The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $253-million in loans to the governments of Kenya and Uganda for the upgrading of a 118 km road section connecting the two countries and the construction of the 32 km Eldoret town bypass, in Kenya.
Kenya will receive $147.3- million and Uganda $105.7- million.
The project, once completed in 2021, will contribute to improving the living standards of the 1.4-million people in the project zone of influence.
The AfDB loans will cover 89% and 88% of the Uganda and Kenya project costs respectively, with the governments of Uganda and Kenya contributing 11% and 12% respectively to the project.
The upgrading of the 118 km road connecting Kapchorwa, in Uganda, to Kitale, in Kenya, will provide an all-weather access road for citizens, farmers and traders.
Upgrading will reduce the travel time from Kapchorwa to Suam, in Uganda, from 4 h to 1.5 h and from Suam to Kitale, in Kenya, from 1.5 h to 45 min.
The soil in the project area is very fertile and has high agricultural potential. The upgrading of the road from gravel to bitumen standard will facilitate the supply of farm inputs and the transport of produce to major market centres.
The project further includes the construction of a one-stop border post in Suam to facilitate trade between the two countries.
Meanwhile, construction of the Eldoret bypass of 32 km will reduce traffic congestion, as it avoids crossing the city centre. Therefore, the average speed will increase from 26 km/h on the existing road to 42 km/h using the Eldoret bypass.
Project outcomes will include improved accessibility for traders and transporters using the border and people living in the project area.
The project complements the AfDB-supported irrigation scheme and drought resilience and sustainable livelihood projects in Uganda and Kenya respectively.
AfDB Infrastructure, Cities and Urban Development Department director Amadou Oumarou noted in a statement released last month that the proposed intervention was in line with the AfDB’s Ten Year Strategy, which also includes five priority areas for development – the High 5s – which are Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
“[The intervention] meets four of the High 5s by contributing to the integration of the East African Community countries; improving the quality of life by providing socioeconomic facilities for people in the zone of influence; increasing agricultural production through access to markets; and the reduction in transport costs, which lowers the cost of doing business that will play a pivotal role in industrialisation,” Oumarou noted.
The project design also considers road safety and health issues, which will reduce accident risks through the use of speed-calming measures and appropriate and clear signage.
The project includes the refurbishment of a postcrash care centre and the procurement of ambulance and theatre equipment.