Politician Raila Odinga has said he will accompany President Uhuru Kenyatta to China next week to seek funds for the extension of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Naivasha to Kisumu.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader said on Saturday that the Beijing visit will pave way for a Sh368 billion loan.
This, he said, will help revive the Kisumu inland port whose fortunes have dwindled due to the collapse of the dilapidated railway.
“I will be part of the delegation that will accompany the President to the Asian country next week. The new SGR line will extend from Naivasha to Narok, Bomet, Sondu and finally Kisumu,” Mr Odinga told a crowd during a stopover rally at Sondu market in Kisumu on Saturday.
He was on his way to a funeral in Wanda village, Nyakach Sub-county.
The plans come after a high-powered delegation, comprising officials from Treasury, Kenya Railways Corporation, the Transport ministry and the State Law Office, met last week to hammer out details of the borrowing ahead of the official signing.
Mr Odinga, the African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, noted that the completion of the SGR will have a huge impact on the lakeside city.
The underutilised port will be opened up, he said, noting its potential to boost the county’s economy.
“We are going to establish a special economic zone in Kisumu and make the city the hub of East Africa,” he said.
Mr Odinga also noted that the infrastructure will provide employment opportunities for thousands of Kenyans.