评论:从一个经济学家的旅行看中国在肯尼亚新建的铁路

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我从小在肯尼亚首都内罗毕长大。我们家每年都去美丽的蒙巴萨海滨度假,但每次度假的开头和结尾都让人不安。
在当年非常难走的单行道上,我和妹妹在汽车上要不停地向其他司机招手,要不就是数着路上过了多少个坑。后来我长大了,能自己开车走这条路了,这时政府获得世界银行和欧盟资金进行了道路翻修扩建,形成了双行道,也填平了路上许多危险的坑,避免出人命。
今天,肯尼亚改造升级的内罗毕—蒙巴萨新铁路也将带来类似的变化,这项工程由中国公司实施。
我上次坐火车走这条线路是跟丈夫一起,那是他第一次去肯尼亚。我想给他留下深刻印象,因此没有选择只需要一小时的飞机、也没有选择夜班大巴,而是选择了坐夜班卧铺列车,行走在1896年至1901年英国殖民者建设的轨道上。这似乎是一个很浪漫的选择。
列车运营方努力去复制殖民时代的浪漫,车厢铺着干净洁白的床具,餐车提供美味的鸡蛋面包当早餐。尽管他们很努力,但列车本身老旧,行进起来摇摇晃晃。还有一点是列车运营方无法避免也无法预见的,由于一只大象上了铁轨,造成列车晚点7个小时。当时我们听说南非和土耳其考虑投资翻修这条线路,而且很快就能动工。
不幸的是,南非和土耳其的投资没有成为现实。不过,肯尼亚政府于2013年发起铁路改造项目招标。政府认为从内罗毕到蒙巴萨之间的客货运列车运行时间应缩短到4小时,以促进旅游和贸易,同时减少公路上的客货运车流。这个绿色发展愿景最终得到中国公司和银行的响应,总造价为32亿美元。
时间快进到今天,这条线路终于投入运营了。肯尼亚和其他国家的一些评论人士曾说这个项目造价太高了,特别是相对于世界其他地区新建铁路而言。不过也有人指出,造价高是有道理的,因为铁路进行了定制改造,包括为避免干扰破坏野生动物迁徙路线而额外建造桥梁等。我想当年我遇到的大象拦路问题应该解决了。造价是否合理还要比较一下新旧列车票价。新列车头等舱票价估计约30美元,经济舱票价约9美元,与夜车价格相当。我认为按这样的价格普通肯尼亚人会愿意买票坐新列车的。
也有评论人士对肯尼亚建设新铁路承担的债务感到担心,包括这条线路今后延伸到非洲大陆其他内陆国家如卢旺达等产生的成本。不过他们没有提到的是,根据世界经济论坛的数据,肯尼亚的公共债务与国内生产总值之比仅排在世界第77位,这比欧洲许多国家都更具可持续性,包括英国乃至经济状况更坚实的德国。国际货币基金组织预计2017年肯尼亚经济将增长6%,这比中国和肯尼亚邻国埃塞俄比亚略低,但大大高于美欧整体水平。
诚然,肯尼亚的新铁路建设并非一帆风顺,今后发展也不会一马平川。建设铁路过程中雇了多少肯尼亚员工问题发生过争议,铁路质量维护和运营效率等问题则需要持续监督。
庆幸的是,肯尼亚有着非常开放的文化和强健的公民社会,出了问题很快就会发现,这样肯尼亚政府和中国合作伙伴就能快速加以解决。
现在我对新铁路很激动,等不及了想回肯尼亚开启美丽新线路的首次旅行,尽享舒适而不是沿途担惊受怕。我希望许多人都能享受舒适的旅行,希望大象别再来拦路了!

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EDMOND BOSILONG

Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.

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Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.

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Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.

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Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.

JUDITH MWAI

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Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.

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JING CAI

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Jing leads China-African health and agriculture cooperation research at Development Reimagined, having managed our FOCAC Policy Analysis and Advocacy project. She is also the co-author of “China-Africa Health Cooperation under FOCAC Umbrella”, in which she analysed China’s commitments around health cooperation since the first FOCAC summit and deepdived into four African countries’ health overview, challenges and cooperation with China as cases studies. Before DR, Jing worked at GIZ Cambodia on M&E of a disability advocacy project. She also worked as a translator with Chinese medical team in Benin.

PATRICK ANAM

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Patrick is an International Trade Policy and Trade Law Expert with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes trade law, trade policy analysis and regional integration. He is currently engaged with Development Reimagined as a Senior Trade Analyst and was the lead author of Development Reimagined's recent Report on Africa-China Relations titled "From China-Africa to Africa- China: A Blue Print for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide Strategy Towards China." and “Reimaging FOCAC Going Forward.” Patrick has previously consulted for the East African Community, UNECA and for the Kenya Ministry of Trade.

ROSIE FLOWERS

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Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

JADE SCARFE

Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

Jade is a Project Manager for Development Reimagined’s flagship project Africa Unconstrained, which focuses on financing needs and debt vulnerabilities of African countries. Her research focuses on China-Africa development finance alongside debt vulnerabilities, infrastructure needs and South-South cooperation. She has worked with a breadth of stakeholders from China, Africa and the wider international community, including governments, private sector, NGOs and civil society. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Africa Report, The China-Africa Project, The Diplomat and more. Jade holds a Master’s in China and Globalisation studies from King’s College London.

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Rosie is the Project Manager of Africa Reimagined (AR) at Development Reimagined (DR) where she supports high-end African brands with entering the Chinese market by operating services such as trademark protection, Chinese market research, Chinese partnership building, and Africa to China logistical support and import/export services. Rosie has worked with DR for over two years now with proven success in helping high-end African brands navigate the Chinese market. She is extremely passionate about her work because more African brands selling in the Chinese marketplace means African countries can export MORE value-added goods, create MORE jobs and foster MORE innovation in African countries.

Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.

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Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.

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Ferdinando’s research at Development Reimagined is centred on South-South Cooperation dynamics, specifically on the analysis of Chinese investment and debt flows in Africa and their linkages to African industrialisation. He is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, after having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Development Studies.

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David is a Research and data analyst at Development Reimagined. His scholarly focus is mostly on interdisciplinary research in demographic economics and development with interests in migration, economic development and policy, education, health and subjective well-being. He is currently a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela University from which he also holds B.com Economics and Statistics and M.com respectively.

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Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.

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Yixin is a Junior Research Analyst and her focus areas is on public-private partnership and entrepreneurship. She has over three years of working experience in both private and public sectors in Ethiopia. She was the China Liaison Officer for project ‘Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa’ at International Trade Centre, where she accumulated rich experience in investment and trade promotion

HANNAH RYDER

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Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.