Sustainability at the core of Chinese projects in Kenya

A section of the Standard Gauge Railway passes through Nairobi National Park in this photo taken on May 10, 2023. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

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 key infrastructure projects China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has undertaken since 1984 – a huge portfolio of roads, bridges, factories, ports and railways. 

Besides the unimpeachable quality of our work, our endeavour has seen us evolve into a reliable partner for the Kenyan government and the people, offering practical solutions for regional economic development, and bankable public services through government procurement.

Some of the projects we have executed in Kenya, which are living emblems of sustainability and commitment to win-win propositions include the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), a flagship project of the Sino-Kenya “Belt and Road” cooperation.

The Nairobi Expressway made history as the first Toll Road in Kenya and East Africa. The Mombasa-based Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT), 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.

CBRC has built 45 road projects in Kenya, translating into over 2,200km. 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 have improved Kenya’s overall infrastructure, and have been a tangible hook for strengthening friendship between the two countries, besides bolstering economic and trade ties between Beijing and Nairobi.

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

All 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. The Nairobi Expressway employed about 7,000 local workers during construction.

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

These projects have 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 socio-economic development, sustainability is deeply ingrained in the projects’ very core. CRBC has participated in environmental protection, local charitable activities and fulfilled its corporate social responsibilities.

We have built wildlife passages, including 14 large wildlife crossings and 79 bridges along the entire stretch of the SGR, with a clear height of over 6.5 metres, ensuring free movement of wildlife.

We have organised 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.

As Kenya continues on a transformative path towards becoming an emerging middle-income industrialised country by 2030, we are honoured to play a part in this journey.

-The writer is General Manager of China Road and Bridge Corporation