Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni will become the first foreign head of state to travel by train on a Chinese-funded railway line from Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi.
He will be accompanied by his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, as the two leaders focus on strengthening ties between their nations.
Mr Museveni began a state visit to Kenya on Wednesday.
Mr Museveni said the railway line – built at a cost of $3.2bn (£2.5bn) – had ended landlocked Uganda’s “perennial problems of delays” of cargo at the port of Mombasa, and he hoped that it would be extended to reach Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
“With reinforcement for inter-land economy, we are looking forward to the extension of the SGR [standard gauge railway].
“I know that once completed it will take 24 hours to Kampala,” Museveni was quoted by The East African as saying.
Mr Kenyatta opened the railway line in May last year, hailing it as a new chapter in the East African state’s history.
The railway line was Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project since independence from the UK in 1963.
However, it has been dogged by controversy. Two senior Kenyan government officials were charged in court with fraud in August last year over the building of the railway line.
The two were accused of paying more than $2m in compensation to private firms which falsely claimed to own land through which the line ran.
The officials and 15 other accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.