Kenyan President has today launched the second phase of the multi-billion shilling Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Nairobi to Naivasha.
Media reports indicate that President Uhuru Kenyatta was accompanied to the launch site at Embulbul in Ngong by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina.
In Kenya construction of the SGR has faced challenges, with the youth in project areas claiming that they had not benefitted from the employment opportunities the railway offers. Instead, the youth said, it was the Chinese that had taken up the jobs meant for the locals.
Also, the construction of SGR Phase 2A has met with tough resistance from conservationists, who argue that its route through the Nairobi National Park would interfere with wildlife.
Further, the last minute pullout of Rwanda from the SGR in May this year threaten to disrupt the entire project, with CS Macharia saying then his country could opt to end its participation in either Naivasha or Kisumu.
Meanwhile, in Uganda construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is expected to start by the end of this year.
According to the SGR Project Coordinator Kasingye Kyamugambi, so far 90 per cent of the people working on SGR in Uganda are indigenous, a move perhaps taken to avert the scenario in Kenya where youths protested the project had not opened up employment opportunities for them.
Previously a four-nation undertaking, the SGR was supposed to wade through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.