This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY FOR THE MOMBASA – KAMPALA – KIGALI/JUBA STANDARD GAUGE RAILWAY, CHANGAMWE, MOMBASA, 28TH NOVEMBER, 2 !" Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel most delighted to preside over this historic milestone. I say this because what we are doing here today will definitely transform the course of development not just for Kenya but for the entire East frica region. Ladies and Gentlemen, !e in East frica have embar"ed on an irreversible journey to full integration. !e are convinced integration is the way to fast#trac" transformation of our economies and to rapidly and significantly improve the lives of our people. $ltimately, we want our people to attain a high standard of living underpinned by a well#developed, competitive industrial economy. !e have a shared roadmap to guide and ensure the success of this transformation. Ladies and Gentlemen, %his event is the culmination of two commitments. %he first is Kenya&s recognition of its critical role as the Gateway to East frica, and the resultant commitment to discharge this role in a responsible, neighbourly manner. 'econdly, there is the joint commitment of the 'tates served by the (orthern %ransport )orridor to ease the transportation logistics and reduce transportation costs from the *ort of Mombasa and, later, from the *ort of Lamu, to all East frican destinations. I would li"e at this point to ma"e it clear that Kenya&s interest is not to just benefit itself but e+ually important our neighbours too. !e want the ,ederal -emocratic .epublic of Ethiopia, the .epublic of 'outh 'udan, the .epublic of $ganda, the .epublic of .wanda, the .epublic of /urundi, the -emocratic .epublic of )ongo and the $nited .epublic of %an0ania to parta"e fully in the benefits arising from our natural vantage point. %o achieve this, my Government has begun developing and implementing modern seamless transport logistics and communications systems. %hese systems are to be deployed for the benefit of all sta"eholders of our transport networ". 1ur neighbours are critical sta"eholders, and our efforts are intended to give them comfort that we will fully complement their national infrastructure to support their growing economies. s a Gateway 'tate, we will serve and give to our neighbours generously and unstintingly. s a result, East frica will become a competitive
investment destination. Ladies and Gentlemen, .egional Governments have embar"ed on a raft of intensive infrastructure development initiatives. %hey include power generation and transmission connectivity, crude and refined petroleum products pipelines and railway lines. Kenya is actively involved in these infrastructure initiatives because we recogni0e a virtuous cycle, whereby a growing East frican economy will increase the volume of business at our *orts. In other words, a busy, growing East frica is good for us as a Gateway. ,or this reason, we are wor"ing hard to achieve efficiency and capacity to handle massive freight volumes at the port of Mombasa. %o this end, port operations are being reorgani0ed to improve the2turn#around& time for ships. 'o far, I am happy to report that our efforts have reduced that time from 33 to 4 days. /ut we are hardly done. s you recall, in ugust this year we commissioned /erth 35, which, we e6pect, will further reduce the turn#around time. Moreover, two additional berths are under construction, while older ones are being remodeled and moderni0ed. Ladies and Gentlemen, moderni0ed, efficient port capable of off#loading large freight volumes re+uires the support of an e+ually modern and efficient inland transport system. %his is the challenge of the (orthern )orridor7 the ability to guarantee e6peditious freight delivery to regional destinations, which has significant economic implications. *resently, our region relies almost e6clusively on road transport, whose maintenance cost is not only high but unsustainable. Moreover, it is important to note that this cost translates to higher prices for our goods and services than the prices of goods in places with good and efficient transport infrastructure. Literally spea"ing, our journey to regional economic transformation is impeded by the high cost of transporting cargo by road. %hat is why the Governments of Kenya, $ganda and .wanda have determined that a solution to this challenge must be effected urgently. %his consensus informs the initiative to build a high#capacity, high#speed standard gauge railway connecting Mombasa to Kampala, and onwards to Kigali. %o cement this consensus, our Governments have signed a %rilateral greement to e6pedite the development of this railway. !e intend to ma"e it operational by 893:. %here is urgency, and we are committed to reali0e this dream. Ladies and Gentlemen, !e have been assured by my brother, ;is E6cellency *resident 'alva Kiir of the 'outh 'udan that his Government intends to join the railway development project. In due course, therefore, the construction plans
will e6tend to <uba. $pon completion of the standard gauge railway, transport costs in the region are e6pected to reduce by more than 49 per cent. %his in turn will spur e6panded production and reduce the cost of goods and services. %his dividend is the pri0e we see" for East frica. %his is the reason why we must view the substantial investment in the railway as a worthy investment to underpin the regional economic agenda. n economy only ever thrives on the foundation of proper infrastructure. Ladies and Gentlemen, %he road networ" continues to be important, especially in the so#called last mile transport needs of our region&s business community. Kenya will continue to invest in the development of roads. 'imilarly, we will retain and improve the e6isting metre gauge railway system as it will provide additional capacity in the (orthern )orridor. ,urthermore, this will offer the business community greater choice in transport, and create the competition re+uired to "eep the sector vibrant and cost#efficient. %he ground brea"ing ceremony we are having today mar"s the commencement of *hase 3 of the project, comprising the Mombasa#(airobi segment. It covers =99 "ilometres. -esigns for *hase 8> (airobi#Malaba, with a branch line for Kisumu, is being developed. My Government intends to complete both phases by -ecember, 893:. I, therefore, urge everyone involved to "eep their eye on the finish line. Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me at this juncture e6press my deep gratitude to the *resident of the *eople&s .epublic of )hina, Mr. ?i <inping, for his great personal interest in this project, and his Government&s immense support. )hinese railway technology is the world&s most advanced. )hina has a railway networ" of over 399,999 "ilometres, 39,999 "ilometres of which comprise high#speed passenger railways. %his easily ma"es )hina a world super power in the development of infrastructure. I have no doubt that with )hina&s bilateral support, Kenya will soon have a first world#class railway networ". s I conclude, I want to state here that this ceremony signifies the delivery of a solution that will unloc" vast opportunities and potential in our region. I am loo"ing forward to joining you here sometime in late 893: flag off the first train to Kigali via (airobi and Kampala, delivering the promise of prosperity for all our Eastern frica peoples. %han" you very much, and may God bless you.