extending the Standard Gauge Railway line was jointly made by four countries.

President William Ruto disclosed Sunday that leaders from the East and Central Africa region have jointly delivered a request to China to consider extending the Standard Gauge Railway line that terminated in Naivasha, Kenya.

Ruto, in a roundtable media interview, indicated that the application is currently being discussed in Beijing and the project will most likely be implemented by Chinese companies under the Public Private Partnership model.

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“Our headroom on debt, is one that we cannot borrow anymore. We have asked China to invest and not lend us money. We are having that conversation. Some of their companies are considering investing their money instead of us borrowing,” said the Kenyan head of state

Ruto said another issue being discussed is when the project will start, the timing, indicating advancement in the deal. He said Kenya, which is was supposed to progress the project to the border with Uganda had faced financial challenges but has remained keen to do so except for the fact that “as you know our exposure is on the limit. We cannot and I cannot borrow any more money and I have made that commitment to the people of Kenya,”

Ruto confirmed that leaders from at least four EAC countries approached China for the continuation of the railway as a package.

“Before I went to china I had a conversation with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and we agreed on the strategy to extend the railway line. We have a strategy all the way,”

“We are all aligned. We agreed as Kenya, Uganda, DRC, and even Congo Brazaville on how to extend SGR,” noting that the leaders went to see President Xi Jinping with the same request.

“That tells you we are good in the region,” he said

Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway line that connects Mombasa-Nairobi and Naivasha was built and financed by China and has been in operations since 2017 and has since eased movement of goods and services, cutting costs and travel time.

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