How Kenya plans to roll out Sh28bn Nairobi railway city


A rendered image design of Nairobi Railway City. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Kenya Railways has asked the government to build an underground tunnel linking the Green Park terminal at Uhuru Park to Haile Selassie avenue to ease Uhuru Highway congestion as part of the Sh28 billion Nairobi central railway city project.

The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has also asked Parliament to support the relocation of public service vehicles (matatus) from the railway station to the new bus park, which is now a battlefront between public service vehicles with the county government, as it embarks on the redevelopment of the railway city.

KRC managing director Philip Mainga on Tuesday told MPs that Kenya has already received Sh12 billion towards phase one of the project, which seeks to regenerate the Nairobi Central Railway Station and its surrounding areas into a multi-billion shillings transit-oriented and urban development.

Kenya struck a deal with the United Kingdom which in December committed £80 million (Sh11.9 billion) to build a green city of office blocks, malls and a light industrial hub on Kenya Railways land in fresh efforts to decongest the Central Business District as well as create employment.

The new city will relieve the CBD of part of the load in hosting enterprises through setting up economic zones that will comprise hi-tech industries and SMEs in a development set to create over 200,000 new jobs.

The multi-modal facility, which will be designed by British architects, will be situated within a 425-acre piece, of which Kenya Railways owns 292 acres.

“Kenya Railways seeks the support of the political leaders in addition to the government intervention especially in financing the project and relocation of matatus from the Railways terminus,” he said in Nairobi.

“To fast track the commencement and progression of the project there is a need for relocation of matatus from the Railways bus station to Green Park in Uhuru Park.”

Mainga told MPs that the National Treasury and Attorney General should also fast-track the financing agreement with United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF) to enable the commencement of works.


Kenya railways corporation managing director Philip Mainga on March 7, 2023. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

He said the total area is approximately 425 acres, which is within the main core railway operational area and that Kenya Railways has already secured funds from the National Treasury to start works on the Nairobi Railway City.

Mr Mainga said early works and construction of the 80-metre pedestrian bridge linking Kenya Polytechnic and Bunyala road in the Industrial area are currently underway.

“Further, KRC has requested the government of Kenya, through the National Treasury, to help secure financing for the design and construction of the Central Station and Public Square from UKEF,” he told the committee chaired by George Macharia.

“The National Treasury approved the project concept note and allocated KR Sh1.35 billion for financing phase 1 A of the project. This includes financing of the government part and start of construction of a Pedestrian Footbridge, Nairobi railway yard drainage and other Nairobi Railway city early works.”

He said to secure favourable terms of financing (95 percent to five percent) as provided for in the memorandum of understanding, KR went ahead and facilitated prospective contractors to submit applications to the UKEF for other infrastructural projects.

“This was completed on November 4, 2022, and the Kenyan government has 18 months to finalise the procurement of works.

“It is expected that the main contractors for works shall have been procured before the end of the first quarter of the financial year 2023/24,” said Mr Mainga.

He said Britain has committed to providing 95 percent of the total funding requirement while Kenya will provide five percent of the project cost.

“The proposed entire list of project components under the Nairobi Railway City Project for funding under UKEF is 1.5 billion pounds which is about Sh236 billion,” Mr Mainga said.

He said the government has been receiving technical support from the United Kingdom government through the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and KPMG. KR says it has retained KPMG as the consultant.

“The strategic location of the Nairobi Central Railway Station area positions it perfectly to be an iconic nerve centre for the Nairobi Multimodal Transport System with a world-class new Central Railway Station incorporating mixed-use commercial developments, hotels and intermodal facilities,” said KRC.

The facility was part of the six projects worth Sh500 billion to be fast-tracked under a new UK pact signed on the sidelines of the recently-concluded climate conference COP17 held in Egypt.

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