Nairobi — Kenya and South Sudan are engaged in talks that will see the construction of a $1.1 billion road linking the two countries.
Technocrats from the two countries have approached the World Bank among other capital donors on the possibility of funding the project that will open up Kenya and East Africa to Sudan in what will substantially boost trade ties between the two regions.
When completed, the road will link Kenya's North Rift town of Eldoret to the South Sudanese capital, Juba.
The project is expected to kick off in January next year and is scheduled for completion by close of 2023.
Sources from Kenya's treasury indicated last week that already, the World Bank and the African Development Bank have expressed interest in the project and are helping the two countries secure more donors.
Kenya's Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua and his South Sudanese counterpart were among other technocrats from the two countries that held discussions on the project a Nairobi hotel last week.
Kinyua said the funding would come in form of loans which the two governments will jointly pay at a later date.
"The two governments are committed to sourcing for funds for this project as we believe it is critical in enhancing trade ties between South Sudan and the East African region. We are glad that the World Bank and the African Development Bank are interested in working with us on this," said Kinyua.
Feasibility studies for the construction of the road are already underway with Kenya's Roads Minister Franklin Bett confirming that the Kenyan side of the study will be complete in the next four months.
The projects, commonly referred to as the 'Juba-Eldoret' corridor is part of the larger Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project (LAPSET) projects that looks at opening up the region for business through enhanced transport infrastructure.
"I can confirm that the design and feasibility studies for the project are on course and will be completed by May. This is part of the LAPSET infrastructure projects though managed separately," said Bett.
One of the major commodities to be transported by the road is oil from South Sudan in the wake on frosty relations between Juba and Khartoum. South Sudan is heavily reliant on the neighboring Sudan's pipeline and road network in exporting its oil. Officials in Juba are however mulling other alternatives for the same.