09 April 2017, Kampala — The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved $253m (Shs910 billion) of loans to Uganda and Kenya for upgrading roads linking the two countries.
The bank, in a press statement released last week, revealed that Kenya will get $147.3 million (Shs530b) while Uganda gets $105.7 million (Shs380b).
The loan will be used in the upgrading of 118 km road section connecting the two countries as well as the construction of the 32 km Eldoret Town bypass, in Kenya.
According to the bank, once complete in 2021, the project will contribute to improve the living standards of the 1.4 million people in the project zone of influence.
Mr Amadou Oumarou, the director of the infrastructure, cities and urban development department of the bank, said: “The proposed intervention is also in line with the bank’s 10-year strategy and meets four of the High Fives by contributing to the integration of the EAC countries.”
He added that the developments will improve the quality of life by providing socio-economic facilities to people in the zone of influence, increase agricultural production through access to markets and reduce transport cost.
“This will lower the cost of doing business that will play a pivotal role in industrialisation.” Oumarou pointed out.
The upgrading of the 118km road connecting Kapchorwa (Uganda) to Kitale (Kenya) will provide an all-weather access for citizens, farmers and traders. The project also includes a construction of a One Stop Border Post in Suam to facilitate trade between the two countries, travelers, and transport operators.
The upgrading of the road will reduce the travel time in Uganda (Kapchorwa-Suam) from 4hrs to 1.5hrs and in Kenya (Suam-Kitale) from 1.5hrs to 45 minutes.
The project area is very fertile and has high agricultural potential and the upgrading of the road from gravel to bitumen standard will facilitate the supply of farm inputs and evacuation of produce to major market centres.
The construction of the Eldoret bypass (32km) is expected to reduce traffic congestion in Eldoret Town, by avoiding crossing into the city centre.
Thus, the average speed will increase from 26km/hr on the existing road to 42km/hr using the Eldoret Bypass.
The project outcomes include Improved accessibility to traders and transporters using the border and people living in the project area with reductions in travel time and transport cost.
It will also realise increased mobility, improved accessibility to economic and social facilities, provision of market facilities and support to communities through access road and water.
The project design paid particular attention to road safety and health issues. The new design of the roads will minimise accident risks by speed calming measures and appropriate and clear signage. The project has road safety awareness campaign for the communities.