Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened a $1.5 billion Chinese-built railway line linking Nairobi to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha on Wednesday, October 16.

It's an extension to the $3.2 billion track between Mombasa and Nairobi, which opened in 2017. The project became Kenya’s largest infrastructure to date and a high-profile achievement for Kenyatta ahead of his successful bid for re-election. As operational issues smoothed out, deeper concerns emerged. The railway cost Kenya nearly $4 billion and may take decades to pay for itself. Environmentalists worry about the impact on a vast nature preserve, and an independent analysis suggests Kenya overpaid, according to research compiled by the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University.

The project was part of the "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure initiative, upgrading land and maritime trade routes between China and Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The development of this railway has been a pet project for Kenyatta, but it's been dogged by problems. (VOA/ Reuters)

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