19 September 2017

East Africa: EAC Eyes 30,000 Km Roads

EAST African Community (EAC) member states envisage upgrading their 30,000-kilometre road network to bitumen standards in the coming 33 years.

At an average rate of 900 kilometres per year, the region's entire road network will be covered by 2050 as provided for in the EAC Vision 2050.

Decent road infrastructure is among the development milestones detailed in the Vision 2050, which prioritises improved road networks to support industrialisation drive and ease movements of both people and goods.

"The EAC Partner States have agreed on ten transit transport corridors which constitute EAC Road Network, including twelve feeder corridors," reads the EAC Vision document, maintaining that the infrastructure vision under the Road Transport Sub-sector will be achieved through developing the EAC Corridors.

It's envisioned that 2050, the level of services along the main transport corridors will have improved substantially, reaching categories B and A, from the current average regional levels of C, D and E.

Current flagship projects include Uganda's Entebbe and Kampala-Jinja Expressways, the Mombasa-Mariakani and Chalinze Expressways in Kenya and Tanzania, respectively. Of critical importance also will be the upgrading of secondary and feeder roads from gravel to bitumen standards, achievable through the use of low cost technology and local materials.

"The discovery of oil and gas in the region is a boon for road construction sector, as the costs of construction are likely to drop because of reduced import costs of petroleum based products," reads the Vision document. The Vision document estimates the cost of developing the corridors at between 20 and 25 billion US dollars.

Projects prioritised under the Heads of State to relieve the congestion at the ports constitute much of the priorities in the sub- sector for the next 20-25 years.

But, revisions will be made to the projects especially those related to the community expansion to accommodate other countries, especially now that South Sudan has joined the EAC, after the Vision compilation.

The current East African Road Network covers Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania, including the Northern Corridor (Mombasa-Voi-Eldoret-Bugiri - Kampala-Masaka-Kigali-Kibuye - Kayanza-Bujumbura), measuring 1,800 kilometres.

The 3,100-kilometre Central Corridor covers Dar es Salaam - Morogoro-Dodoma-Singida - Nzega-Nyakanazi-Bujumbura to Kigali and Gisenyi and the Dar es Salaam (TAZARA) Corridor (Morogoro-Iringa-Mbeya -Tunduma) is 1,100 kilometres.

There is also the Namanga Corridor (Iringa-Dodoma-Kalema -Arusha-Nairobi-Thika-Murang'a - Embu-Nyeri-Nanyuki-Isiolo - Marsabit-Moyale), with 1,800 kilometres.

The Sumbawanga Corridor links Tunduma-Sumbawanga-Kasulu-Makamba-Nyanza Lac-Rumonge, all the way to Bujumbura, measuring 1,300 kilometres while the Sirari Corridor (Lokichokio -Lodwar-Kitale-Bungoma-Kisumu -Kisii-Mwanza-Biharamulo) is 1,500-kilometre long.

The Coastal Corridor (Mingoyo-Dar es Salaam; Chalinze-Vanga -Mombasa-Malindi-Lamu) has 1,500 kilometres.

The Mtwara Corridor (Mtwara-Mingoyo - Masasi-Tunduru-Songea-Mbamba Bay) is 800-kilometre long. There are also the 500-kilometre Arusha Corridor (Arusha-Moshi -Himo-Lushoto - A1) and the Gulu Corridor (Nimule - Bibia - Gulu - Lira - Soroti - Mbale -Tororo), 600 kilometres.

The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor (Lamu-Isiolo-Lodwar - Nadapal) transcends to Ethiopia through 1,700 kilometres.

The corridors bring the total EAC Road Corridor Network length to 15,800 kilometres, which if joined to other feeder roads, stretch to 30,000 kilometres in total.

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