Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy is set to get its second six-lane highway through a joint-partnership with the US government to upgrade the 485-kilometer highway from Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa.
The US Export-Import Bank and Bechtel, one of the leading construction and engineering firms will fund the project.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) will act as guarantor against any possible breach of the agreement by Bechtel, Daily Nation reported.
The deal was reached on the sidelines of the second edition of the US-Africa Business Forum in New York, last week. The forum drew the participation of 29 heads of state from Africa and mobilized $9.1 billion to support trade on the continent.
The highway is one of the busiest in the region. It handles at least 50 percent of all goods traded in the East Africa region, Business Daily reported. Nearly all of the goods to Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda are transported along the highway.
The expansion of the highway will begin in the next few months. It will be the second biggest highway in the nation after Nairobi-Thika road which has eight lanes. It was built at a cost of $ 310 million (Sh31 billion).
The government is also expanding a 25-kilometer section of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway into six-lanes. It awarded the contract to China Wu Yi, a Chinese company that also constructed the Nairobi-Thika highway.
The upgrade will cost $ 164 million (Sh 16.4 billion) and is funded by the World Bank.
Kenya has undertaken grand projects to improve both the rail and road infrastructure in recent years, since the government led by retired president, Mwai Kibaki.
Construction of the standard gauge railway, to link the Port of Mombasa with Nairobi and the regional cities of Kampala in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda and Juba in South Sudan, Africa’s newest state.
It will cost $4.99 billion to complete. It is the biggest infrastructural project in Kenya.
The Export-Import Bank of China has provided majority of the funding while the Kenyan government has provided the rest, Informer East Africa reported.
Its construction started in October 2014 and the first phase is set to be completed next year. It will Mombasa to Nairobi. China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is constructing the railway.
The projects are set to boost economies in the region, especially to Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi that are all landlocked and depend on Port of Mombasa for their imports and export.
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