NAIROBI, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Chinese built Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project is promoting regional integration among the East African Community (EAC) member states, an official said on Wednesday.
Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary in Kenya's Ministry of EAC Affairs and Regional Development told a trade forum in Nairobi that governments in the region are investing heavily in improving their rail infrastructure.
"Kenya's SGR is eventually supposed to be connected to all EAC countries, and it is currently of immediate benefit to our neighbors who are land-linked," Mohammed said during the official opening of the high level conference on EAC trade integration.
The three-day event brought together policy makers and academia from the six partner states to review the level of trading in the economic bloc.
The 472km line which runs from the coastal city of Mombasa to capital Nairobi is already operational, while 120 km Nairobi to Naivasha line has almost just complete.
Tanzania is currently constructing its SGR that will eventually connect its main city of Dar es salaam on the Indian Ocean coast to the its border with Burundi.
Mohammed said that the SGR will be a critical component of the regional economies because it is an affordable way to transport bulk cargo.
He observed that the economic bloc is unable to compete with other regions due to the high cost of logistics.
"An interconnected rail transport system will help to lower the cost of transport in the region," the government official said.
He observed that infrastructure development in Kenya is regional in nature because it serves the Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.