Business News Kenya News

ADB financing for Kenya roads boosts local economy, regional integration

Kenya is making rapid progress in the construction of its part of the Great Trans-African highway that runs from Cairo in Egypt to South Africa’s Cape Town.

The 84km Kenol-Sagana-Marua highway, which runs through central Kenya, is being upgraded from a single lane road to a dual carriageway.

It is expected to be completed in six months, two years earlier than scheduled. The roadway connects Nairobi with major commercial and agriculturally important towns in central, upper eastern and northern Kenya.

Plans for this section of the Great Trans-African highway began nearly 40 years ago. However, construction began only after the African Development Bank stepped in in 2019 to finance the project.

African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in Kenya for a four-day official visit, toured the construction site. He praised the progress the Kenyan government has made.

“I was very impressed with the speed at which this project has been done. Bravo to Kenya and I’m really proud of the work that’s been done,” Adesina told journalists at the site.  “I want to commend the selection of the contractors for everything that they have done,” he added. “This is a very good quality road.”

He said the project would be part of the legacy of the African Development Bank and the Government of Kenya. “The Bank has been instrumental in Kenya’s infrastructure development, increasing its investments in the country by $4 billion since 2015,” Adesina said.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Housing, James Macharia, and officials of the Kenya National Highways Authority joined the Bank chief for the site tour. The Authority is the implementing agency for the project.

Cabinet Secretary Macharia praised the Bank for providing transformative support to Kenya. “The expansion of the road is already delivering many benefits, including a significant reduction of travel time, transport costs and road accidents,” he said.

Macharia cited the “massive” multiplier effect of the road overhaul. He cited the businesses opening up along the road, including new petrol stations and flour and rice milling factories. Two milk processing plants are also expected to be set up in the vicinity.

This will mean employment opportunities and an improvement in the lives of the area’s communities, Macharia said.

Local traders spoke about the project’s impact on their businesses.

Eunice Nderitu, an owner of a butchery and food joint next to the road, has benefited from increased trade as more motorists stop by to buy from her. “The old road had many diversions, which made it difficult for customers to stop by my business premises. Now, most motorists are stopping here, enabling me to enjoy some profit,” Nderitu said.

The new road enables Peris Nyambura, a fruit vendor, to get her produce to the market while it is fresh. “Before, I would spend time on the road, and my produce would sometimes go bad. This has changed,” she said.

The project has also created skilled and semi-skilled jobs for more than 17,000 people.

Further, the upgraded road is expected to boost regional integration by linking the Isiolo-Moyale corridor, which connects the country to neighbouring Ethiopia. It will also link the Isiolo-Mandera corridor, which joins Kenya with Somalia.

The African Development Bank is also contributing financing to the construction of both these roadways as well as to the Mombasa-Mariakani Road Highway, the Eldoret bypass, the Thika Superhighway and others.

As of April 2022, the Bank Group’s total investment in Kenya was $6.3 billion, primarily in the energy, transport, agriculture, and social sectors—including health, education, and water and sanitation—as well as economic governance.

Source: KBC

Related posts

President Kenyatta, First lady call for national unity in Easter message


‘Governor Mutua has vowed to crush me to ashes- ex Lillian Ng’ang’a


President Uhuru Kenyatta lifts nationwide dusk to dawn curfew


Leave a Comment