, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two loans totalling Sh19.5 billion for the construction of a 157.5 kilometre road project from Arusha to Holili in Tanzania and Taveta to Voi in Kenya.
The project is being constructed 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 Sh9.4 billion of the two loans approved by the AfDB board, while Tanzania will be awarded Sh10 billion.
The bank facility constitutes 89.1 percent 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 Sh1.3 billion and Sh1 billion respectively.
The Africa Trade Fund has extended a Sh62 million grant for a small component for trade facilitation at the Namanga border bringing to Sh21.9 billion 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-Voi through Arusha, Babati to Dodoma and Singida.
The project will comprise civil works for the construction of the 42.4 km Arusha bypass and dualling the Sakina-Tengeru section of 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 89 km Taveta-Mwatate portion and construction of the 12 km Taveta bypass 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 for 2011 to 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 set as a target raising the growth of the transport sector to nine percent 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 corridor at completion will link the port of Mombasa to northern and north-western Tanzania and the landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi, DRC