The African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Saturday that it will fund the construction of a road linking Kenya to Tanzania at a cost of 112 million US dollars.
African Development Bank Principal Transport Engineer Zerfu Mammo told journalists in NAirobi that the Mwatate-Taveta-Arusha Road will help accelerate trade between the two neighbors. "AfDB will provide funding to the tune of 112 million U.S. dollars for the 98 kilometer portion on the Kenya side," Mammo said. The Kenya government will provide approximately 12 million dollars for the dual carriage road.
The pan-African bank will also fund the construction on the Tanzanian side. Mammo said that the construction is scheduled to begin mid next year and will take three years to complete. "We will conduct a baseline survey in order to monitor the economic of the road," he said. According to the bank, the cost of inland transport is expensive in Africa when compared to other continents. "We are committed to fund projects that will promote regional integration of the continent," he said.
The engineer noted that the AfDB will also be involved in the development and construction of the Nairobi's mass rapid transit that aims to reduce congestion in Kenya's rapidly growing capital city."Presently, the city's infrastructure cannot handle the amount of traffic and this is costing the economy," he said. The AfDB said that it has already provided 5 million dollars for the feasibility and design of the metropolitan transit system. AfDB Infrastructure Specialist George Makajuma said that the project will include a light rail as well as a rapid bus system. "The intention is to involve the private sector due to the enormous nature of the project," Makajuma said.
The infrastructure specialist added that the government will concentrate on physical infrastructure while the private sector will operate the buses and locomotives. "Feasibility studies were completed last August," he said.
He noted that short-listing of consultants for the design of the eight transport corridors for the Nairobi metropolitan area is currently under way. The AfDB official added that the designs should be completed by the end of 2013."Actually construction could take up to ten years and will be completed in phases," he said.
AfDB has extended financial assistance of up to 3 billion dollars since it commenced operations in Kenya in 1967.Speaking during the launch of the Thika highway in Nairobi on Friday, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said that this ultramodern superhighway will strongly contribute to the achievement of inclusive growth in the region by reducing the cost of doing business in Kenya. "This road plays a critical role at several levels. It is first an important commercial and transport corridor. It is also part of the Great North Trans-African Highway (Cape Town to Cairo)," said Kaberuka.
Kaberuka reaffirmed the AfDB's strong commitment to infrastructure development on the continent. "Infrastructure promotes trade and creates a conducive environment for business," he added. Consequently, pollution resulting from vehicle emissions has considerably fallen.