The United Kingdom has made the decision to temporarily withhold the disbursement of £100 million for the development of the Nairobi Railways City Project in Kenya.
This move comes as a result of the Kenyan government’s failure to award contracts to contractors to initiate the construction of the project.
The £100 million funding, which accounts for approximately half of the total funding for the first phase of the project, was intended to revitalize the area around Nairobi’s Central Railway station and alleviate congestion in the Central Business District while creating employment opportunities.
The Nairobi Railways City Project is considered to be the UK’s largest investment in Kenya. The project aims to construct a green city on Kenya Railways land, featuring office blocks, shopping malls, and a light industrial hub. Additionally, the grand plan includes economic zones that will host cutting-edge industries and small and medium-sized enterprises, thereby creating over 200,000 jobs. This ambitious venture was initially conceptualized during former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration but was officially launched last year, with an estimated cost of Ksh28 billion.
However, despite the project’s launch and the excitement surrounding it, the construction process has faced significant delays. To date, construction has not yet commenced, raising concerns about the timely completion of the project. The proposed site encompasses 425 acres of land, including the Nairobi Central Railway Station, the marshaling yard, and the Kenya Railways Pension Scheme Land, commonly known as the Landimawe Estate.
The Nairobi Railways City Project is part of a broader initiative that encompasses six projects with a cumulative value of KES 500 billion. These projects were fast-tracked under a UK pact signed between President William Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2022. The aim of these projects is to boost economic development in Kenya and strengthen the ties between the two nations.
As per the statements made by Kenya Railways, the project had the potential to revitalize the vicinity surrounding Nairobi Central Railway Station by transforming it into a contemporary Railway City. Its objectives included establishing a livable and sustainable urban space, as well as developing a Transit Oriented Development (ToD) to facilitate the usage of the Nairobi Commuter Rail.
Furthermore, the project aimed to establish a transportation hub equipped with multi-modal transport facilities, expand the southern region of Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD), and create an iconic development that would position Nairobi as a prominent global city.
However, the current status of the Nairobi Railways City Project is uncertain due to delays in securing funding, which raises doubts about its progress and implementation.