Follow CAP on Social Media

Listen to the CAP Podcast

Q&A: What Role Did Domestic Politics Play in the Development of the Chinese-Built SGR in Kenya?

The embattled Chinese-financed and constructed Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya that now faces a critical test as to whether it will be able to survive the worsening economic crisis. TONY KARUMBA / AFP

Beginning next May, Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway will be “fully owned and run by Kenyans” declared Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani at a graduation ceremony last week for 2,057 students from the country’s Railway Training Institute.

Until now, much of the $6 billion railway has been managed by Afristar, a subsidiary of the China Road and Bridge Corporation that financed and built the rail line. But as part of an effort to reduce expenses, Kenya Railways last year took advantage of a clause in the contract that stated after five years KR would have the option to assume responsibility for ticketing, maintenance, security and other services that have been handled by Afristar.

This marketing content will be shown in place of your protected content to anyone who is not allowed to read the post…

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Africa Project?


The CAP is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Africa stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalist and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Africa discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.