The French government, through its public bank and overseas development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), has said it will commit €180m (Shs667b) to the development of the proposed Kampala-Jinja Expressway next year.
The loan was revealed by Ms Virgnie Leroy, the AFD’s country representative, on Wednesday during a meeting with journalists in Kampala to highlight their projects in Uganda.
“The project is one of the exciting undertakings by the government [of Uganda], and we are ready to offer them any help,” Ms Leroy said.
The ambitious toll road project is estimated to cost about Shs800b, and will be financed through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
The AFD financing (loan) will, however, fit in on the side of government. The 77km stretch will start at Nakawa in Kampala and connect to Jinja Township. Officials say sections of the road will have four to eight lanes, respectively at various points. For example, it will have six lanes between Bweyogerere and Lugazi, and then a dual carriage between Lugazi and Jinja.
Its development will also go hand-in-hand with construction of the Kampala Southern Bypass, an 18km road stretch that will start at Butabika, on the eastern outskirts of Kampala, and connect to the New Kampala-Jinja Expressway and Munyonyo at the new Entebbe-Kampala Expressway whose construction is already ongoing.
Ms Leroy, described the Kampala-Southern By-pass as “oxygen” to Kampala-Jinja Expressway which is aimed at easing traffic flow from the poorly planned capital city.
Sourcing for a contractor/financer for the Kampala-Jinja Expressway was supposed to commence in March but did not take off.
The Uganda National Roads Authority executive director, Ms Allen Kagina, relayed that they had planned “going to the market in March” but faced some delays. “The delays were caused by two things: one, the restructuring we are doing here, being the implementing agency, some of the activities planned had to be delayed, but main one has been the approval of the Resettlement Action Plan and the Environmental Impact Assessment plan.
“We had a consultant who designed one and was due for approval, but because it had been overtaken by several months, it had to be updated before we handover the project to the concessionaire.” She added: “So we are in process of securing a consultant to come and update it, we also have a transaction adviser, and hope we may go to the market later in the year and constructions early 2017.”
French Ambassador Sophie Makame said the loans from the French government “are not politically conditioned” but as long as there is objective need for them from the government.