The African Development Bank (AfDB) through its New Partnership for Africa’s Development and Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has approved US$1.4 million grant to EAC for the feasibility study of the Multinational Kenya/Uganda: Kisumu-Kisian-Busitema-Busia Expressway Project.
Kenya-Uganda Expressway project is part of the Northern Corridor that runs from Mombasa to Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda through the port of Mombasa. It is the main corridor that transports the bulk of cargo that lands at the Indian Ocean ports inland to the five landlocked EAC Partner Sates.
Currently, the road sections forming the project consist of two-lane single carriageway bitumen sections that are heavily congested due to increased traffic movement for both cargo and passengers. This has resulted in increased travel times which results in higher vehicle operating costs and costs of doing business.
The objective of the feasibility study is to determine the economic viability of upgrading the existing multinational road sections from single carriageway to expressway standards. The project has been prioritised by the respective Partner States and is expected to contribute to the delivery of economic infrastructure necessary for achieving tangible development outcomes for the region.
Speaking at the launch of the feasibility study, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (DSG) in charge of Infrastructure, Productive, Social and Political sectors, Hon. Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth, thanked AfDB for supporting the EAC in the preparatory study of the Multinational Kenya/Uganda: Kisumu – Kisian – Busia / Kakira – Malaba and Busitema – Busia Expressway, which he said will catalyse the economy and development of the EAC region.
Hon. Ariik who represented the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mutuku Mathuki at the launch, said that the feasibility study will result in the development of a smart corridor beyond the traditional concept of transport corridor by incorporating digital technology as well as the social and economic needs of the citizens of the EAC as its core elements, adding that it will revolutionise the movement of goods and services between Nairobi to Kampala, and beyond.
The DSG commended the continuous contribution of the AfDB through its NEPAD-IPPF facility in supporting the EAC integration agenda, which started way back in 2004.
Hon. Ariik disclosed that to date, eight (8) multinational road projects have been successfully prepared to bankability under the EAC Multinational Road Development Programme with five of them have proceeded to investment.
He, however, said that the regional transport infrastructure in the EAC is still poorly developed due to missing links on cross-border transport corridors, hard and soft infrastructure on roads, railways, air transport and inland water ways.
The DSG further disclosed that that up to 80% of projects fail to take off due to inadequate preparation, that is insufficient feasibility studies being carried out to determine their economic financial, environmental, social and technical viability.
“Therefore, the grants provided by NEPAD-IPPF to the EAC has enabled it to prepare high-quality and bankable regional infrastructure projects that are able to attract public and private sector financing,” said Hon. Ariik.
The DSG informed the Bank that the EAC will in soon organise the 5th Retreat of Heads of State to discuss infrastructure development and financing which will bring together the political leadership and investors at which regional priority projects will be showcased.
“Let me take this opportunity to invite the AfDB and NEPAD-IPPF to attend the event and highlight the progress made in supporting infrastructure in the region,” said Hon. Ariik.
On his part, the AfDB Acting Manager for Infrastructure and Partnerships Division, Mr. Epifanio Carvarlho de Melo, who spoke on behalf of the Bank’s Director of Infrastructure, Mr. Mike Salawou, reaffirmed AfDB’s commitment to work closely with the EAC ensure the success of vital projects that are poised to transform the economy of the region.
“Together, we have the unique opportunity to learn from one another, share experiences, and pave the way for a prosperous future for all residents of this region,” said Mr. de Melo.