President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) will not be halted because of naysayers from the West.
“Don’t tell us what The Economist says based on the West. We must do our things based on the interests of the people,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta. He was speaking in response to an article published in June by London-based weekly magazine, The Economist, which criticised Kenya’s construction of the Sh327 billion standard gauge railway (SGR) between Mombasa port and capital Nairobi, saying the railroad is third-rate with “mediocre” speeds.
“We know what we need,” President Kenyatta said Monday during an infrastructure summit at State House.
The Economist quoted consultants from the World Bank’s private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, who felt it would have been more cost-effective to rehabilitate the existing ageing railway.
He cited the example of the Asian Tigers, saying they received similar negative advice and reports from World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) but opted to forge ahead -saying it led to their transformative growth and improved welfare to the people.
“Its fastest trains will do a fairly mediocre 80kph. Much as with the old railway, parts of the new line will be single-track, forcing trains to stop, often for hours, to let others pass. Most absurdly, it is built to a lower standard of load-bearing than most other new freight railways,” read the weekly publication in part, dampening appraisal of the SGR.