Rebuilt railway good for region
The refurbishment and revival of the old Lunatic Express path has breathed a new life into the economy, given new impetus to inter-county trade and hope for more commerce with neighbouring countries.
This will also give people a safer means of transport between counties, which is a welcome alternative for many Kenyans.
After pumping Sh3.5 billion to revive the Meter-Gauge Railway (MGR) line from Mai Mahiu Inland Depot Container to Longonot town in Naivasha, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will now be linked to the old rail, which is already linked to the hinterland.
This is part of ongoing construction of new MGR links covering 922km — Longonot to Malaba, Nakuru to Kisumu, Gilgil to Nyahururu, Kisumu to Butere and Leseru to Kitale.
This development will improve and reinvigorate freight as well as passenger rail service.
The evacuation of cargo from Mombasa and other inland container depots to the Malaba border will soon be a reality in a move meant to reduce time taken to ferry goods from the port of Mombasa to Uganda.
It will also ease the congestion on roads and the wear and tear courtesy of the transit trucks.
A reliable means of transport is to a large extent a solution to businesses that require or that move cargo. It not only saves time it is also predictable and cost effective.
As a result, the new railway line is a godsend to many business people and companies.
With the government planning to deliver the railway before the end of the year, it is therefore imperative for the country to step out and wear its best diplomatic shoes to ensure other countries utilise the infrastructure.
This is the only way to ensure the refurbishment project makes business sense.
Kenya is also in contention for trade in the $92.3 million Congolese market for its manufactured goods, and banking on a link with Uganda being actualised in the shortest time possible, the government must start smelling the coffee and act fast.
Kenya must quickly join hands with Uganda, to ensure there is a seamless connection of the old metre gauge railway line, so that it can tap the region’s potential.
A railway network to Rwanda and the DRC will be a good thing for regional trade and will integrate the East African region better and faster.
Kenya must lead the drive to foster political will and harness money needed for the projects.