Building a Railway Economy

 The largest cities in Kenya today have a thing in common, all the three have been important railway terminals for a long time. Nairobi became Kenya’s capital city in early 1900’s when the swampy town became connected to Mombasa port through a railway line. Kisumu on the other hand has expanded in size since 1901 when the railway line was connected to the lake port. The difference in size between Kisumu and Port Victoria is largely attributable to the fact that Kisumu is a key railway terminal for goods arriving from Mombasa for Shipment to Jinja and Port Bell in Uganda. Port Victoria, which had been initially considered by British Colonialists to host the Lake Port connecting Mombasa to Uganda has remained a small town incomparable to Kisumu for the obvious reason. President Kenyatta has invested billions of Kenya Shillings to the construction of the Mombasa – Suswa Standard Gauge Railway with a further rehabilitation of the Thika – Nanyuki Meter Gauge Railway. This efforts will see opening up of trade in the country. Naivasha and Nanyuki are some of the Key terminals which are expected to grow into cities by Kenya’s centenary. Malaba border in Western Kenya is also expected to grow into a large town should the initial plan to extend the SGR to Uganda be implemented.

Construction of a good road network is also very key in urbanizing the country’s trade centers, this is why Kenol, Mau Summit and Makutano Junctions are upcoming towns. In his book, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith states that the wealth of any nation is not so much dependent on the amount of money circulating as it is dependent on the amount of goods and services changing hands. For goods and services to change hands, the economy of a country should be opened up through road, railway, and air and sea infrastructure. Movement of passengers and commodities expands markets for trade and wealth creation. Therefore as the country endeavors to eradicate poverty through industrialization by 2030, more roads are supposed to be upgraded to bitumen standards, more towns must be connected to the railway line, more air and sea ports should be constructed and internet speed needs to be further upgraded. This will create an enabling environment for new businesses to start and create millions of jobs for Kenya.

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