China Road and Bridge Corporation, the contractor for the standard gauge railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi, says the project will create more than 30,000 jobs for Kenyans.
The company says besides direct jobs from the Sh327 billion infrastructure project, the largest ever undertaken in Kenya, there is potential to the coming on board of about 13,000 new indirect jobs, largely through local firms expected to supply various inputs and services necessary for the venture.
"We will, as much as possible, source inputs from local suppliers. We are here to create opportunities and jobs for Kenyans and not to take away the same to China," said CRBC Liaison and Cooperation Affairs Julius Li.
According to estimates by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, the SGR, which will cover 609 kilometers of railway track in Phase I, is expected to spawn at least 60 new jobs per kilometer of track during the construction phase.
"Where there is local capacity, we shall mobilize it for the optimal realization of the project. Where it is absent, we shall create it through a deliberate focus on training and technology transfer to Kenyan workers. Our aim is to build a critical mass of bankable personnel with the requisite skills for constructing, maintaining and operating a modern railway service in this country," said Li.
Li said currently, there are 85 Chinese employees working in the CRBC Kenya office together with 1,582 local employees, the latter accounting for a significant 95 per cent of the total number of staff. Local employees are largely engaged in equipment operation, experiment, survey, equipment maintenance and project management, among others.