4 October 2018

Uganda: Japan Wants to Fund Karuma Bridge

Tokyo — The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has hinted on possibility of bankrolling construction of a second suspended bridge on River Nile at Karuma once the proposals have been approved at the highest level.

JICA's country officer-in charge of Uganda, Mr Nishino Mitsuo, in an interview with Daily Monitor at the agency's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, described the plan as "attractive" and highly demand driven but said they are still "gathering a lot of information before we can make a decision."

"We are reviewing the plans and processes, but cannot say right now that we are committed," Mr Mitsuo said yesterday.

"But it is a project we are interested in because it is an important connection on the Northern Corridor--connecting South Sudan."

The old Karuma bridge was constructed in 1963. It links the Northern/West Nile region with the Central.

The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) officials told this newspaper earlier that feasibility studies and designs for a new bridge, preferably a suspended bridge like the Jinja cable bridge, to replace the one were midwifed some years ago but the plans were shelved over financing headaches.

In the meantime, Mr Mitsuo said they are committed to first kick start construction of the Kampala flyover project set to commence next January.

The Shs659b flyover will be executed in phases: phase 1 comprising of Lot I starting at Clock Tower connecting to Kibuli and expansion of Queensway linked to the Nsambya Traffic Lights and Lot 2 from Nsambya road to Mukwano Roundabout while phase two will start at Kitgum House, Garden City and Jinja road. Meanwhile, JICA officials in Tokyo confirmed October 17 for commissioning of the new Nile cable bridge in Jinja.

The officials said they are finalising plans with other Japanese government agencies to dispatch high level delegation for the occasion.

Senior Japanese government officials said the possibility of providing funding for the bridge is in line with one of the agendas of the last Tokyo International Conference on African Development held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.


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