Boosting East African Connectivity: AfDB Approves $1.4 Million for Expressway Study

boosting east african connectivity afdb approves 1 4 million for expressway study
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Key Information

Date October 31, 2023
Funding $1.4 million (sh5.2 billion) grant
Project Kisumu-Kisian-Busitema-Busia Expressway
Objective Feasibility study for upgrading road sections
Region East African Community (EAC)
Corridor Northern Corridor (Mombasa to five landlocked EAC Partner States)
Congestion Two-lane single-carriageway bitumen sections
Benefits Reduced travel times, lower operating costs, and improved business environment

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided a grant of $1.4 million (sh5.2 billion) through its New Partnership for Africa’s Development and Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) to support the East African Community (EAC) in conducting a feasibility study for the Kisumu-Kisian-Busitema-Busia Expressway Project. This initiative is a significant step in enhancing connectivity within the East African region.

The Kisumu-Kisian-Busitema-Busia Expressway Project is a vital component of the Northern Corridor, a major transportation route that extends from Mombasa, Kenya, to Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, facilitating the inland movement of cargo from Indian Ocean ports to five landlocked EAC Partner States.

Presently, the road sections forming this project are comprised of two-lane single-carriageway bitumen segments, which face severe congestion due to the growing volume of cargo and passenger traffic. This congestion has led to increased travel times, resulting in higher vehicle operating costs and an unfavorable environment for businesses.

The primary objective of this feasibility study is to assess the economic viability of upgrading the existing single-carriageway road sections to meet expressway standards. Both Uganda and Kenya have prioritized this project, recognizing its potential to contribute to the development of essential economic infrastructure in the region.

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During the launch of the feasibility study, the East African Community’s Deputy Secretary General, Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth, praised AfDB for its support in preparing the study for the Multinational Kenya/Uganda: Kisumu-Kisian-Busia/Kakira-Malaba and Busitema-Busia Expressway. This project is expected to have a transformative impact on the EAC region, catalyzing economic growth.

Ariik emphasized that the feasibility study would lead to the development of a smart corridor that integrates digital technology and addresses the social and economic needs of the EAC citizens. This corridor will revolutionize the movement of goods and services between Nairobi and Kampala, among other destinations.

He also highlighted the AfDB’s consistent contributions through its NEPAD-IPPF facility, dating back to 2004, which have significantly supported the EAC’s integration agenda. To date, eight multinational road projects have been prepared to a bankable level under the EAC Multinational Road Development Programme, with five of them proceeding to the investment phase.

However, Ariik pointed out that despite progress, regional transport infrastructure in the EAC remains underdeveloped, with challenges such as missing links on cross-border transport corridors and inadequate hard and soft infrastructure for roads, railways, air transport, and inland waterways. He noted that up to 80% of projects fail to materialize due to insufficient feasibility studies, emphasizing the role of NEPAD-IPPF grants in preparing high-quality and bankable infrastructure projects.

In the near future, the EAC plans to organize the 5th Retreat of Heads of State, focusing on infrastructure development and financing, where regional priority projects will be showcased. Ariik extended an invitation to AfDB and NEPAD-IPPF to attend this event and highlight their contributions to regional infrastructure development.

The AfDB’s Acting Manager for Infrastructure and Partnerships Division, Epifanio Carvarlho de Melo, reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to collaborating with the EAC to ensure the success of transformative projects in the region. He emphasized the importance of sharing experiences and working together for a prosperous future for all residents of the East African region.

Over the past two decades, the EAC has witnessed the construction of four multinational roads, and feasibility studies and detailed designs for three others have been carried out. These projects are crucial for improving regional connectivity and economic development.

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