Nairobi — Regional leaders have formally signed the Standard Gauge Railway deal with China which will fund and build the line connecting Kenya to other regional countries.
The deal was signed at State House Nairobi, witnessed by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, South Sudan's Salva Kiir and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
President Kenyatta has described the signing of the deal as a milestone in improving infrastructural development in the region which has lagged behind for centuries.
"The relationship between ourselves and China is based on mutual trust, because we are pursuing inclusive development and promoting inventive practical cooperation," Kenyatta said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who is leading a high-powered delegation says the signing of the financing agreement of the deal is a major milestone in enhancing the partnership between Africa and China.
"This project demonstrates that there is equal cooperation and mutual benefit between China and the East African countries, and the railway is a very important part of transport infrastructure development," Li said.
Uganda's President Museveni who spoke on behalf of the East African leaders lauded China for supporting the project, with no conditions imposed by other development partners.
"We are happy to see that China is concentrating on the real issues of development, they don't give lectures on how to run local governments, they concentrate on projects of mutual gains," Museveni said.