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Nairobi signs US$75 million transport deal with Chinese auto manufacturer

The transport system in Nairobi is mainly run by private entities, and is not regulated correctly. (Image source: Mick/Flickr)

The Nairobi county has signed a US$75mn deal with Chinese auto manufacturer Foton Motor to buy 266 buses for the city’s metro transport system

The 62-seater buses cost US$118,000 and part of the funds allocated for the deal would be utilised to design and develop terminals and fleet management systems, the government officials said.

The deal was signed by Evans Kidero, governor of Nairobi, and Foton Motor officials.

According to the deal, Foton Motor would supply high capacity buses to cover arterial roads in the city. The Chinese automaker has also agreed to provide 5,000 buses to Nairobi over the next five years.

Calvin Guo, chief executive of Foton East Africa, said, “We are only starting this project and are carefully choosing which integrated model to use.”

The company would decide later whether to assemble buses locally or import readymade units from China, added Guo.

According to Kidero, 2.5mn residents rely on public transport in Nairobi. However, the city’s transport system is unregulated, leading to inefficient service. In order to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions, a mass public transport system would be needed, he added

However, officials from Nairobi’s City Council said that they would first survey China’s transport systems by sending a team of engineers to the East Asian country.

“We want our engineers to be trained before any deployment of buses occurs,” said Evans Ondieki, country executive for transport in Nairobi, adding that processes for regulatory and legislative framework for the planned transport system were underway.

By Mwangi Mumero

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