The African Development Bank has approved two loans totalling USD 232.5 million for the 157.5-kilometre road project from Arusha to Holili in Tanzania, and Taveta to Voi in Kenya, in an effort to reduce the cost of transport and enhance access to agricultural inputs, larger markets and social services within the East Africa Community.
Kenya will receive USD 113.12 million of the two loans approved by the AfDB Board, while Tanzania will be awarded USD 120 million. The Bank facility constitutes 89.1 per cent of the total project cost.
The project, which is expected to be completed by December 2018, is also jointly financed by the Governments of Kenya and Tanzania both contributing USD 15.6 million and USD 12.3 million, respectively. The Africa Trade Fund has extended a USD 0.74-million grant for a small component for trade facilitation at the Namanga border, bringing to USD 262.2 million the total cost of the project.
The Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi Road is a transport corridor of the East African Region that links the Northern Corridor at Voi to the Central Corridor across the common border at Holili/Taveta through Arusha, Babati to Dodoma and Singida. The project will comprise civil works for the construction of the Arusha Bypass (42.4 km) and dualling the Sakina-Tengeru section (14.1 km) as well as the construction of two roadside amenities at Tengeru, one on either side of the dual carriageway in Tanzania. It will also involve the upgrading of the Taveta-Mwatate portion (89 km) and construction of the Taveta Bypass (12 km) and two roadside amenities, one each at Bura and Maktau along the Mwatate-Taveta Road in Kenya.
AfDB's Regional Director for the East Africa Resource Centre, Gabriel Negatu, confirmed the loan approval, explaining that the road had been identified in the East African Regional Integration Strategy Paper (RISP 2011-2015) and the East African Transport Strategy and Regional Road Sector Development Programme of November 2011 as a priority for intervention.
"The East African Community seeks to improve regional transport infrastructure to support economic and social development programs in the region, promote tourism and foster regional integration and at the same time reduce the cost of doing business by supporting cross-border and international trade," Negatu said.
For Tanzania, the Second National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty or MKUKUTA II sets as a target raising the growth of the transport sector to 9.0 per cent by 2015. For Kenya, the upgrading of the Voi-Taveta Road falls within Pillar I of Vision 2030, the basis for socio-economic transformation
The Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi Road is one of the transport corridors of the EAC region meant to reduce the cost of doing business, increase competitiveness of the region on the global market and at the same time promote regional integration. The project road links the Northern Corridor to the Central Corridor across the common border of Tanzania and Kenya (Holili/Taveta) through Arusha, Minjingu and Babati to Singida and Dodoma. The corridor at completion will link the port of Mombasa to northern and northwestern Tanzania and the landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Uganda, providing an alternative route to the sea.