Sustainability at the core of Chinese investments


Nairobi Expressway along Waiyaki Way, Westlands in this photo taken on April 16, 2022. Nairobi Expressway made history as the first toll road in Kenya and the East African region. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Nearly 40 years since our first project in Kenya, we remain true to sustainability and mutuality in all our dealings with the people of this great country.

This imprint of a win-win proposition is discernible in all the key infrastructure projects China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has undertaken in the country since 1984 – a huge and growing portfolio of roads, bridges, factories, ports and railways.

Besides the quality of our work, that seeks to meet the needs of Kenyans, our endeavour has seen us evolve into a reliable partner for the government and the people of Kenya, offering practical solutions for regional economic development, and bankable public services through public procurement.

Some of the projects we have executed in Kenya, which are living emblems of the principles of sustainability and our constant commitment to win-win propositions, include the standard gauge railway (SGR), a flagship project of the Sino-Kenya “Belt and Road” cooperation.

There is the Nairobi Expressway, which made history as the first toll road in Kenya and the East African region. The Mombasa-based Kipevu Oil Terminal is Kenya’s most modern oil and gas handling facility. The Nairobi Ring Road has been critical in mitigating traffic congestion within the fast-growing metropolitan area.

CBRC has built 45 road projects in Kenya, translating into over 2,200 kilometres. This is besides four port projects, three inland port projects, two SGR projects, five meter gauge railway (MGR) projects and four municipal markets.

These projects are not just significant for the material ways in which they have improved Kenya’s overall infrastructure, they have also been a tangible hook for strengthening the friendship between the two countries, besides bolstering the economic and trade ties between Beijing and Nairobi.

In all these projects, we have been deliberate about the imperative of mutual benefit and a shared destiny between the Kenyan and the Chinese people. This mantra has been infused into all aspects of these projects – design, construction and even operations.

As a direct result, all the core issues related to “policy coordination, facility connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds” have been adequately addressed.

The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR alone has birthed over 74,000 direct and indirect jobs for Kenyans. Through comprehensive training of Kenyan workers, technology transfer and the development of skilled cadres and over 5,000 technical workers, CRBC has materially contributed to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP), with the quantum of the contribution being estimated at over two percent, according to figures from the Kenya Railways Corporation.

The Nairobi Expressway employed about 7,000 local workers during construction. Since its handover to the Government of Kenya and beginning of operations, the project has provided employment to over 500 toll attendants and station-related staff.

Further, we have partnered with over 200 local sub-contractors, procuring over 51,000 tons of steel, 15 million litres of diesel, and 16,000 tons of cement locally.

The completion and opening of these projects have greatly enhanced Nairobi's international image, positioning Kenya as the economic and cultural hub for East and parts of Central Africa.

But beyond the projects’ contribution to the socio-economic development of the Kenyan society, sustainability is something deeply ingrained in the projects’ very core.

CRBC has proactively participated in environmental protection, local charitable activities and fulfilled its corporate social responsibilities.

We have built large wildlife passages, including 14 large wildlife crossings and 79 bridges along the entire stretch of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR track, all with a clear height of over 6.5 meters, ensuring the free movement of wildlife, which is of great economic benefit to the Kenyan economy.

Additionally, we have identified the needs of local communities and have been actively involved in community construction and development.

We have organized over 100 social welfare activities in the region, including public road repairs, support for water projects, cultural and educational donations, medical and health assistance and emergency relief, among others. We have invested millions of dollars in these initiatives, materially benefiting the Kenyan people.

As Kenya continues on a transformative path towards becoming an emerging middle-income industrialized country by 2030, we are honored to be able to play a part in this significant journey. We look forward to collaborating further with Kenya under the "Belt and Road" initiative.

We shall continue working with the Kenyan government, people, and businesses to jointly foster healthy and efficient economic development, create social benefits, safeguard a harmonious and beautiful ecological environment and build more high-quality, landmark infrastructure.

The writer is the general manager of China Road and Bridge Corporation.

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