The Mombasa-Nairobi railway passenger train passes the Mombasa West station. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
by Xinhua Writer Zhu Shaobin
MOMBASA, Kenya, June 2 (Xinhua) -- In proud cheers, Kenyans witnessed the birth of a millennium railway project that will transform their lives. And once again, China has proved itself a true and capable friend behind Africa's growth story.
Defying often ill-intended accusations of China's so-called hidden motives beyond what is in fact mutually-beneficial cooperation, Kenyans themselves are on the contrary saying the flagship project has been a model of cooperation since the country's independence.
Built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, the project costing 3.8 billion U.S. dollars is finished 18 months ahead of schedule, expediting delivery of practical benefits to the economy and the people.
Cutting travel time by half for passengers and downing the cost of freight transport by almost half are the immediate double benefits that the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR) brings, and it is undoubtedly a dream come true for ordinary passengers and businessmen alike.
It should also be noted that the mega-project has been a result of Chinese engagement with Africa that adheres to the policy of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith.
The SGR railway has been a continuity of traditional China-Africa friendship and cooperation. China's sincerity and dedication to the improvement of infrastructure networks on the African continent is well known to the world.
Kenya's female train drivers are learning instructions from their Chinese teacher. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
Since the 1970s, when many African states became independent, China has aided the construction of the monumental Tanzania-Zambia railway as well as many other defining projects in countries such as Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
China-Africa pragmatic cooperation is bringing about concrete benefits. The SGR project's work force is 90 percent composed of locals, contrary to baseless claims of Chinese snatching up jobs of Africans. The total number of jobs created locally hit 46,000. Over 40,000 locals also received various levels of training, covering construction and operation of the railway.
The training and transfer of knowledge are clear evidence of China's affinity toward their African partners because China likes to see Africa achieve self-reliant development.
As passengers aboard the train are stunned by views of Kenya's natural wonders on a modern train hurtling past iconic wildlife species but creating no trouble for their land, one will truly appreciate the harmonious merge of nature and technology through a ride experience.
Under the African aspiration of "Connecting Nations, Prospering People", the SGR will further expand to neighboring countries, and China, based on its records so far, will continue, as ever, to prove itself a true partner capable to help Africa realize its ambitions.