The Star (Nairobi)

10 December 2012

Kenya: Kitale-Lodwar Road Expanded to Boost Oil Production and Trade With South Sudan

The government has redesigned the Kitale-Lodwar highway which is to be reconstructed to facilitate oil production in Turkana and link Kenya to South Sudan.

More than Sh20 billion will be used to construct the more than 250km road, which will also be extended to Nadapal on the border with South Sudan.

Roads ministry secretary Philemon Kilimo said the government is committed to rebuilding and expanding roads to make it easier for Kenyans to do business in the region and contribute to the growth of the economy.

Kilimo said the government is developing all roads linked to the Northern Corridor to ease transport and trade between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We have already redesigned the Kitale-Lodwar-Nadapal road so that it is constructed to open the country's network with South Sudan," Kilimo said.

Kilimo said the Loruk-Barbelo-Marich Pass road was already being rehabilitated to link Kerio Valley areas to the Kitale-Lodwar road. He wants communities in Kerio Valley to invest in modern farming activities to benefit from new markets to be opened up after the roads are completed.

Kilimo was Speaking at Embomir Catholic Church in Marakwet East Constituency during a wedding ceremony between Mr Joseph Kiptoo Manene and Grace Kiptoo at the weekend. He said the region is "a sleeping economic giant" whose natural resources could transform the lives of the locals. Kilimo said the government has developed new programmes to hasten the improvement of the infrastructure across the country.

The official advised farmers in Kerio Valley to diversify their farming activities and and grow sweet potatoes, cassava, pigeon peas, sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet which are traditional crops resistant to drought.

"We also have to look at ways of improving our tourism in the region because Kerio Valley has a rich scenery and wildlife which can attract many tourists", said Kilimo.

Kilimo said that the scenery beauty of permanent and seasonal rivers, valleys, shapely hills, thick forests and deserts were had huge potential for a the film industry.

The government, he said was also keen to improve the security situation in the North Rift region districts which had been frequently affected by cattle rustling activities scaring away investors.

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