Rwanda is sending engineers to Kenya for training in rail construction ahead of works on the $14bn standard gauge railway network that will eventually link Rwanda to east Africa’s main commercial centres.
Rwanda wants to make sure local skilled people don’t lose out to foreigners on the historic infrastructure project.
We want to avoid a situation where foreign construction firms working on the railway reach here and complain that there are no local skilled engineers and technicians– Jules Ndenga, Ministry of Infrastructure
Construction on the first phase of the Chinese-funded project, between Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, was due to begin last month, after preparations began in January.
Ten Rwandan engineers are expected to go to Kenya in July, said Jules Ndenga, a senior engineer in the Ministry of Infrastructure (MiniNfra), reported Rwandan newspaper The New Times.
"We want to avoid a situation where foreign construction firms working on the railway reach here and complain that there are no local skilled engineers and technicians," said Ndenga.
Work on the segment joining Uganda and Rwanda is expected to start within two years and the Rwandan government says it has embarked on a capacity building programme to prepare local engineers to take up major technical positions when construction begins.
Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan have each agreed to send ten engineers, technicians and artisans to train in Kenya.
"The 10 engineers leaving next month will be directly involved in the technical works and details of railway construction and for four weeks, we expect them to get the required skills that will be needed when construction finally starts here," the Ndenga said.
China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has been contracted to build the 472km Mombasa-Nairobi link.
Studies on the link between Kampala, Uganda and Kigali, Rwanda are ongoing and are expected to be finalised later this year, The New Times reported.
The construction cost of the leg to Rwanda is estimated to be $1.2 billion.
Photograph: A street scene in Kigali, Rwanda (Hansueli Krapf/Wikimedia Commons)