The Standard Gauge Railway is hailed as Kenya’s most expensive project and one that is deemed to be the most beneficial in terms of the movement of goods and services.
Despite being clouded by dubious claims of corruption, the project has impacted the common mwananchi ‘on the ground’.
All through its 472 kilometers, the infrastructure project traversed through many communities in Kenya, offering employment opportunities, raising the living standards of locals, and sparking the growth of areas in its path.
Since undertaking the Standard Gauge Railway, the China Road and Bridge Construction company has been at the forefront of engaging the Kenyan workforce, employing over 30,000 locals.
This translates to about 60 people working on a 1Km stretch of railway.
Some of the staff who were selected by the company had to be flown to China for specialized training at no cost. They came back as teachers, training other technical staff to work on the SGR.
90% of the total staff count working on the project, with a majority of the workforce being between 23 – 35 years old.
This made CRBC the single largest youth employer during the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi line.
Boosting Local businesses
Claims that all raw materials were actually imported from China are considered baseless.
According to research on the type of materials used in the construction, nearly 60% of the materials were sourced locally.
This means that the Chinese only exported machinery and technical expertise in railway building technology in the construction of the SGR.
During research with Kenyan laboratory technicians, it was discovered that locally an available raw material, Volcanic ash, was better than fly ash, which Kenya has been importing to strengthen concrete.
This resulted in a boom for the alternative material, greatly reducing construction costs in Kenya’s building industries
In its duty as a company, CRBC engaged locals and identifies problems, providing solutions at every stop they made.
The CRBC managed to pipe over 1200 meters of water to nearby communities to quench the acute water shortage.