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Kenyan locomotive driver sees common prosperity in China-built railway.



For Concilia Owire

– For Concilia Owire, 28, a pioneer locomotive driver in Kenya, her life and the Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) have been closely linked.

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Majoring in electrical engineering, Owire began studying in Northwest China‘s Shaanxi Province in 2017, where he learned the structure and working principle of Chinese-made diesel locomotive.

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Back in Kenya, he received further training from Chinese railway experts who shared everything with the Kenyans about inspecting trains along the tracks, controlling the dashboard in the cab, driving experience and the development of transport in China, among others.

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Owire has grown with SGR over the years, from an apprentice train conductor to a formal conductor and the assistant manager of SGR’s locomotive department.

She has been promoted to a management position and is responsible for the day-to-day management and training of locomotive drivers in Kenya. In her opinion, the development of SGR will not only provide job opportunities for her and many others, but will also revitalize Kenya’s logistics industry and promote economic development in the entire East African region.

Having a modern railway has been a long-cherished dream of Kenya and its people. In 2017, the SGR, built and operated by China Road and Bridge Corporation, was officially opened to traffic. As the first railway built since Kenya’s independence, it runs 480 km between the capital, Nairobi, and the port city of Mombasa.

By reducing travel time between the two cities by five hours, it also reduces overall logistics costs by approximately 40 percent. By August 31, the railway had carried a total of 8.358 million passengers, with an average occupancy rate held at 90 percent and the maximum number of passengers carried per day exceeded 10,000, according to Africa Star Railway Operation Company (Afristar). ).

Operated and maintained by Afristar, the SGR plays a vital role in transportation in Kenya.

During one of the worst periods of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020, the SGR maintained 24-hour transportation, with seven pairs of freight trains running daily. About 253,000 standard containers were transported and more than 20,000 tons of epidemic prevention and basic supplies such as bulk grains were delivered, Afristar said.

A total of 5,296 TEU of goods, including 96 TEU of anti-epidemic supplies, have been shipped to Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, bolstering Kenya’s economy, meeting the basic needs of citizens and helping East Africa fight the epidemic, it said. afristar

“Kenya’s modern railway has gone through many difficulties and challenges from scratch, but we have overcome them one by one with the help of China,” said Philip Mainga, managing director of Kenya Railways Corporation.

Having witnessed the development of the Kenyan railway system, Owire now better understands the vision of “building a community with a shared future for humanity.”

She said that the modern world faces innumerable challenges, proving that humanity is a community with a shared future. No one and no country can be immune to pain and afflictions. Only peace, development and cooperation can lead to win-win results and build a better world together.

“Kenya and China are a community with a common future, sharing joys and misfortunes. I firmly believe that China-Kenya cooperation will continue to expand, pragmatically and deepen. I wish China more prosperity and long-lived China-Kenya friendship. .” Owire said.

“This is my understanding of the philosophy of community with a shared future for humanity,” Owire said. ■


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