|Wang Yi: Mombasa-Nairobi Railway can be a new symbol of China-Africa friendship|
On January 10, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi took the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger train during his stopover in Kenya to inspect the construction and operation of the cooperation project.
According to the SGR operation team, with a total distance of 472 kilometers, the SGR is the first standard gauge railway completed in Africa, which was designed using Chinese technology, standard, equipment and funding. The project created a total of 30,000 local jobs during construction. AfriStar, a locally registered company was set up to run the SGR, with 2,248, or nearly 80%, of its employees from Kenya. Four passenger trains run on a daily basis. Since its opening in May 2017, the SGR has carried 4 million passengers, with an average attendance rate of 95%. Sixteen freight trains run on an average daily basis, and nearly 6 million tons of cargo was transported in 2019, up 70% compared with 2018. According to the operation team, the SGR passes through Kenya's largest conservation park, Tsavo National Park. The SGR has become a charming sight on the African continent. It has not only addressed the urgent local transport needs and significantly reduced transport costs, but also met high standards of environmental requirements and effectively boosted the coastal tourism and economic development of Kenya, rapidly driving the growth of passenger demand. The trains are often packed and it's hard to get a seat.
Wang Yi exchanged views with the railway operation team and gave full recognition to the successful construction and operation of this project. Wang Yi said, this project provides a fresh example for Chinese enterprises that operate and develop overseas, and valuable experience for upgrading China's cooperation with other countries. The SGR has been a great success. It is warmly welcomed by the Kenyan people and well received by all sectors of society. It may be called the Tanzania-Zambia Railway of the new era and is becoming a new symbol of the friendship between China and Kenya and between China and Africa. As a good friend, good partner and good brother of Africa, China has always fully respected Africa and helped Africa build infrastructure and accelerate economic and social development in accordance with the needs of African countries, which has brought tangible benefits to African countries and people. This is also the fundamental reason why China-Africa cooperation has been welcomed by African countries.
Wang Yi said, the SGR is a benchmark for the mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between China and Africa, and it is also the result of the joint efforts to develop cooperation under the "Belt and Road Initiative." These are powerful facts that render all accusations against China-Africa cooperation pale and feeble.