In the event of EVD cases arriving in Goma and of person-to-person transmission taking place in the backstreets of the city, prior calculations may start to change. In informal conversations, there is a disturbing appetite in parts of Rwanda for sealing its borders and bunkering down. ‘We would rather starve than die of Ebola’, one contact told me. We can all hope it never comes to that, but a lot more work still needs to be done to prevent it.
Thousands of truck drivers working on cross-border corridor routes in southern Africa will be spending Christmas on the road and away from their families. They will get no holiday break from the exhausting and poorly-paid work routine which these footsoldiers of global supply chain capitalism are accustomed to.
Mombasa, Kenya’s second city, is dying. The process is gaining pace, deliberate, and wrapped up in lofty rhetoric about its bright future. Under tropical palms, crime and unemployment in the port town are rising, businesses are fleeing, and public services in everything from waste collection to road repairs are running out of money.
Ultimately, the SGR is in its infancy as a passenger line, and many on board (myself included) were keen to take photos and to give it the benefit of the doubt. Already since its launch there have been a number of important changes to its operations – in ticket prices, train schedules, line extensions and the use of online booking and Mpesa payments to secure a seat.
The SGR’s future most likely hangs on the Kenyan government’s dedication to maintaining it. The real test of the railway will come when the hype wears off, it ceases to win votes, and the rest of the taps stop working.
African Governance and Space (AFRIGOS) is a five-year project examining transport corridors, border towns and port cities in four regions of Africa. It is based at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for African Studies and led by Prof. Paul Nugent. The AFRIGOS team also includes Senior Research Fellows Dr. Wolfgang Zeller and Dr. Jose-Maria Munoz, as well as postdoctoral Research Fellows Dr. Sidy Cissokho and Dr. Hugh Lamarque. Dr. Isabella Soi from the University of Cagliari is an affiliated researcher to the project, contributing to the East Africa research. Elisa Gambino joined the AFRIGOS project in September 2017 as Doctoral Researcher working on Chinese infrastructure investment in East Africa and Africa's role in the Belt and Road Initiative.