The state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has been awarded the multi-billion-dollar contract to complete a rail link that will span Kenya from east to west.

In September this year, CCCC and the Kenyan government agreed a US$ 1.48 billion deal to extend the under-construction Mombasa-Nairobi link by 120 km, to include Naivasha, north-west of the country’s capital.

This followed an earlier contract for CCCC’s subsidiary company, China Road and Bridge Corp, to build the new Nairobi-Mombasa line, at a cost of US$ 3.8 billion and with a scheduled completion date of 2017.

The latest agreement allows CCCC to build two more sections of the line, thereby completing the 477 km link between Nairobi and Malaba.

The fully-initialised link running from Mombasa on Kenya's east coast to Malaba on the western border with Uganda will extend to 960 km and is expected to significantly boost economic and industrial growth in the country.

In a statement, CCCC said, "The link will promote employment in Kenya and also regional economic development, making Kenya more influential politically and economically in East Africa. It will also improve interaction and interworking in East Africa and speed up its integration process."

CCCC’s chairman, Liu Qitao, said his company was awarded the new contract during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg earlier this month, as part of a total US$ 5 billion of contracts secured at the event by CCCC.

At the same forum, China’s president Xi Jinping announced a package of aid and loans to Africa, totalling US$ 60 billion, largely to help the continent improve its infrastructure.

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