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The Real Cost of Kenya’s New Railway

Kenya this week is celebrating 1,000 days of standard gauge railway operation, with 13,000 trains covering 6.3 million kilometers. The Chinese-built railway moves people and goods from the port of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi, and also to a small town in Naivasha. As the government boasts about the country’s most expensive infrastructure project since independence, the $3.2 billion cost has moved front and center. Many Kenyans think the country got a raw deal compared to its neighbors, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Critics of the projects say they are putting the country into a debt crisis and making it indebted to China. Okiya Omtata is an activist who challenged the government in court to make a deal with China public since 2013. Omtata has petitioned the court to terminate the railway deal with the Chinese. He also argues the cost of the railway construction was inflated.