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Over 25,000 Kenyans employed at Chinese-funded railway project:envoy

Xinhua | Updated: 2015-08-26 22:18

NAIROBI - More than 25,000 Kenyans have been employed for the ongoing construction of a Chinese-funded high-speed railway line linking Kenya's port city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi, according to the Chinese ambassador to Kenya.

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line, being built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence in 1963.

"At present, over 1,000 Chinese experts and more than 25,000 local engineers, project supervisors, and workers are working shoulder by shoulder to speed up the construction," Ambassador Liu said at the opening of an activity held Monday to mark progress made in the project.

The activity was jointly organized by the CRBC, the Chinese embassy and Confucius Institutes in Kenyan universities.

Kenyan and Chinese staff at CRBC and students from Confucius Institutes gave various performances.

"As for now, over 50% of the construction work of sub-grade bridges and culverts has been completed ahead of schedule. The designs of integration engineering of the electric power signals has been completed," Liu said.

He added the project has provided a steady source of market for local traders dealing with construction materials.

The SGR project will be completed by June 2017 to ease transport of passengers and cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi, according to the ambassador.

It has also promoted skill transfer to local employers since work started in January this year.

"The Standard Gauge Railway project recently established a talent training base in order to improve technical capability of Kenyan employees and promote technology transfer," said Liu, noting that the project will produce 15,000 skilled workers, 400 engineers and advanced technicians for Kenya.

The 472km railway will reduce the time passengers travel between Mombasa and Nairobi from the current eight hours to about four and a half hours. Freight trains will travel eight hours between the two cities.

The line is expected to boost Kenya's economy and will finally extend to neighbouring nations in East Africa.

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