The World Bank and Kenya on Monday inked a deal on 500 million U.S. dollars given to help rehabilitate a road linking the East African nation with South Sudan.
The road, to be rehabiliated, runs 283km between South Sudan’s border town of Nakodok and Loichangamatak settlement in Turkana county in northwestern Kenya.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich, said the Kenyan government will build a 40km section that lies between Loichangamatak and Lokichar in the same county at a cost of 176 million U.S. dollars.
“This is part of the Kenya-South Sudan road which will promote intra-trade. The road is also part of 601km road between Lesseru in Eldoret and the Nakodok at the Kenya and South Sudan border that will be rehabilitated at about 107 million dollars,” he told journalists in the capital Nairobi.
Rotich said the overall program will be implemented in collaboration with the South Sudan government.
He said the regional project will support Kenya’s long-term development plan Vision 2030.
“Modern and efficient infrastructure facilities are required to support the achievement of the Vision, which calls for rehabilitation and upgrading of road and rail networks, airports, improving urban public transport and expansion of ICT connectivity,” he said.
The 500 million U.S. dollars will upgrade critical road infrastructure and replacement of bridges and facilitate regional transport, trade and development by increasing the efficiency of the corridor, he added.
The World Bank credit will also be utilized to enhance internet connectivity and support the Information and Communications Technology Authority’s (ICTA) efforts to provide the much needed ICT infrastructure in Kenya”, he added.
Fibre optic cables will also be constructed, he said, adding that provision will be made for connecting refugee camps, schools, hospitals and other strategic locations, including pastoralist road side markets, export processing zones, rest stops and community service centres along the corridor.
World Bank Country Director for Kenya Diarietou Gaye said the lender was committed to financing the reconstruction of part of the Kenyan section of the 1,000km Eldoret-Juba development corridor.
Gaye said the project is an important part of the Horn of Africa Initiative, which is an ambitious effort by donors to promote more collaborative political, diplomatic and development solutions among countries to the issues of fragility, vulnerability and insecurity.
Once the project is completed, she said, it will reduce considerably transport costs and travel times from Mombasa to Juba, which now takes on average five to eight days.
“It will improve the movement of people and goods, enhance regional competitiveness and reduce the cost of doing business in Eastern Africa,” she said.
She noted that the project is a large and complex regional initiative that requires close collaboration between the governments of Kenya and South Sudan, effective coordination among the various implementing agencies and consultations by the two governments with other development partners that have expressed interest in providing additional resources to ensure that the corridor is fully funded. Enditem