Kenya in debt restructuring talks with China over SGR lines

By Eric Olander
Posted on Friday, 12 March 2021 15:05

People dance to celebrate the launch of the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo service in Nairobi, Kenya, on 17 December 2019. (Xinhua/Li Yan) - Li Yan

Kenya is in debt restructuring talks with China over its SGR lines.

It’s not clear at this time if the decision to expedite the handover of some SGR responsibilities from Afristar to Kenya Railways is part of the ongoing debt restructuring talks that are purportedly underway between China and Kenya.

Until now, there’s been no public discussion about either rescheduling or reducing the amount of debt owed by Kenya Railways to the China Exim Bank for the loans used to build the SGR.

Cargo volumes

It appears that Kenyan transporters are becoming more comfortable in shipping goods on the Standard Gauge Railway as evidenced by a 28% year-on-year jump in cargo volumes from the Port of Mombasa in February.

Kenya Railways credits improved efficiency for the increased freight traffic to both the inland container depot in the Rift Valley city of Naivasha as well as to Nairobi.

This article was first published in The China-Africa Project.

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